Never Use This ‘Magic’ Cleaning Product on Your Car’s Exterior

You know know the frustration of keeping your car clean. Your vehicle’s surfaces need proper maintenance to prevent bird droppings, tree sap, and other stuck-on substances from damaging the paint. One well-known product, the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, might work great in your home. But never use these sponges on your car’s exterior.

What makes the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser so magical?

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponges
A box of Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponges | Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

How many times have you or someone you know used a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and quickly wiped out a stain you thought would be there forever? Many of us have had that experience, but what exactly makes this product so magical? 

According to Family Handyman, the active ingredient is melamine foam. This combination of hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon gives the Magic Eraser its sponge-like quality. The eraser itself has a seemingly soft texture, which works great on a hard surface like a painted wall. 

The rubbing action lifts dirt, grime, and other unwanted marks while the foam material picks up the residue — hence the disappearing stain. These sponges can rub off stains without scratching surfaces the way steel wool would. 

Here’s why Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponges will ruin your car’s exterior

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser can handle various stains on different surfaces, but there are some places you shouldn’t use it. Your car’s exterior is one of them. The reason is that the despite the foam’s smooth texture, its abrasiveness can still damage a vehicle’s paint job, Family Handyman explains. Once you damage the paint, you introduce the risk of rust to the vehicle’s body. 

But that doesn’t mean this so-called magic product is useless when cleaning your automobile. The Magic Eraser can still work on your car’s interior. Use it on the dashboard, center console, cupholders, and door interiors. 

What cleaning products are safe for your car’s exterior?

Though using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on your car’s exterior is a bad idea, other cleaners can help you get rid of unwanted markings. The simplest solution is soap and water. However, when cleaning bird poop and other stuck-on substances off your car, ensure you don’t scrub the grime into the paint. Instead, make gentle swipes; otherwise, you’ll risk damaging your car’s exterior

Of course, you don’t want to use just any type of soap. For instance, dishwashing liquid can get your car clean, but it will strip some of the paint’s finish. Use soap formulated for automobiles. 

Another tip is to use a polisher to pick up grime or buff out any imperfections in the finish. You’ll need a polishing tool that works like a hand sander. The soft disc with a polishing compound will buff out the surface to make it look new. Then you can wax the vehicle’s exterior to protect the paint.

Road grime and bugs often get stuck on a car’s front end after driving at high speeds. A regular wash job takes care of the surface dirt, but stuff will still be embedded in the car’s finish, making it look dull. The best way to deal with this is to use a clay bar. 

Tear the bar into smaller portions, flatten it in the palm of your hand, and rub it over the paint wherever you see grime. Periodically remix the clay and flatten it again until it turns gray. Once that happens, grab a new piece and keep going until the finish is clean again. 

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is a handy product to clean stains and other unwanted markings inside your vehicle. But never use it on your car’s exterior to remove stuck-on substances such as bird droppings, tree sap, or gasoline drips

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