Melamine foam

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A "Mr. Clean Magic Eraser" brand sponge, made from melamine foam

Melamine foam is a foam-like material consisting of a melamine-formaldehyde condensate. It is the active component of a number of abrasive cleaner sponges, notably the Magic Eraser.

It is also used as thermal insulation and as a soundproofing material.


The open-cell foam is microporous and its polymeric substance is very hard, so that when used for cleaning it works like extremely fine sandpaper, getting into tiny grooves and pits in the object being cleaned.

On a larger scale, the material feels soft because the reticulated foam bubbles interconnect. Its structure is a 3D network of very hard strands, when compared to the array of separate bubbles in a material such as styrofoam.[1]

Being microporous, it also effectively absorbs sound waves.

Being open-cell, it entrains countless air bubbles, giving it low thermal conductivity and thereby making it an effective insulator.


In the early 21st century, it was discovered that melamine foam is an effective abrasive cleaner.[2] Rubbing with a slightly moistened foam may remove otherwise "uncleanable" external markings from surfaces. For example, melamine foam can remove crayon, marker pen, and grease from painted walls and wood finishings, plastic-adhering paints from treated wooden tables, and adhesive residue and grime from hubcaps.[3] If the surface being cleaned is not sufficiently hard, it may be finely scratched by the melamine material. Similarly to a pencil eraser, the foam wears away during use, leaving behind a slight residue which can be rinsed off.

Other uses[edit]

Naturally lightweight, melamine foam is also used as insulation for pipes and ductwork, and as a soundproofing material for studios, sound stages, auditoriums, and the like. One advantage of melamine foam over other soundproofing materials is that it’s considered not flammable. Melamine foam’s fire rating is Class A/Class 1 in the United States and ULCS-102 for Canada. If heated to 465 °F (241 °C), the foam shrinks, and collapses.[4] These properties suit it as the main sound and thermal insulation material for Shinkansen bullet trains.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "HowStuffWorks "Melamine Foam"". 25 August 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  2. ^ US 20060005338, Gary Ashe, Alan Goldstein, "Cleaning Implement Comprising A Layer Of Melamine Foam", published 12 January 2006, assigned to Procter and Gamble Co. 
  3. ^ "Mr. Clean Magic Erasers: Creative Uses For These Household Cleaning Blocks That Truly Work Magic! - The Fun Times Guide to Household Tips". Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  4. ^ "Why Melamine Foam is the Better Than Other Sound-Absorbing Materials". 10 February 2021.

External links[edit]