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- Marty: "Whoa! What was that!?"
- Emmett: "A chemical compound capable of wiping the grime off any surface!"
- — Marty McFly and Emmett Brown
Appearance And Function
- "...after this batch of cleanser ages another 11 hours and 53 minutes, it would eat away this suit faster than a thousand starving moths!"
- —Emmett Brown after first using the cleanser
The cleanser solution was transparent, having all the texture and appearance of water. When it came in contact with a grimy substance, the formula would immediately clear it up. After twelve hours since its creation, however, the cleanser would break down into an acidic form that would destroy cloth. This would only happen if the cleanser was used after twelve hours, not twelve hours after use, as the solution dissipated just after being applied.
In order to preserve the future, Marty McFly needed to break up Emmett Brown and his girlfriend Edna Strickland Tannen. To do this, he attempted to frame Emmett for cheating on Edna and "prove" that Emmett was a slob. Using a can of chemicals, Marty "accidentally" ruined the white suit Edna had her boyfriend, a suit that had previously belonged to her grandfather. Emmett was not perturbed, however, and stated that when Edna had given him the suit he knew there would be almost no chance of keeping it clean so he invented the cleanser solution. Marty was surprised to see the stain on Emmett's suit vanish and, after asking a few questions about the solution, found out about the solution's corrosive future.
As the formula tank and implementation system was too large and unwieldy to carry around the place, Emmett had put a small amount of the solution in a perfume bottle to be more portable. This Marty took and hid placed it in the DeLorean time machine that Emmett's older self from another timeline was attempting to fix. The time circuits on the DeLorean had been damaged and the older Emmett Brown was taking it for test runs, often arriving hours earlier. After a few test runs, the little bottle of solution was aged past twelve hours.
The plan was successful and it was not long before Emmett had to clean his suit again. The pristine white clothing was reduced to ripped blackened tatters just as Edna walked up to him. The second part of Marty's plan was then executed and Edna dumped Brown, restoring the future to its proper course.