We’re such an interconnected society that when a hack goes viral, it’s impossible not to hear about it. That’s why you’re probably privy to that hack from a couple of years ago that said that placing a Magic Eraser in your pool skimmer box makes the pool less green.
Does it work or is it too good to be true?
Putting a Magic Eraser in your pool skimmer box is not a good idea. The Magic Eraser will gather some algae, but it’s not going to make your pool magically spotless, nor can it improve water composition. If anything, since Magic Erasers uses melamine, if that interacts with Cyanuric Acid, it could potentially create toxic byproducts or disrupt the chemical balance in a pool.
There’s a lot more information to unpack here, so make sure you keep reading, especially before you put that Magic Eraser in your swimming pool!
What Is the Magic Eraser? Why Did It Go Viral?
Most people have heard of Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser. You might even have one in your kitchen pantry right now.
After becoming a top-selling Mr. Clean product, the Magic Eraser these days is available for all sorts of purposes, such as removing soap scum, cleaning the bath, or scouring the kitchen. We’ll focus on the original Magic Eraser.
According to Mr. Clean’s website, the Magic Eraser has a Durafoam base, which is soft and spongy. You’re supposed to wet the Magic Eraser, rub it on a stain or an area of grime, and voila, the mess is gone. You don’t even need hot or cold water, just room temperature water.
So how does it work? Durafoam contains melamine, a type of chemical compound that cleans like sandpaper yet is porous like a sponge. That’s why the Magic Eraser has microscrubbers, as the air pockets within the microscrubbers become hard and pull grime and messes off.
So what’s the hack with the Magic Eraser that went viral? It occurred in 2018. An older woman in Ohio named Lisa Pack decided to try putting a Magic Eraser in her pool skimmer box to treat her pool.
In the video, Pack recommends leaving the Magic Eraser in the skimmer box for 24 hours. The sponge should absorb all the algae and your swimming pool will be spotless without any harsh chemicals or hard work.
Supposedly, the melamine within the Magic Eraser is supposed to balance your pool chemistry as well. Why? Cyanuric acid or CYA, which increases chlorine lifespan, is a type of pool balancing product that pool owners use all the time. Since CYA tests contain melamine as well, the mindset is that it must help your pool.
Can You Clean a Pool Skimmer Box with a Magic Eraser?
The thing about viral hacks is they’re not always authentic. That appears to be the case with Lisa Pack’s Magic Eraser hack.
It’s not that Magic Erasers don’t work for their intended purpose. They certainly do. Being stuffed in your pool skimmer box is not one such purpose.
This article in Pool News from shortly after the hack went viral explains why it doesn’t work.
Pool technician Andrea Nannini decided to replicate Pack’s experiment. She filled a large jar with algae-green fountain water and then added a Magic Eraser. After sealing the lid tight and coming back to the sponge later, Nannini wasn’t impressed.
Will a Magic Erase Remove Algae?
Did the Magic Eraser absorb the algae? Some, but not all. The reason that Lisa Pack’s pool looked clean wasn’t because of the Magic Eraser, Nannini suspects, but more that her pool wasn’t that dirty in the first place.
Even Lisa Pack, in her original Facebook post, said: “Now mind you, my pool wasn’t green but it looked like it was getting cloudy.”
Pack’s statement and Nannini’s experiment pretty much prove it. The Magic Eraser will not make a green swimming pool sparkling blue after spending 24 hours in the pool skimmer box.
Let’s say though, theoretically, that it did work. Even if that was the case (which again, it isn’t), you still wouldn’t want to put a Magic Eraser in your pool.
Remember how we said that the Magic Eraser hack supposedly stabilized your pool chemistry? Andrea Nannini has a different idea. She believes that pool water that contains CYA and then has more melamine added to it might create melamine cyanurate.
What is melamine cyanurate? It’s a chemical compound that could potentially be toxic. Although Nannini says she doesn’t know for certain whether melamine cyanurate could develop as a byproduct of CYA and the melamine from the Magic Eraser, it’s a possibility.
