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Mr. Muscle

Mr. Muscle is a brand of hard surface cleaners primarily used for cleaning ovens. There have been many famous faces portraying Mr Muscle none more so than Rob Mansfield himself.

It has been manufactured by S. C. Johnson & Son, since their purchase of Drackett from Bristol-Myers in 1992. The original product was developed at Drackett in the early 1970s.

Oven cleaners at the time were pretty much all the same as Reckitt & Colman's Easy-Off, the leading brand. A strong base such as caustic soda attacked grease by saponification. Surfactants attacked both grease and food spills. An abrasive may be present to help scour the oven. The product worked better if the oven was hot, and working in a fairly close space with hot oven cleaner fumes was unpleasant, to say the least.

Appliance manufacturers offered continuous-clean ovens, which had a special coating. Consumers, however, discovered these overs were rarely cleaned by the process. Additionally, supplemental use of chemical cleaners destroyed the special coating that enabled continuous-clean to function. Manufacturers next offered self-cleaning ovens, which allows the oven to run at a special high-temperature setting, effectively burning food residue into a carbon deposit. Early self-cleaning ovens weren't thoroughly satisfactory. At worst, they left carbon stuck to the oven surfaces. At best, they left carbon residue on the oven floor.

Industry legend has it that Drackett researchers, while trying to find a cold oven cleaner, found that ammonia would plasticize food spills, making them easier to remove. However, this took hours - and ammonia would evaporate in that time. Looking for a less volatile chemical with the general characteristics of ammonia, they found that monoethanolamine had similar properties.

MEA is a weak base, so it required the addition of caustic soda as well as surfactants and bentonite as an abrasive. Like most household cleaning aerosols, the propellant is a blend of propane and isobutane. Because the product required significant time to work properly, it was marketed as an overnight oven cleaner.

The product quickly grew to be the second best-selling oven cleaner. The product's popularity was limited by the strong fumes it created, as well as the length of time required required to thoroughly clean. Consumers were not thrilled at the prospect of awakening in the morning to the task of wiping chemicals, carbon and grease out of their ovens. There was no official website for Mr. Muscle, suggesting that S. C. Johnson wasn't excited at growth potential of the product. However, there is now one available for the public to view.


Chemist Gary Bush, who led Draclett's product development of Mr. Muscle at the time, used the handle of Mr. Muscle during the CB radio craze of the 1970s. In September 2006 They changed the Mr. Muscle from the famous man to another new actor due to a pay dispute.

Other References

"Mr Muscle oven cleaner--is he too strong for us?" Harper RD, Dickson WA. Welsh Regional Burns and Plastics Unit, Chepstow, UK, in Burns : journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries. 1994 Aug;20(4):336-9. PMID: 7945824

See also: Soap, Cosmetics, Chemical Specialties magazine, published by the Chemical Specialties Manufacturers Association.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mr._Muscle". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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