My apartment is old. I mean OLD. Like about as old as I am, and that’s getting old for an apartment in some places like Milwaukee or Pittsburgh, much less SoCal.

One of the brilliant ideas designers had back then was to use porcelin tile and grout for the kitchen counters. Okay, I can see the backspashs, but the counters? C’mon! Every plate and glass that’s survived so far have chips in them.

The porcelain sink is totally unforgiving. It’s chip to the death with anything so foolishly put in the bottom to dry. The old tub has it’s own battlescars.

There’s a couple of punctures in the porcelain, going down to what I assume is some sort of metal backing. At least that’s the story I’m going with. I don’t want to know why it isn’t white like the rest of the sink.

Speaking of the bathroom … I swear the porcelain tub (with powder blue tiling) hadn’t been cleaned in years. It was more black than white inside. Nasty nasty.

I’ve learned porcelain will change from ice slick to porous soapstone when the “finish” wears off. I’m not sure the details of how porcelain is finished, or sealed, but it is. The finish on my apartment’s porcelain fixtures is shot to hell.

I even went to Lowe’s and bought muratic acid to eat the oily scum off. It worked, but I thought I was in a B SciFi movie with the respirator and goggles going on. Even now faint shadows remain where the worst became one with the ceramic.

Now to my main point: The only thing in the world other than muratic acid that will clean the newly smeared stains. What is it?

More powerful than bleach, faster than an SOS pad, more abrasive than Comet, its … Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser (MCME)!

But WHAT is it? Really? It cleans shit nothing else (almost) will touch. MCME probably can remove stains from shirts. It’ll remove any kind of ceiling/wall/floor stain you can throw at it.

Except for this one by the oven where someone burned gravy drippings into the ceramic …

UPDATE (08/11/09)

Per Val:

Magic Eraser is a cleaning stick made of melamine foam. Melamine is a resin used in construction and the automotive industry as a sound barrier and flame retardant. It also imparts strength and is used in such products as dinnerware and laminate counter tops.
The eraser is moistened with water so it adheres slightly to the surface to be cleaned. (Mr. Clean likens this to licking your finger when you turn a page.) Then it is rubbed over the spot or stain. The water breaks down the product into a microscopic polymer abrasive that grabs dirts in the spaces that a regular sponge or brush can’t get to.”