Barkeepers Friend - I don't understand the love

LinelleMarch 21, 2014

I have been cleaning my stainless sink(s) with either Ajax or Comet for years and they gleam. However, it seems on GW everybody uses or recommends BKF. Is there something inherently better about it? Is it a regional thing?

Recently a user (can't remember who) recommended a periodic cleaning and scratch removal of their sink using BKF and a green scrubby. My sink isn't particularly scratched, but I gave it a try. What I was left with was a dull and cloudy surface that didn't seem to want to budge. I was a little freaked that I'd actually damaged my sink. I got out the Comet and a mere sponge and cleaned a little section. The cloudiness was gone. I did the whole sink and it's back to gleaming again.

Am I missing the point of BKF? Is there a special use for it that I don't understand?

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I bought some too and not impressed with the cleaning of my ss sink either.

Do you remember the post about how someone maintained their ss sink? I think they used mineral oil and sandpaper?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 12:52PM
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raee, the link to the thread is below. I should have included it in the first place.

I figured people like it because it's not too harsh. But when it leaves something looking worse than before, it's not for me.

Here is a link that might be useful: cleaning sink with BKF and scrubby

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 12:59PM
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It has oxalic acid, which must be the secret ingredient that gets out the discoloration in SS pots and pans, even that blueness that probably means cheap Chinese steel. It's the only thing that cleans cooked-on oil in a SS frypan. But I think it's overkill for a sink. I have a Silgranite sink and use Bon Ami.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 1:00PM
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After reading the BKF love here I bought some to clean my white enamel cast iron kitchen sink and some bathroom sinks. I think I'll probably go back to Bon Ami. I haven't noticed it working better and I dislike the odor.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 1:27PM
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I love it for my tri-ply stainless pots & pans but I haven't used it on anything else. It makes my pots & pans look like brand new no matter how dirty, greasy, baked on gunky they get.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 1:33PM
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I was a big fan of Bon Ami for our kitchen sink, but switched to BKF when we moved into our new house. I hate the way it smells and don't think it particularly makes my stainless steel sink look good. I was in the grocery store the other day and reached for the Bon Ami, but then I noticed that it's much less expensive than BKF, so I didn't buy it. I guess I thought since it cost less it wouldn't be as good (even though I used it in the past and liked it). But after seeing this thread, I'm definitely going back to Bon Ami.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 2:34PM
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Is Bon Ami similar to Comet/Ajax?

BKF does smell terrible. If I have any serious pot/pan scrubbing to do I use SOS.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 2:44PM
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Jeeze, this forum! First I'm timing my oven preheat, now I'm sniffing Bon Am! Lol! I couldn't smell anything, Linelle. That's what I like about it, no bleach smell. I don't know if it would work as well as Comet on white porcelain sinks, but it should work fine on your SS.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 3:31PM
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may_flowers, LOL. I just had to totally edit this post because I thought you said you couldn't smell BKF and I had to reply to that. I think Bon Ami is just fine.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 3:38PM
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The only thing I find BKF better for is the copper bottoms on Revere Ware, works amazing! But other than that, Bon-Ami, Comet, Ajax as good or better, and less $

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 3:44PM
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BKF is wonderful for white porcelain sinks and also removes black scratch marks that get on some dinner plates(Pfaltzgraff) from using a fork and knife. It will also remove ring marks(and other stains) that may get on a white/light counter top in the kitchen or bathroom. I don't use it for SS though. For some things it is amazing and other things it doesn't really do too much. I have not been able to find Bon Ami in years. I wanted to try and compare it because I've seen others say that it is better than BKF but I have not been able to try it out to see for myself. It's funny how so many people have different results with the same item?!

This post was edited by arkansas_girl on Fri, Mar 21, 14 at 16:11

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 3:56PM
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I like the powdered form of BKF for my white enamel sink. I was not nearly as impressed with the newer liquid form of BKF, though. It was more expensive and less effective on the gray streaks left by pans washed in the sink.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 4:13PM
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Fori is not pleased

I have a beat up enameled cast iron sink and BKF will get it clean. I have a feeling it's also eating away at the finish too, but I don't care at this point.