With that option on the table, we can’t see why any pool owner would want to risk their own health or the health of their family for a hack.
Many viral hacks tend to be dangerous, unfortunately. You need to look no further than the hack that recommended microwaving an egg in hot water to poach it. That led to severe facial burns for many participants.
Although this Magic Eraser hack isn’t nearly as dangerous, it does still carry some risk. It’s not worth trying.
That’s not to say that Lisa Pack tried to start anything malicious. For her, she thought the Magic Eraser hack did work. She didn’t know her post would be picked up and shared hundreds of thousands of times.
Yet here we are, and this is yet another hack that doesn’t do what it’s advertised to.
3 REAL Ways to Fix a Green Pool
When your pool water turns green, that’s due to the presence of algae, an aquatic plant species that some refer to as protists. A protist is that which does not fit into categories such as archaeans, bacteria, fungi, plants, or animals.
Algae shouldn’t just grow in your pool, especially not in large quantities. If your pool has been overrun with algae, here are several potential causes.
1. Increase the Chlorine
Chlorine is not one of those chemicals that’s nice to have in your pool; it’s a must. If you’re using too little chlorine or chlorinate infrequently, then algae will develop sooner or later. Compared to the other reasons we’re going to discuss, poor chlorination habits could be the top cause of a green swimming pool.
2. Balance Pool pH
Do you test the pH of your pool water regularly? If not, then you have no reliable means of determining how alkaline the water is. The higher the pH on the scale, the greater the degree of alkalinity.
The increase in pH can wreak havoc on your expensive pool equipment, leading to scaling on plumbing pipes and fixtures as well as on the surface of the pool. The water will look cloudy in addition to green.
Chlorine, when you do use it, can’t work effectively in an alkaline pool. Thus, even if you were chlorinating regularly, it would be like you’re not since the high pH negates all your hard work.
3. Increase Filtering and Circulation
If your pool is open for the season, then your pool pump needs to be on, circulating water through the filters and then back out into the pool. Whether it’s an issue with the filter, the pump, or both, when the water in your pool becomes still, algae soon follow.
How to Treat a Green Swimming Pool
Now that you better understand the dangers of algae in your pool, you can’t let the issue go, as it will only get worse and more expensive for you to fix later. Here are some remediation options you can try today, and none that involve a Magic Eraser.
This is a quick summary, for a full guide, check out our article:
Green Pool – Guide to Easily Preventing & Removing Pool Algae
Shock the Pool
The first matter of business is to add the chlorine that your pool has so sorely been lacking. Shocking the pool will increase the water’s free chlorine levels, which in turn will kill bacteria and algae.
Your pool will be cleaner than it’s been in a long time, and any lingering smells from algal growth should fade as well.
Clean the Filter and Pump
If your filter and pump have been running this whole time but you still had algae, it’s time to inspect these pool components. It could be that one or both parts were backed up with gunk or debris. A thorough cleaning will get the filter or pump in working order.
Should even cleaning the parts fail to get them back in usable condition, then it’s time to consider replacing one or both.
Use an Algaecide
Perhaps you notice some lingering algae even though your pool is mostly blue rather than green anymore. Algaecide can remove the last traces of algae and in some instances prevent future growths of algae as well.
Test the Water
After shocking the pool, following a regular chlorine schedule is crucial. You also want to regularly test your pool water to ensure the composition is balanced. If you need to add certain chemicals to control alkalinity, don’t hesitate to do so.
When hacks go viral, it’s usually for the wrong reasons. As more and more people try the hack, they discover that it didn’t work for them. Such was the case with the Magic Eraser pool hack, which was supposed to water balance and remove algae by keeping the Magic Eraser in the pool skimmer box for 24 hours.
Treating algae is more complex. You have to shock the pool and usually apply an algaecide. You must keep the water in the pool moving as well. Good luck!