Homemade Magic Erasers Formula to Remove Iron

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Do you love cleaning with Magic Erasers but feel like the cost is prohibitive? Do you have iron stains from hard water that need to be removed? Like many things, there is a less expensive alternative that you can try! Check out these ideas for “Homemade Magic Erasers”.

Magic Erasers

Homemade Magic Erasers

All those out there with a toddler or a little one that has colored on your walls, raise your hand!

Now, all those with hard well water that stains everything raise your hand!

I can raise my hand to both of those, can you? It seems like my tub and my walls are never clean, at least not at the same time with all that goes on around here.

Not long after we bought our first house I discovered Magic Erasers. It seemed like they were the only things I could find that would scrub those tough mineral stains off my tub in our bathroom.

But when we started switching over to homemade cleaning supplies, Magic Erasers did not make the switch with us. They were too expensive for our new routine and didn’t fit our budget.

So what’s a girl with a mineral-stained bathtub supposed to do? Make her own Homemade Magic Erasers Formula of course! It’s so easy, and the products are even much cheaper than buying the store version. Let’s get started!

And if you love DIY recipes like this one you might also enjoy my book, Little House Living: The Make Your Own Guide to a Frugal, Simple, Self Sufficient Life. It’s filled with over 130 recipes that are easy and from scratch.

Homemade Magic Erasers Formula

What You Need:

In the spray bottle, mix together the warm water, baking soda, and soap. Swirl around until the baking soda and the Castile Soap is pretty much mixed in.

I used to teach preschool, and in my classrooms, we were always having to clean crayon off things. We used toothpaste, because it was easy to store and for the most part nontoxic. Don’t think it would work on hard water stains, but for small (or large!) crayon emergencies, toothpaste works wonders!

Michele, Little House Living reader

Cheaper Magic Eraser Sponges

Now for your sponge…you have a couple of options. You can pick up a pack of sponges at the Dollar Store. (My local store sells a pack of 6 for $1.) Grab them from the Dollar Store, or buy generic Magic Erasers in bulk. (These are even cheaper than a regular sponge, although please note that they are a little smaller and tend to be a little less durable, which is why the extra power boost of this cleaner recipe is needed!) I went with the generic Magic Erasers since they would last me a while.

Spray your mixture either right on the surface you want to clean or directly onto the sponge. Scrub with your DIY Magic Eraser and formula just as you would with a store-bought Magic Eraser.

Below, you can see an example of me using the DIY Magic Eraser and the special cleaning formula on our well-water-stained shower in the camper. Look at the cleaning power of the DIY Magic Eraser Formula. I love it!

What a great idea. I used to purchase Magic Erasers, but quit because I felt the cost was not necessary – I just used more elbow grease. Now I can make my own and save and get the same cleaning power.

Cynthia, Little House Living reader


Homemade Magic Erasers


Homemade Magic Erasers

And if you go with the generic Magic Sponge option you are only paying about $0.25 or less per sponge. (It should be less if you go with the scrubbies) The store version is about $0.85 per sponge or more, depending on where you are buying them. It doesn’t sound like much difference, but let’s do some math for fun, ok?

If you use 3 Magic Eraser Sponges per week….

DIY Magic Eraser cost per year @3 per week = $39

Store Bought Magic Eraser cost per year @3 per week = $132.60

Savings Per Year = $93.60!

Of course, you can save even more each year by making all your own Homemade Cleaning Supplies!


Another great way to clean your bathroom and leave it smelling citrusy fresh is to use this tip on cleaning your bathroom with a grapefruit!

Have you ever made your own homemade Magic Erasers? What homemade cleaners do you make?

Me and Kady

Merissa Alink

Merissa has been blogging about and living the simple and frugal life on Little House Living since 2009 and has internationally published 2 books on the topic. You can read about Merissa’s journey from penniless to freedom on the About Page. You can send her a message any time from the Contact Page.

