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Why BKF and not Bon Ami?

tim irvine Dec 15, 2013 04:11 PM

I use Bon Ami, probably because it is cheap, for pretty much all of the things for which others recommend BKF. I am sure someone here has done a side by side. Should I shell out the extra eighty-six cents for BKF?

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    poser Dec 15, 2013 04:47 PM

    I'm sure you will get opinions in favor of both. And neither of them will be wrong.

    1. Chemicalkinetics Dec 15, 2013 05:12 PM

      Whatever works for you is fine. Bar Keepers Friend is a bit more effective in cleaning certain thing. For example, if you overheat a stainless steel pan and it acquires a whitish mineral coating than Bar Keepers Friend is pretty effective.

      1. nokitchen Dec 15, 2013 05:28 PM

        They're different products with similar uses. Bon Ami is primarily a physical abrasive. Feldspar, its main ingredient, is really neat. Basically, it's more abrasive than most of the things you want to remove from a pan but less abrasive than the pan itself. Bar Keeper's Friend uses oxalic acid and works chemically, binding to oxides in particular.

        I use Bon Ami more often but consider both indispensable under my sink. For some things, particularly incipient rust and burn streaks on the bottom of pots, BKF is the clear favorite.

        1. MikeB3542 Dec 15, 2013 05:58 PM

          MOst of what is in any cleanser (Ajax, Comet, Bon Ami, and yes, Bar Keep's Friend)...is an abrasive mineral powder, and the abrasive is what does the cleaning.Most of what differentiates the various cleansers is the hardness of the mineral used and the fineness with which the powder is ground. In addition, they will put in detergents, dyes, colors and other cleaning agents. I use Ajax for most of my cleanser needs, which has bleach. BKF is unique in that it uses oxalic acid, which makes good, I suppose, for many things, and REALLY BAD for other things (like marble).

          40 Replies
          1. re: MikeB3542
            nokitchen Dec 16, 2013 09:58 PM

            The precise makeup of the powder of Bar Keeper's Friend is something they've successfully not shared, but in its history it's described as "talcum-smooth." Which is to say, not abrasive enough to do the cleaning. What does the cleaning is oxcylic acid. That's why it doesn't work if the surface isn't wet, and why for tougher stains they don't recommend rubbing harder but rather creating a paste from the product and water and applying the paste for some time (but less than a minute!).

            1. re: nokitchen
              mikie Dec 17, 2013 07:56 AM

              BKF paste is very effective. I used to have plates with gray marks on them, nickel from the flatware. Read where a paste of BKF and a lot of elbow grease, and I mean a lot, will remove the gray marks, and it works. Just doesn't keep them from coming back. But a garage sale does!

              I use BKF paste and a toothbrush to clean around the rivets on the pans. Works very well. The oxcylic acid will also take rust stains out of clothes.

              1. re: nokitchen
                kaleokahu Dec 17, 2013 09:22 AM

                Hi, nokitchen: "[T]he powder of Bar Keeper's Friend is ... not abrasive enough to do the cleaning."

                That's completely incorrect--the particle size used in BKF is relatively coarse and abrasive. It's coarser than Ajax, Comet, and Bon Ami. Bon Ami's particle size is smallest. Dry and almost-dry BKF will scratch most surfaces. THAT'S why the manufacturer doesn't recommend scrubbing hard with it.

                You are correct, however, about the cleaning power of the acid in BKF. The two *together* make BKF what it is.


                1. re: kaleokahu
                  C. Hamster Dec 17, 2013 10:11 AM

                  Ive used BKF on my ceramic/glass cooktop for years and years and it has not scratched it at all.

                  1. re: C. Hamster
                    kaleokahu Dec 17, 2013 10:27 AM

                    Hi, CM:

                    Ceramic glass is very hard, so you might get by with it. Still, I would use it only in a slurry and employ very little elbow grease.


                    1. re: kaleokahu
                      C. Hamster Dec 17, 2013 01:09 PM

                      Been applying elbow grease for 10 years and not an iota of scratching.

                      I scrub my countertops once in awhile, too if they get a stain.

                      Again, no scratching.

                      I find it much less abrasive than Comet which is what I use to clean my sink.

                      1. re: C. Hamster
                        kaleokahu Dec 17, 2013 01:44 PM

                        Whatever. I got my information on grit size directly from the maker, Servaas Labs, and it's consistent with my experience.

                        1. re: kaleokahu
                          GH1618 Dec 17, 2013 06:50 PM

                          The material matters as well as the grit size.

                          1. re: GH1618
                            kaleokahu Dec 17, 2013 07:13 PM

                            Hi, GH: "The material matters as well as the grit size."

                            Of course, within limits. Is there any reason to believe the grit in BKF is softer than that in BA and others?

                            On the other hand, to analogize to sandpaper, an 80 grit sheet of relatively soft silicon carbide paper is going to scratch deeper than a sheet of harder 120 grit aluminum oxide paper (unless the material being abraded is harder than silicon carbide). But you are correct that there is more than one factor at work.


