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is bon ami the same as barkeepers friend?

my all clad needs a scrub but i only have bon ami at home. will it scratch? thanks!

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  1. it should work, I use bon ami and bk friend interchangeably on stainless

    1. No - not the same. Bon Ami has no oxyalic acid or chlorine and is less abrasive than other cleansers. Bar Keepers Friend (BKF) has oxalic acid and is slightly abrazive. Oxalic acid dissolves rust and will take the color out of fabrics just like bleach. BKF will ruin anodized aluminum finishes but is great for stainless steel. BKF will restore SS to a brilliant shine.

      5 Replies
      1. re: kayakado

        Beware using BKF on stainless steel appliances such as fridges. The surface can have a coating that is abraded away. I suspect it is to do with 'fingerprint control'.

        1. re: kayakado

          "... BKF will ruin anodized aluminum finishes..."

          Huh. I scrubbed the hell out of my All-Clad LTD saucepan when I had an overflow of oil (don't ask...) and it did nothing to the finish -- LTD is bulletbroof stuff, all of the "scratches" came off too. Maybe it is certain kinds of anodized materials.

          1. re: mateo21

            Second this. I have a LTD saucepan as well that I've used BKF on regularly with no issues.

          2. re: kayakado

            Has anyone had problems with Bar Keeper's Friend (BKF) ruining finishes?
            Do you use it on the outside of stainless steel cookware?

            I just bought my first can of BKF for our brand-new calphalon 3-ply stainless pains, and it completely erased a oil stain that wasn't touched with soaking and scrubbing with a durable but non-abrasive scrubber and soap. Impressive! Now I'm thinking of using it to get rid of some water spots on our JA Henckels Twin Cuisine Knifes...

            1. re: ejs064

              Bar Keeper's Friend (BKF) is pretty effective, but not extremely aggressive. I had used BKF cleaning cookware, bakeware, and knives. I won't say very often, but I have done it. Yes, it will get rid of the water spots.

          3. thanks! as long as it's LESS abrasive I'm happy to use it- and it worked to restore a pretty burned pan. for now i'll stick to this

            1. Bon Ami is probably the least abrasive mass market product you can buy. It may not do the job, but it's always worth trying before anything else.

              BKF cleans by strong chemical action. It is more abrasive than Bon Ami, but not by very much. It will work beautifully on your SS.

              BKF may harm some anodized aluminum, but is specifically recommended by Calphalon for some of their anodized aluminum products.

              4 Replies
              1. re: embee

                embree: "Bon Ami is probably the least abrasive mass market product you can buy."

                Agree. It's also one of the most under-appreciated and (was, anyway) hardest to find. For many decades now, it has been true to its motto: Hasn't Scratched Yet". I'd drive another 10 miles to get it, instead of BKF.

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  Where does one find Bon Ami these days? I haven't found it in ages but haven't looked very hard (just glance occasionally at stores I usually shop at and haven't seen it). Growing up this is what we had in the house all the time.

                  1. re: CrazyOne

                    CrazyOne: "Where does one find Bon Ami these days? I haven't found it in ages ..."

                    We find it at Safeway.

                    We find it at Fred Meyer (now owned by Kroger).

                    We find it at Albertson's.

                    1. re: CrazyOne

                      CrazyOne: I have noticed that Bon Ami is now more widely available, and that they have "modernized" their label. Good thing, superior product.

                2. All-Clad recommends BKF which is what I use and I have no complaints.

                  1. I prefer BKF on the interiors of my All-Clad cookware; Bon Ami just doesn't have the "oomph" to get it clean.

                    1. I just bought some Cusinart stainless steel cookware and it says to use Bon Ami, Cameo or Nevr-Dull. I wouldn't use Bar Keepers Friend because it is much more harsh and uses chemicals. I don't want to use that in something I will be cooking with.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: ridley_freeborn

                        Bon Ami also uses chemicals. Maybe what you meant to say was that it uses milder chemicals than Bar Keepers Friend.

                        BKF is actually rather strong stuff. People recommend it around here as a panacea for all things dirty that ail you. I'd use it with caution only when other methods of cleaning (soaking, elbow grease, plain old soap) have failed to do the trick.