I do prefer Comet/Ajax but it doesn't quite work on the pitted finish. For stainless steel (or an undamaged cast iron sink), it's Comet all the way!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 4:32PM
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What is Bon Ami especially good for? I bought both based on posts here but can't remember. This time I'm taking notes.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 4:49PM
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BKF is also wonderful for marks on tile that won't come out no matter what. I had one for years that I had concluded must be a hairline crack after innumerable tries failed to remove it, then Bill V said to use BKF and out it came in seconds. Bon Ami did nothing at all.

I do like BKF for my old stainless sink but not as an everyday cleaner. When it throws out another rust spot, a quick scrub with BKF, a good rinse and a wipe with a microfiber cloth and my 1979 builder-grade sink looks new again.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 5:15PM
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Fori is not pleased

Oh yeah. Rusty stuff! I once cleaned up chrome-plated babymoon hubcaps with BKF.

My fingers smelled bad for days.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 5:28PM
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>My fingers smelled bad for days.

Yeah, I learned the hard way that no matter how small the spot, always wear gloves! :)

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 5:32PM
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BKF powder is the only thing that makes my appliances look good. It has to be wiped off and then buffed with microfiber, though. Otherwise it leaves a cloudy mess

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 6:57PM
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Romy, Bon Ami is a gentle abrasive. It will do for most cleaning but won't bleach out stains.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 7:08PM
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I'm glad other mentioned the smell of BKF. I bought some for a reason I can't remember. It has a metal smell to me. I like bon ami and is what I usually buy.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 8:54PM
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BKF is amazing for a glass shower door and lime removal. I don't think anyone else mentioned it is also septic tank safe. We septic tank people can not use products with bleach or at least use them sparingly and some things are just bad for your pipes (liquid fabric softener is one). The more you know.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 10:26PM
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I have tried everything on glass shower doors. Until recently the most effective was OxyClean + water slurry. Only problem was it was hellish to rinse off.

Now I use a Magic Eraser. Amazing, and minimal rinse required.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 11:30PM
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I *LOVE* BKF on my stainless steel cookware and sink. I only use the powdered version, and the soft side of a scrubby. I first wet whatever I'm washing with some water, then sprinkle the powder on it. Next I scrub (with the soft side) to make a paste and go over the entire area. Then I rinse clean. My pans and sink sparkle when done.

But yes, the smell is not the best; however, it's worth it for the results.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 4:24AM
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Linelle - if you want a super good cleaner for your shower door or mirrors or windows here is a concoction I found here on GW and it works fabulously!

1/4 C white vinegar
1/4 C rubbing alcohol
1 T corn starch
2C warm water

Use with newspaper, coffee filters or other lint free cloth. You can probably find the original thread for all the testimonials but it works and it's cheap to make.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 9:30AM
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Mgoblue85, thanks for the recipe! It's about time to wash all my windows.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 9:59AM
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I want to thank everyone for these comments. I bought BKF, both powder and liquid, because I thought I oughta. I liked Comet, but always seem to ruin what I'm wearing when I use it, no matter how careful I am, even if I have on an apron or smock (although I have never tried using it w/o anything on).

I thought BKF was just "eh", but maybe didn't try it on some of the things that it seems to work best on. I'll have to try Bon Ami next.
But, my question is...are these products that much better than using some dry baking soda for a gentle abrasive?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:36AM
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BKF contains a bleaching agent, just not the same one that's in Comet. Bon Ami doesn't.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:43AM
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I just used BKF to take out cast iron stains in my butcher block counter and it worked great! I made it into a concentrated paste and then let it work on the stains for several minutes (from the lid of my Le Creuset pots). I have old white laminate (circa 1950s) counter tops and BFK does wonders getting out the stains.