This Homemade Magic Eraser DIY post was originally published on Little House Living in November 2013. It has been updated as of February 2024.

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  1. Wow,your tub was really mineral stained! I think the after still has some mineral stains too. After you buy sponges, castile soap and baking soda I think it would be just as cost effective to buy Mr. Clean magic erasers and a cleaner called:”The Works” and I think it would clean the rest of the mineral stains you still have.

    1. No offense, but if you don’t like the post idea then don’t comment on it. When you have water with large amounts of iron in it you do your best to get it clean, even if it doesn’t end up spotless.

      1. Katelyn, It’s so nice to see people who have good reading comprehension skils! English Language, spelling, and reading skills are disappearing because of texting anagrams, social media sites. On Facebook you see a plethora of mistakes in spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure. I think this a good idea and will probably give it a try; if I can find the soap.

      1. It’s not a shocking comment! She was just stating there are still some mineral stains… which you can still see in the picture. People are getting way too sensitive.

        1. melamine sponge is a generic version of magic eraser and is quite cheap in bulk on amazon and ebay. Worth a look for those who do not wish to make.

    2. The commenter is right. Soaking some paper towels in the works cleaner allowing them to set for around an hour then rinsing should remove hard water stains. The works cost around $2. Wear gloves and ventilate room.

      1. And I think that’s the point exactly, no ventilation is needed with baking soda & castile soap. For people who prefer chemical free or are sensitive, this is a good alternative

    3. While the commenter is on point and the tub is not perfect the point was to go chemical free. However I will say “the works” is one of the most economical cleaners and it totally amazed me when I tried it on hard water SCALE that I was NEVER able to remove. And it did so w very little effort. With that being said as a fellow blogger I understand that once you put the effort into putting a blog together to share something that worked for you it hurts when someone makes an obvious dig at your results.

      THANKYOU for taking the time to share something Hyatt worked for you. Another plus is if you find yourself out of the traditional cleaning supplies it’s always a plus to have back up ideas!

    4. She was just stating her opinion. I don’t think she was being offensive. The homemade magic cleaner sponge is a good idea, but she was just suggesting it might be as cost effective to buy the other cleaners.

  2. I used to teach preschool, and in my classrooms, we were always having to clean crayon off things. We used toothpaste, because it was easy to store and for the most part nontoxic. Don’t think it would work on hard water stains, but for small (or large!) crayon emergencies, toothpaste works wonders!

  3. Wow, great idea. Thank you! I LOVE the magic erasers but they are sooo expensive. Thanks for sharing an alternative and yes iron stains are extremely hard to get completely rid of, especially when you choose safer cleaning products.

  4. We have this problem too. What I do, even though it’s not eco-friendly, is fill the bathtub up to the stain mark and then pour in Clorox bleach, let it sit overnight, and the tub is white by morning!

  5. Merissa, Our well water used to do the same things to our tub and when I put bleach in a white wash the water would immediately turn rust colored from the reaction of the iron in our water and the bleach (this was before the days of non-chlorine bleach we can buy now). What a nightmare! When we were forced to dig a new well for bigger capacity, the strange iron reaction did not occur in the new well. I used to buy CLR by the large bottle. The magic erasers are a new idea to me (I’m old as dirt!!!) but have just recently bought them – although my scrubbing walls after toddlers are looooong over! I just cannot do that really heavy scrubbing like I used to when I was your age (torn rotator cuff & bad back). Is there a natural liquid one could spray to dissolve these deposits (like CLR?) without too much scrubbing?

      1. if you don’t mind chemicals then just use muriatic acid. the works has a small amount in it. muriatic acid will remove the iron so that the tub looks brand new. it’s great for cleaning cement, too. read the directions and precautions. sometimes “natural” just doesn’t cut it.

    1. The Works toilet cleaner works wonderful in tubs and showers, just squirt it all over (no scrubbing) and rinse away! Turns out like brand new! I do open the window but it only takes a few minutes if that and you’re done.

