Magic Erasers + teaware.
After posting my discovery some time ago that cream of tartar works fabulously to erase seemingly impossible stains on teaware, it might appear that tea stains are all I think about, but that’s okay.
My most recent revelation involves those Mr. Clean Magic Erasers (melamine foam; it goes by several other brand names too). This is a much less laborious solution to built-up layers of distasteful grunge that accumulate on teaware. I’m thinking mostly of my Breville tea maker here, since baking soda is usually sufficient for everything else. But, the Breville tends to get really upsettingly discoloured despite my best efforts (probably thanks to my hard water).
So, if you have any stubborn stains, you should try one of these! I got mine at a dollar store and they worked very well with little effort.
Yes, I have used these on my breville too, to help remove some of the discoloring and it makes it shiny and new again! Yay for shiny appliances.
Cool! I had never thought of it before. They actually only work okay on my walls, which are scuffed a bit from moving mishaps (tiny condo!), so I wasn’t yet impressed by them.
I agree; shiny appliances are the best! Having the Breville restored to its original glory is so thrilling.
I clean my breville pretty regularly, because I don’t want to take the chance that any left over scents or flavors might affect future pots of tea. I usually alternate with cleaning procedures, one week, I’ll squeeze a lemon in a full pot, chop up the peel and put the whole thing in for a good long brew of 10 minutes and let it sit overnight, then rinse well in the morning. The next week, I’ll use distilled vinegar. But neither of these things will remove the discoloring that seems to build up on the previously shiny parts, so I take out a magic eraser for these (don’t you love the dollar store?) and I find that they do a marvelous job at restoring the shiny.
Alright while I use these – although have not on my Breville yet I know I have heard of melamine before and for some reason I think it was not a positive thing I heard about it. Not trying to scare anyone but I swear I heard some bad reports on this stuff – time to investigate.
Huh! Well, Wikipedia’s article on melamine seems to say that it is combined with formaldehyde to make the foam.
Yikes! Thanks for pointing out this might not be okay. I will definitely not be using them again. Back to cream of tartar. :(
Yep, and melamine is definitely not okay either. I can’t believe I didn’t look into it more thoroughly! I heard that someone had used one on a teapot and for some reason that was enough for me?
Glad to see you checked it out – I got busy and couldn’t yet. Yeah I thought I had heard it was bad. Oh wait I remember now! It was because I had this antique perfume bottle made with melamine and it makes this specific kind of plastic that is considered collectable! Something like that anyway.
Wow… so I guess I won’t use mine any more either. I always brew a “rinse” brew after I clean it so I’m not worried about using it in the past, but, I don’t think I need to use it in the future. :/
Hmm, I wouldn’t have personally been too concerned about using the magic erasers as long as I wasn’t going to be ingesting anything, which would be doubtful if things are being rinsed well afterwards. The thing with melamine was that whole Chinese contamination scare, where IIRC it was found in milk/baby formula… or was it pet food where they were trying to increase the apparent protein content? Either way, I think melamine itself is pretty common, it’s just not good as a food ingredient! (Just looked this up… it was a problem in both scenarios).
That said, depending on your level of environmental consciousness/fear of chemicals, etc., these may not be great to use, but I suspect they’re no worse than a lot of other things out there. Perhaps just use them with gloves on and be sure to rinse well.
Thanks Krystaleyn! Now I can make my breville shiny again with no worry. I wasn’t too worried with my past usage of the magic eraser anyway, because I do rinse it really good with a whole “mock” brew cycle and everything to make sure nothing WRONG ends up in my cup of tea. You know. I’m kind of a stickler about such things. There’s nothing quite as wonderful as a good cup of a tea… but nothing quite as horrible as something gone wrong with it … so I do what I can to avoid that!
I have to thank Azzrian for bringing this up in the first place! I had never really thought about what magic erasers were before, and it was interesting to do a bit of sleuthing to find out. I don’t have any here with me, but I have definitely used them before (on walls, primarily) and been quite happy with the results, although I did accidently scrub a bit too hard once and removed some paint… :D
Be careful with these on your skin….I got chemical burns!
Vinegar is great for removing all sorts of stains, especially from tea. It’s non-toxic and pretty cheap.
Just make sure you rinse thoroughly afterward. Vinegar can leave a strong smell. LOL.
Vinegar doesn’t really work so well to remove the discoloration on the breville though it does help to remove the residual scents and I use it every other week to clean my breville, as I said above.
I’ve found that vinegar + wiping with a microfiber cloth is plenty to remove any stains from my Breville.
I would be concerned the Magic Eraser might scratch the non-glass surfaces, plus I’m pretty sure it’s not food safe. Of course you would rinse it well afterward, but risk it?
Try Baking Soda, Lemon Juice, and a little salt. This is what we used to use back in my family’s fast food business days for the coffee pots. Worked wonders! We also put ice cubes in the bottoms and slurried it around a bit but I would not want something so abrasive on my Breville.
Yeah, the baking soda + lemon (or just vinegar) work beautifully on pretty much everything! The bottom of my Breville, after 4-6 months of use, is always just unsalvageable by those means, though. The only things that have worked are cream of tartar and these erasers. I do a cycle every couple weeks like LiberTEAS with vinegar or baking soda to cut down, but it eventually gets to such a gross discoloured phase I need something more aggressive.
Ah bummer to hear – I just got mine and its already discoloring. I should give it a clean.
Being proactive definitely helps! When I slack on mini-cleans and making sure I rinse it immediately after making tea, the buildup is a lot worse.
I have been really good about rising everything and drying after each use, and not leaving leaves in the steeper too long, but I need to do a weekly CLEANING – I have had it maybe a week now so I better start getting into the habit :)
You’ve built the good habits I wish I did from the start! It’s an awesome machine so it sucks when it looks less than awesome. I hope you’re enjoying it! :)
I have moved hanging tea cups, rearranged the counter, won’t rinse it out if ANYTHING else is in the sink. Im totally paranoid!
I remember what I thought Melamine was in – I THINK it is Bakealite (sp?) I BELIEVE that bakealite is made with Melamine – I could be completely wrong though.
Not sure all I know is that one of my all time favorite perfumes has a lid / cap that is made of Bakelite which I think is the same as Melamine.
Bakelite is older. Like me. Melamine was popular in the 60’s and there is a good market for new products (dishes and bowls) right now on fab.com, knightslane.com etc.
Bakelite was used in jewlery also and goes back to art deco I believe.
There was a time I used magic erasers for everything… until my friend somehow inhaled fumes while cleaning and had an asthma attack (and she doesn’t HAVE asthma)
Then we looked at the ingredients… scary that a bunch of them are also in cigarettes! :(
I’ll try the other solutions here though!