I use Bon Ami too but not for stains, more like Comet to clean stainless steel, toilet, etc. Both to me are indispensable.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 12:49PM
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I also find the powder BKF much better than the liquid. Someone asked if BKF is really better than baking least for those black/grey marks in a white sink. I experimented with it when one person(cynic I believe it was) made a big deal over the fact that baking soda was "just as good if not better than BKF"...NO WAY, not even close! My sink gets horrible in just a few days every time a pan scratches against it and the baking soda did almost nothing to get that off, BKF took it off and sparkled like new!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 11:00AM
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I get it now. Those marks in the sink from SS pans drove me crazy & were one of the reasons I got a Silgranit sink (in metallic gray) when I redid my kitchen. Nothing shows now! Well, maybe water marks and lime jello. And, I did use BKF.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 11:24AM
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BKF, Bon Ami and Comet/ Ajax are all different formulations and different chemicals. All work great if you are using the right tool for the job.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 11:31AM
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Bon Ami is much like baking soda but it has a natural foaming agent, so it feels more like using Comet, but without the bleach. It's half the price of BKF, which I don't need for my sink anyway.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 12:26PM
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I remember the first time I bought Bon Ami many years ago. What sold me was the little chick on the label with a slogan that said words to the effect "50 years and never a scratch". I was so afraid of scratching my new sink so I instantly fell in love. (I had ruined more than one new appliance in the spirit of attempting to clean it properly ðÂÂÂ).

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 4:47PM
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I love both Bon Ami and BKF for getting soap scum off my shower walls. I know you are not supposed to use it on plastic/acrylic, etc. but there is nothing that gets the job done better and I hate using the heavy-duty chemical sprays. Smell isn't great but it doesn't linger on me.

Never realized the different formulations of BA and BKF. Good thing to know.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 8:32PM
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Bon Ami is a great product. Made here in Kansas City Mo by the Faultless Starch Company. They have been making it over 100 years.

It is great if you don't like to wear gloves or have sensitive skin.

Hasn't scratched yet!

Here is a link that might be useful: Bon Ami.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 8:35PM
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BFK is good for metals--brass on a Lacanche--or a brass faucet. Oh, is that why my hands are a mess? Eating me alive!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 12:17AM
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I like BKF for my SS sink, pots, and the glass shower doors. The smell doesn't bother me, and I don't like a lot of smells - like bleach or ammonia, for example. Has anyone used Zud? I think it has oxalic acid, too. It takes rust stains off the patio flagstones. It's pretty heavy duty.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 11:32AM
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Rachiele, LLC

Try Bayes Stainless cleaner and conditioner. I can assure you it is easy to use and will make your sink look almost new! I have used Barkeepers friend and found it to be very difficult to remove the residue. The Bayes product, when used on appliances, will not even show fingerprints. Great stuff!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 11:44AM
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Isn't this Forun geat! Learn something new everyday.

This is the first time I have heard of using BFK for 304 stainless sinks. I don't think the oxalic acid in BFK is good for steel. It's an oxidizer which should be avoided around steel -- although I admit I sometimes used it to re-sparkle 305 stainless "silverware" (I silverware silverware if its not silver?)

We use baking soda. Never tried Bon Ami on stainless sinks, but can't think why not.

BFK is great on our Kohler cast iron sinks -- the only kind of sink I would ever buy. Takes out any stain and leave a sparkling surface. Also great on copper pans.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 12:06PM
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re: shower

I just did this a few weeks ago and so far, I'm loving it. I hung a decent looking microfiber washcloth in the shower and bought inexpensive body wash - don't know if it helps, but I chose one with "citrus."

Every time I'm in the shower, I wipe only 1 wall/door, rotating through the 4 surfaces. The first time, I felt the cloth "gripping" the surface - but once it was cleaned, it slid right over.

If I squeegee the glass after the shower, it looks great for minimal effort. If only I could get dh to squeegee....

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 12:08PM
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