    2. I just use white vinegar. I place a rag on the area to be cleaned, whether it’s my sink, faucets, tub, even toilet ring… then saturate with white vinegar. Wait a half to one hour and wipe. Presto! All that mineral gunk just wipes away with no effort at all.

    3. vinegar full strength will get rid of mineral deposits or sandpaper made for wall boards is available at home improvement stores. Sandpaper use on non scratchable surfaces.

  6. You are amazing! How did you come up with all of these. I am using the bottles from the expensive cleaners and making my own all natural. I love the savings and having less chemicals in my house. I have found that through out my process of becoming chemical free I am completly following your site. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  7. This is great!! I used to LOVE magic erasers before I transitioned over to homemade cleaners. Now I am so leery of the toxins in cleaners that I refuse to buy any commercial cleaners anymore. I am definitely going to make these — especially for bathtubs. I hate cleaning bathtubs, so hopefully this will help. Thanks so much!

  8. This is great! I usually use about a cup of baking soda and a microfiber rag to clean my bath and shower, kind of making a paste and leaving quite a film as I clean. When I’ve scrubbed all I can scrub, I spray vinegar from a spray bottle all over the walls and tub and let chemistry do the rest. After a few minutes I just rinse, but because baking soda IS abrasive, there is still a little grit left if I don’t rinse super well. Do you find that there is much grit or residue to wipe off using the method you described?

  9. Awesome! I love magic erasers, but like you say, they’re not really in my budget. 🙂
    I wonder if this recipe would work well using microfiber cloths instead. I LOVE microfiber for cleaning!

  10. What a great idea. I used to purchase Magic Erasers, but quit because I felt the cost was not necessary – I just used more elbow grease. Now I can make my own and save and get the same cleaning power.

  11. Oh Melissa, I wish I were there to wrap my arms around you. Words can be so hurtful. Some people need to put there brain in gear before they put their mouth in motion.

    But know that there are many of us, more than you know that love your site. I give you guys credit for all the things you try to get ahead. This is a tough world we live in.

    I so enjoyed reading about how you lived in a trailer with a baby at that.

    I do not know how you manage living in the U.S. with the way things are going. I feel very blessed to live in Canada with all the benefits health and other things.

    Please keep your head up and try to ignore people that hurt you, easier said than done. Keep up the good work and God Bless You. Happy Thanksgiving to you. Huggs Eileen Bartsch from Canada.

    1. I agree! Those who are negative should not reply! I love finding new ways to clean that are environmentally friendly. Keep up the good work!

  12. I would like to say I’m sorry for the rude comments you get, I just don’t understand whatever happened to “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all?” I also would like to thank you for your site, I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!! I am so glad you did this post on magic erasers too, I have so much trouble with them just crumbling in my hands, a sponge would be so much sturdier. Thanks for all your tips and posts!

  13. Silly Ladies…it seemed as though she made clear paths with the cleaner so you could literally see the difference 🙂 Sometimes when people read these posts they are on tablets and phones and the second picture really shows you clearly how this works. And…as far as using The Works, it isn’t fun sitting a child in a bath that you cannot be certain does not contain residues of harsh chemicals! There are many reasons for using a simpler approach to cleaning: Costs, Environment, Allergies, and of course Ease 🙂 I figure that if you don’t ask me to clean your bathroom, you can post whatever ideas and pictures on how you clean it yourself 😉 Thank you for sharing 🙂

  14. Why not just buy the generic ones and use them as is? They work the same…

    For another option, you can buy the same type of foam at place like Lowes/Home depot – its called melamine. You can get a huge thing of it for $5.

    Baking soda/peroxide on a regular sponge or the foam works great too.