                        1. re: taos

                          What's the better product to remove light surface scratches from the polished stainless steel outside finish of such cookware - BKF or Bon Ami? Someone who didn't know better used an abrasive sponge pad and left a lot of light swirls and scratches. thanks

                          1. re: chinamatt

                            I, too, would be interested in knowing this, except MY "someone who didn't know better" (we had discussed this after he ruined a cheaper pan on first use - but he "forgot") did this to the inside of a Tramontina Gourmet SS pan the first time it was used. He used the abrasive side of an Ocelo sponge (and who knows what else he isn't telling me) after I had showed him on the package where it says to test on an inconspicuous part of the item first. So now the Interior finish is gone, the steel is lighter where he did this and there are also marks where the burnt-on food had been. Is there anything that will restore the finish?

                            1. re: abiebaby47

                              Oh no! Your cookware looks like it's been cooked in? That happens when you cook in it, and don't just hang it up to admire it. Your options are replace it (and the boyfriend/husband, because otherwise, he'll do it again.) or live with it.

                              1. re: abiebaby47

                                abiebaby47: there are any number of metal polishes you could try (assuming you still have the problem 2 mos since your post). If you're really industrious, you could get a small buffing pad that attaches to a hand drill & give that a try.

                                1. re: Eiron

                                  A product called Semi-Chrome Polish, it's a light pink paste, on a buff or even a soft cotten cloth will shine up just about anything. However the problem anyone is going to have with this or any other method, it that it's going to be difficult to match the remainder of the pot, if you polish the entire pot it will likely not match the other pieces from that manufacturer. All the manufacturers buff to some level that they use consistantly and unless you use the exact same method (buffing wheel composition and abrasive) you will not create the same "shine". You are changing the index of refraction on the surface and that what makes the scratched or buffed part look different.

                                  1. re: mikie

                                    mikie: I think you mean Simichrome. It's great stuff, kinda $$. Restorers of Airstream trailers and vintage airplanes use it by the quart.

                                2. re: abiebaby47

                                  No advice on the finish problem but I have one of "those" too. Mine can get amazingly creative when it comes to kitchen distruction.

                          2. As far as I know, Bon Ami contains only feldspar, which is rather soft. No chemicals. I use it regularly and resort to Bar Keepers Friend only when the Bon Ami does not work, which is very rare.

                            1. The price difference between BA and BKF is enough for me to choose Bon Ami normally. But I bo8ught a bottle of liquid of BKF on sale and with a coupon. The smell of it alone relegates it to seldom usage. I don't know what is in it, but boy does it smell nasty!

                              Even when I do use it I don't notice any difference in performance between the two, so I'll stick with BA, thank you.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: al b. darned

                                Be aware that the liquid BKF is like bleach. I splashed it on my apron the first time I used it. The bottle has an annoying squirt top, and the bleaching was total.

                                I also agree that you should use Bon Ami first, BKF if that does not work. And never use BKF on the outside of a pot, or top of a lid. Often, the outside and top of the lid are made of 18/0 Stainless steel, even though the interior is 18/10. 18/0 is harder and will keep a shine better, but it is brittle, and can scratch more easily than 18/10, which is softer..

                                1. re: Apricotjello

                                  The bottle has an annoying squirt top, and...

                                  Indeed it does!

                                  Thanks for the other information. I learned something today.

                              2. You can use Cameo on any stainless or aluminum. I like it very well.


                                1. It bothers me when Bon Ami gets in my eye. Every time I use it, even if I wash my hands a lot afterwards, if I touch my eye after using Bon Ami, it's aggravating. It doesn't burn, but it's annoying.

                                  So, I mostly use BKF. Haven't touched the Bon Ami in ages, TTYTT.

                                  1. I received this informative email from a customer service rep for Bon Ami when I asked about the distinctions between it and baking soda, FYI:

                                    "Baking Soda is not an very strong abrasive, it cleans chemically by ionizing in your tap water and creating a bit of an acid. Our Bon Ami is more abrasive than Baking Soda and also utilizes a detergent with the mechanical cleaning action.

                                    Bon Ami Polishing Cleanser, is a formulation of feldspar, calcite, biodegradable detergent, and soda ash. The surfactant in the detergent is sodium alkyl-benzene which is also found in many other household detergents. It is better to use this product in hard water areas. We do not recommend using Cleanser on windows or mirrors.

