The internet is rife with all sorts of life hacks that go viral. But hacks aren’t always useful and can actually be dangerous if applied incorrectly. One “hack” you may have heard of in recent years is the Magic Eraser hack in your swimming pool.
In this article, I will be delving into what the Magic Eraser hack is, whether it works for your pool, whether it is safe, and any possible alternatives. Let’s dive in!
- A Magic Eraser is a mildly abrasive sponge made of melamine, a material that destroys stains much quicker than other cleaning products.
- A Magic Eraser is not a replacement for tried-and-tested pool cleaning solutions, especially when it comes to algae.
- Unfortunately, the melamine in the Magic Eraser can form a toxic reaction with the cyanuric acid in your pool.
- Running your filter, shocking the pool, keeping it clean, and using algaecide are more effective solutions against a green pool.
What Is the Magic Eraser “Hack” for Pools?
A few years ago, Lisa Pack, a grandmother in Ohio, went viral on Facebook for swearing by using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to clean her pool from an algae infestation. According to her interview with Inside Edition: “I put the sponge inside the skimmer basket for 24 hours. By the next day, I pulled it out, and the green steps were crisp white, and the water was crystal clear.”
In essence, Pack claimed that the sponge soaked up all the algae in her pool, leaving it a crystal clear blue. The photo she shared on Facebook backed up her claim: a sponge covered in green mold and, in the backdrop, sparkling azure water.
Naturally, people went wild! Everyone weighed in with their opinions on whether or not it actually works. After all, as people have pointed out and as I have said over the years, keeping your pool clean and free of green grime is a full-time job. Pack said that she personally spends around 45 minutes cleaning and vacuuming her pool but was often frustrated by how quickly her pool turned green.
So, to remedy a cloudy pool situation, her daughter suggested putting a Magic Eraser inside the skimmer overnight. And lo and behold! That little eraser worked its magic! Pack was amazed that there was such a cheap and easy solution to regular pool chores.
Should You Use the Magic Eraser “Hack” to Clean Your Pool?
But is that all there is to it? If it’s as easy as that, should you use this Magic Eraser hack to clean your swimming pool and keep it clear of algae?
Pool experts around the country have naturally been skeptical of Pack’s claims, with some warning against it as misinformed and not a proper answer to the issue of algae infestations. In fact, Andrea Nannini, a pool service technician at Custom Pool and Spa Mechanics in Stuart, FL, put it to the test. She added a Magic Eraser to a glass jar full of dirty, algae-infested water from an unclean fountain. The results? The sponge appeared to collect some algae, but it could not completely rid the jar of the algae.
The Magic Eraser hack has some credibility, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a replacement for your standard pool maintenance. Her test proved that while the “hack” worked to a certain extent, it wasn’t a cure-all. After all, a possible reason it worked in Pack’s pool is that her pool was not green; instead, it was cloudy. In the technician’s own words, “I’d say it’s just collecting the algae, but it’s definitely not correcting any water balance.”
What Is a Magic Eraser?
A Magic Eraser is a mildly abrasive sponge made of what Mr. Clean (the company that manufactures these erasers) calls Durafoam. This Durafoam is more commonly referred to as melamine foam, a material that can sink in and destroy stains more easily than other types of cleaning products. It only needs water to work, and although it looks like a sponge, it is more of a very cleverly engineered super-fine sandpaper.
So, Should You Use Magic Erasers?
My advice? No matter how fantastical and exciting it sounds, don’t use Magic Erasers in your pool.
While the idea of clearing a cloudy pool and a little algae without any elbow grease sounds like a dream come true, the reality is that nothing beats good old manual labor. Plus, there are some safety concerns when it comes to putting a Magic Eraser in your pool skimmer.
Is It Safe to Put a Magic Eraser in Your Pool Skimmer?
Using a Magic Eraser in your pool skimmer may seem like a convenient way to clean the pool with household products, but I don’t recommend it and it may be unsafe for several reasons.
First, there’s a theory that the melamine in the Magic Eraser stabilizes your pool chemistry. But this couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, melamine has the opposite effect. Melamine can actually create a toxic byproduct: melamine cyanurate. This dangerous chemical can occur if melamine is introduced to water that has cyanuric acid (which is in most outdoor pools). If you need a quick refresher on your pool chemistry, cyanuric acid is the stuff that protects your chlorine from disintegrating under the sun’s UV rays!
And especially if you have younger kids or pets that like to drink or may accidentally swallow some pool water, you don’t want your loved ones to become another statistic! Pets and babies have died in recent years due to melamine cyanurate, so this is not a toxic byproduct you want to mess with or experiment with!
Furthermore, Magic Erasers are made of a foam-like material. And while it may be effective for removing stains and dirt from various surfaces, it can break down when exposed to water. These small particles may potentially clog your pool filter and plumbing system. This kind of defeats the purpose of a “hack,” especially if you have to clean out your filtration system due to the Magic Eraser. The small particles can also be a health and safety issue if ingested or inhaled.
Alternatives to the Magic Eraser Hack to Clean a Green Pool
There are true, tried, and tested alternatives to keeping your pool clean and free of that gross green junk. They may not be exciting and new, but they are effective! Stick to these maintenance tips to keep a sparkling pool all summer long!
Brush and Vacuum the Pool
One of the first steps when cleaning a green pool is to brush and vacuum. Invest in a pool brush suitable for your pool’s surface and use it to brush and scrub the walls and floor of your pool to dislodge algae and other contaminants. Then, vacuum it all up once all the debris has had time to settle. You can also use a skimmer pole and net to skim the surface of the water to get rid of any floating debris and algae!
Shock the Water
Of course, as a pool owner, this should be second nature to you, but when you encounter a green pool, you should shock it! This involves adding a large dose of chlorine to the pool to kill off algae and other unwanted contaminants. It also raises your chlorine level so that algae won’t be able to sneak in and infest your pool again. Before you shock your pool, make sure your pH is between 7.2 and 7.6.
To shock your pool, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to pour the recommended dosage of shock into your pool at a steady pace. Then, run the filter for a few hours and test the water before using the pool again.
Run the Filter
Generally, you should run your filter for at least 8 to 10 hours a day. While it may hurt your electricity bill, letting your filter do its work is very important. It mixes chemicals evenly, circulates the water (algae love stagnant environments), and filters out dead material from the water, such as foreign spores and contaminants. If you already have a green pool, it’s all the more important to run your pump and filter to remove the debris from your water and distribute the chemicals, like the pool shock, evenly.
Use an Algaecide
Algaecides are specifically designed chemicals formulated to fight and treat algae. They can be a powerful tool in clearing up a green pool. After shocking the pool, to help the process, you can use an algaecide as a backup. This should remove any lingering traces of algae. If you’d like some more help, follow up with a flocculant.
When using either of these chemicals, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dosage and application, and remember to wait for the recommended amount of time before jumping back into your pool.
My final tip? Prevention! After all, preventing a green pool is often easier than treating one. Regularly check and maintain your pool’s water chemistry, keep the skimmer basket clean, and remove debris from the pool surface every day. You should also ensure your filter runs for at least 8 hours daily to discourage algae growth. Another major tip to avoid a green pool is to use a pool cover, which can keep out debris and sunlight, which can lead to an algae infestation.
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Magic Erasers: Are They Worth the Hype?
As you can see, no matter how exciting the Magic Eraser hack seems to be, the reality is that it’s not a true replacement for brushing, vacuuming, and shocking the pool. As much as we’d all love to believe this hack works, a Magic Eraser in your pool may do more harm than good.
Still thinking about trying out the Magic Eraser hack and need some advice? I’m here to help!