    1. I’m confused Leigh Ann, did you read the above post? I mentioned buying the generic Magic Erasers on Amazon (or where ever you can pick them up the cheapest) and they will work the same. Otherwise if you can’t find them you can use the above cleaning mixture with a regular sponge for similar results.

  15. I do not intend to be rude or judgmental in any way but I am a bit confused. You said that you bought the generic magic sponges to use instead of a regular sponge. I usually buy the WM brand of Magic Eraser and find they work just as well. How do you know the results are from the natural cleaner and not from the generic sponge? I would love to find something that works as well and as easily. I wonder what is actually in them that makes them clean so well.

    1. The Magic Erasers (or the generics) work ok without a cleaner because of the texture of the sponge and how they are uniquely made. You can duplicate the results by using a regular sponge and the cleaner recipe that I metnioned above.

  16. Well The Works is very bad on porcelain. For the amount of sponges I use on my stained sink and shower every week, because they do fall apart very fast I am going to try the home made one. I use them on my car inside and out.
    I use a cleaner called Wink to help clean out the really hard stains and it doesn’t hurt the porcelain or pipes.
    As far as the rude remarks there are always going to be someone who speaks before putting brain in gear. Just ignore them and they go away. But everyone has a right to their opinion.
    thanks so much for sharing and keep up the great work.

  17. This is great! I can add this to my recipes. I already make my own laundry soap, soap, eczema salve, deodorant and so many other things. I love all the diy projects that we can do at home 🙂

  18. Just an FYI for the regular magic erasers I dont know about the generic ones altho I have used them. NEVER let your child use a magic eraser the little fibers in them are very caustic and will look like your child has been burned from the fibers and the cleaner, read caution off another site but cannot remember what one,but I wouldnt chance it

  19. Merissa thank you so much for the work you put into your beautiful site. People do not realize how much research, work, and yes expense goes into a blog. With life being so short I do not have time to criticize someone else’s hard work. And I believe the tub comparison was right on. Whether you cleaned the whole tub or only partial still shows a big difference. We wouldn’t have all this info without bloggers like you who take the time and who care enough to share. God bless. I lived outside of Edgemont SD for awhile in jr high on believe it or not The Barkley Ranch. Again thanks.

    1. Thank you for this kind comment Carla, you are right, unless you’ve blogged or done something similar it’s hard to know just what kind of effort goes into it! (Just like any job or passion!)

  20. So I am having trouble finding castile soap locally and don’t have time to wait for shipping. Cleaning the rental so I can move to my new home. Can any natural type soap like yardleys or ivory soap. I haven’t tried my local health food store do you think they may have it? I remember being able to find it all the time near the enemas but people look at me like I am speaking Martian at the pharmacy.

    1. You could try a natural bar soap, that should work 🙂 My old local health food stores did carry castile soap though so it might be worth checking into.

  21. Hello: I had that same mineral issue and finally, after much ado, found a fairly good solution–We put a cup of Rust-Out, between every bag of softener salt–that has been amazing at getting the rust and minerals off most everything.

    My other horrific smelling and toxic solution is when I am beyond desperate–I do use a chemical called muratic acid which my Dad uses in his Florida pool, and is safe if you don’t breath it directly, and make sure to open all windows and get the kids and pets to leave the area. And wear gloves as directed.

    These are the only 2 items to truly make difference, but yes, The Works in a thick formula is inexpensive and works well and is indeed fairly toxic too.

    1. You mentioned using rustout in your water softner. Is that safe for bathing and drinking water?? Just wondering as we have the same problem. Thanks!

      1. We had a water softener in FL and NV. Typically the cold water faucet at the kitchen sink is NOT hooked up to the softener, so the additive shouldn’t be an issue, but check first with the way yours is hooked up.

  22. I love your site. So very helpful to anyone trying to avoid VOCs and be more green and frugal in their everyday life style. Castile soap is now available just about anywhere, you need to look for it and ask for it. I have found at my local big box store, if you ask, they will carry it or get it for you. Please don’t get discouraged by negative people. Your site is amazing and so is what you are doing!