                                    Bon Ami products contain no chlorine, perfume, or dye. It is a mildly caustic cleaner that is non-toxic according to Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulations, biodegradable and do not contain phosphates, ammonia, or chlorine bleach. We recommend a thorough and complete rinsing of any surface on which Bon Ami is used to clean; however, there are no ill effects expected if ingested. Calcite and Feldspar are both inert materials derived from natural rock; the use of these minerals rates our Bon Ami products as mild abrasives. Satisfactory results are seen using Bon Ami on many surfaces; however, we do not recommend the either Bon Ami product be used on highly polished, high gloss, decorative, or grained surfaces as it is possible that the product could scratch."

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: LauraK42

                                      Good information. Thanks for sharing.

                                      1. re: LauraK42

                                        I'm trying to figure out how baking soda "cleans chemically by ionizing in your tap water and creating a bit of an acid." Baking soda is alkaline. The only way it's going to "create" an acid is by reacting with something else that is acidic. Thus, if it's doing that by reacting with your tap water, your tape water must already be acidic.

                                        Sounds like the BA rep was throwing a bit of BS.

                                        1. re: labradors

                                          I'd say the customer service person just got acid and alkaline mixed up.

                                      2. As you can see I'm quite happy with my BKF that I've stocked up. Have never tried BA.

                                        1. I agree with the progression from Bon Ami to BKF. However, if you can find it, try ZUD powder for really tough stains. Also has oaxalic acid (like BKF), but IMHO, does an even better job. Just super hard to find in my area.

                                          1. Well I know this is an older post but here is what I just discovered this week. A Must read post about how harmful BKF is.... Please read and take precausions. http://www.finelyground.net/2012/04/b...

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: texasyarnlover

                                              That's just somebody's blog, not an authoritative source. Anyway, it's well-known on this site that BKF contains oxalic acid. I usually wear a glove when using it.

                                              1. re: texasyarnlover

                                                There's nothing harmful about BKF. No precautions needed.

                                                1. re: TraderJoe

                                                  It's not going to kill you, but it will irritate the skin of some people, at least. You only know your own skin and do not seem to have any experience with chronic dermatitis.

                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                    Hi, GH:

                                                    Oxalic acid is used as a pesticide, and is a Toxicity Category I chemical. Here's what EPA has to say about it: http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs/fact...


                                                    1. re: GH1618

                                                      "it will irritate the skin of some people"

                                                      Many common food items also can irritate the skin of some people like lemon. Oxylic acid is a natutral ingredient found in many foods like Beets, Kale, Celery, carrots, eggplant, green peppers, radish, peanuts, cashews, starfruit, blueberries, squash......etc etc etc.
                                                      I do agree that only you know your skin but the vast majority will not need gloves when using BKF.

                                                      1. re: TraderJoe

                                                        <Many common food items also can irritate the skin of some people like lemon>

                                                        Irritation comes from it being acidic. You put acidic solution in your skin, and it will react with your skin. The degree of irritation depends on the amount and concentration of the acid, and the sensitivity of the person. Even for mild acids like citric acid, people get irritation:

                                                        "Hazardous in case of eye contact (irritant), of inhalation (lung irritant). Slightly hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant,sensitizer), of ingestion. ..."

                                                        And citric acid is all over fruits, most noticeably in lemon, lime, orange, and is added in soft drinks like Coke, 7-Up....etc. It really does not mean we need to start screaming when you spill orange juice on your hand.

                                                  2. re: texasyarnlover

                                                    It is just a blog where someone is concern about oxalic acid. He/she is not an authority figure, so it is just one personal opinion.

                                                    The author mentioned about MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet). He/she wrote "The MSDS is rather dire about oxalic acid, citing it not only as toxic when taken internally, but a dangerous skin, eye, and respiratory irritant."

                                                    These are pretty usual for any concentrated acids really.

                                                    Here are two statements of oxalic acid from a MSDS:

                                                    "Very hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation. Hazardous in case of skin contact (permeator), of eye contact (corrosive). Slightly hazardous in case of skin contact (corrosive). "


                                                    Now, here are two statements of acetic acid from a MSDS:

                                                    "Very hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation. Hazardous in case of skin contact (corrosive, permeator), of eye contact (corrosive)."


                                                    Vinegar active ingredient is acetic acid, which many people have considered to be the safest home cleaning solution.