As I mention on my “About Me” page, I was first introduced to Sylvanian Families when I was a kid back in the ’80s. When I was maybe 3 or 4, I received a wonderful handmade wooden dollhouse and a variety of the furniture sets. When I became reacquainted with the toys as an adult, I was pleased to find that my original sets were still in storage at my parents’ house. However, I was a bit disappointed to find that as a child I had done some “decorating” of my own on a couple of pieces. (I actually find this quite surprising. As far as I can remember, I generally took pretty good care of my toys.) A kitchen counter piece had especially taken the brunt of my “artistic” endeavors, so I decided that I would try to clean it off. And it actually was quite easy, so I thought I’d put together this super quick tutorial to share my findings!
You can see that I seem to have colored on this kitchen countertop with a black crayon.
I’m pretty sure that it had undergone repeated previous attempts at cleaning, scrubbing, etc. But now I have a new (new since the ’80s at least) tool in my arsenal: a “Mr. Clean Magic Eraser“.
Magic Erasers are, according to the wikipedia page, made of melamine foam. I have bought melamine foam from the dollar store for much cheaper than the name-brand seen above, but have found that they don’t seem to work as well and crumble very quickly. I’m always up for saving money, but I do prefer the name-brand product in this case.
Magic Erasers are an abrasive, like a very fine sandpaper, so they can really only be used on hard surfaces. Luckily for me, my scribbles were on the hard plastic of a toy countertop. Melamine foam will damage fabrics, easily scratched items, many painted surfaces, and other soft materials (don’t even think about trying it out on your Sylvanians!)
To use the Magic eraser you wet it down with water (I just stick mine under the faucet for a few seconds) and then squeeze out as much of the water as you can. Then you scrub your surface. The crayon markings had been on this toy for nearly 30 years, so it did take a lot of “elbow grease.” Rubbing in a variety of directions seemed to be the best technique – up and down, side to side, and in little circles. After maybe 2 or 3 minutes of scrubbing, the vast majority of the crayon was successfully removed.
The Magic Eraser may leave a powdery residue on your object; if so, just wipe it off with a damp cloth or paper towel.
Isn’t it a wonderful fix?
Like it’s brand new!
Now that I know that the melamine foam works well for hard plastic toys like this, I will be much more likely to buy similarly damaged items in the future (if the price is right, of course!)