  23. Is there anything eles besides the castile soap? In a bind could I use regular baby saop in the recipes for homemade soaps?

  24. I don’t know if this works (I’ve never tried it) but I read somewhere that those toy “noodles” or sponges you use in your swimming pool work just like a magic eraser.

  25. I am using as much natural goodies as I can. We have a septic system so whatever goes down the drain ends up back in the ground. For that reason I use as few chemicals as possible. I use the WORKS in my toilet as it does easily remove the calcium buildup, and I have used the WORKS shower spray, but again sparingly. These products are quite caustic but very affordable. I have noticed that the shower spray has damaged the finish on my chrome shower enclosure, so follow directions very carefully.

  26. What a great website, I am always looking for idea’s on how to be more creative, thrifty, and use less. And what a unique name ‘Little House Living’ I hope it’s okay to post idea’s on my ‘This & That’ site?

  27. The thing about the magic erasers for me is they use no cleaner at all. I use them while in th bathtub to spot clean the worst spots. I use melamine sponges. They aren’t quite as good as the magic eraser and don’t hold up as good but still do the job.

  28. I too love Magic Erasers but if you read the “Ingredient” section on the product box you will notice that the only ingredient is the sponge itself-there isn’t any cleaning products in or on them. So just order some of the generic ones and that will do it. I learned this on a pin I read a few months ago. Hope this helps.

  29. I just love trying new things and for sure love magic erasers but like most people can not afford them, so thank you so very much for sharing this , I will for sure be making them, my house caught fire and a’lot of my things are smoke damaged and the only thing I have found so far to remove most of the damage was magic eraser. so I am loving this of making my own can’t thank you enough love your site.

  30. I’m curious as to why this is titled homemade magic erasers? You are giving instructions on making a cleaner and still using generic magi erasers. Why not just use the generic eraser itself, why go through the trouble and money of the cleaners then?

  31. sorry if you already answered this, but how much liquid Castile soap should be added to the water/baking soda?

  32. Thanks for the recipe! Also, just trying to make sure I understand the best way to use them. In the paragraph that starts, “Now for the sponge – you have a couple of options,” you note buying the generic magic eraser sponges in bulk. Are you meaning that one option for sponges to use *with* the magic eraser spray cleaner is the generic magic eraser sponges? Or that you could buy the generic magic eraser sponges *instead* of using the abrasive homemade spray cleaner recipe?

    Thanks for any info!

  33. I am living on a very small income. And this would help me out a lot. I like to clean when things that are home make. And also I know how it is make.

  34. I totally love the idea and will most definitely try it! However I’m going to be THAT guy and point one thing out. $93.60 in savings per week, not per year. Overall, per year you would save approximately $4867.20, even more of a reason to try it.

  35. Consider placing a reseller link to Amazon product! Would have used it, no joke. Will wait for response to see if you place one, I’m all about rewarding and/or compensating for knowledge work, even igh only a hobby. I use these sponges, indeed, and marvel at their application and result. Discovering that I can buy in quantity with a few more products is an economically judicious choice for me. I appreciate your efforts of writing and sharing photos. But do please let me know if you put a link to the Amazon product!

  36. I saw that someone had asked about the amount of castile soap. That is my question, but I didn’t see the answer. Please advise. Thank you!

  37. Hello Marissa, Help please!
    I stumbled onto your site & I am fascinated by what I found. I’d like to try making the home made Magic Erasers, but I am hopelessly lost. Your ingredients list includes a spoon of Baking Soda, Castile Soap, & warm water. No mention is made of the quantity of Castile soap to use in a mix of … how much water. Would you please provide a little extra info to get me started please…

  38. The entire point of a Magic Eraser is the density of the melamine foam. You can soak normal sponges in whatever you want, will not ever work the same, without wearing out your elbow sockets from scrubbing.