                            1. re: kaleokahu
                              mikie Dec 18, 2013 09:40 AM

                              Hi Kaleo,

                              There are a number of factors that play into the abrasiveness of a product. These would include: % loading of the abrasive, hardness of the abrasive, shape of the abrasive, size of the abrasive particle, tendency of the abrasive to fracture, and other ingredients and/or lubrication. Some of this information would be propriatary, such as the loading of the abrasive (as well as the abrasive itself in most cases), and the size of the abrasive particles. However one can compare the hardness of the abrasive particles. This is typically measured with the MOHS scale, where talc is 1 and diamond is 10. One can also use the Knoop value (just another scale with more points) where talc is singel diget and diamond is 7000.

                              Some typical MOHS values of interest would be Tin 1.5-1.8, Aluminum 2.0-2.9, Copper 2.5-3.0, Steel 5.0-5.8, and Glass 4.5-6.5. From this one can easily see why you don't want to use abrasives on tin lined copper pans. Especially when you look at the hardness of some abrasive materials. Even something as soft as Calcite (calcium carbonate) is 3 on the MOHS scale, most abrasives (as used including your "relatively soft silicon carbide" 2480 on the Knoop scale) are between 9 and 10 on the MOHS scale (including your "harder 120 grit aluminum oxide paper" 2100 on the Knoop scale), not something you are likely to find in any abrasive cleaner as it's going to scratch everything. From what I can gather common abrasives in cleansers would include calcite 3, feldspar 6 and quartz 7 on the MOHS scale. Based on what I know about Talc, it's not abrasive enough to be an abrasive, it's platy structure actually works as a lubricant as the plates slide across each other.

                              For a reasonable comparison of cleaners you would need as a minimum the type of abrasive, the loading and the particle size.

                              1. re: mikie
                                kaleokahu Dec 18, 2013 10:10 AM

                                Hi, mikie:

                                Wow that's informative, and I can't quibble with almost all you've written. Thanks. If you can flesh out the actual type(s) of abrasive, loading and particle size, all the better.

                                However, I think one *can* reasonably compare these scouring powders without the techical information. For me, at least when it comes to comparing BKF and Bon Ami, the specifics explain *why* my experience is what it is.


                            2. re: GH1618
                              Chemicalkinetics Dec 17, 2013 07:14 PM

                              Of course, it does, and on top of that the shape of the particles as well.

                  2. re: nokitchen
                    Mountquercus Dec 18, 2013 01:26 PM

                    The Materiel Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) gives clues to the composition:
                    From http://www.barkeepersfriend.com/files/file/MSDS_BKF_Powder_new.pdf BKF powder has 5-10% Oxalic acid and it mentions surfactant and abrasive.
                    From http://angelgilding.com/media/product... BA has Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Carbonate, and Feldspar.

                    From the label, BKF liquid has Citric Acid and not Oxalic acid.

                    1. re: Mountquercus
                      kaleokahu Dec 18, 2013 02:38 PM

                      Hi, Mountquercus:

                      I can shed a little more light on Bon Ami's ingredients. In addition to calcium carbonate, sodium carbonate, and feldspar, it contains:

                      --sodium tallowate;
                      --sodium bicarbonate;
                      --coconut oil;
                      --alkyl polyglucosides;
                      --corn oil; and
                      --palm oil.

                      BA garnered an "A" grade from the Environmental Working Group. http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/213-BonAmiPowderCleanser whereas EWG gave BKF an "F" for reasons having to do with non-disclosure of all the ingredients (the product itself got a "D"). http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/50...


                      1. re: kaleokahu
                        Mountquercus Dec 18, 2013 03:07 PM

                        I just don't understand why manufacturers are so secretive about their ingredients. Any competitor can have it analyzed, so it is only the consumers that are left out.

                        "D" seems a little harsh given that the only toxic ingredient (according to MSDS) is Oxalic Acid. While Oxalic Acid has some toxicity if you consume it in concentration or quantity, it exists naturally in spinach, rhubarb, and many other foods, and you aren't eating BKF.

                        1. re: Mountquercus
                          mikie Dec 18, 2013 03:23 PM

                          It's not as easy to reverse engineer a product as you might think, at least not the products I work with, plastics. You might be able to identify most of the ingredients and even get close on the particle size, but percentages are going to be more difficult especially with ingredients that are similar in either size or composition, or remain when you ash the product to rid yourself of all the organic material. Acid digestion would eliminate some products such as calcite, but might easily eliminate others as well. In this kind of business your formulation is really what you are selling and if this is a dry mixture, then there is low investment to make your own.

                          1. re: mikie
                            Chemicalkinetics Dec 18, 2013 05:34 PM

                            <It's not as easy to reverse engineer a product as you might think>

                            This is true, which is why no one has able to confidently reverse engineer Coca Cola. That being said, it is more just the fact of being or not being reverse engineering. It is a matter of developing a culture of practice.

                          2. re: Mountquercus
                            kaleokahu Dec 18, 2013 04:20 PM

                            Hi, Mountquercus: ""D" seems a little harsh given that the only toxic ingredient (according to MSDS) is Oxalic Acid."

                            I agree. OTOH, what you don't know (is in it) could harm you or the environment. I have gotten temporary but painful soreness from BKF around my fingernails on occasion when I've used it without gloves. My bad.


                          3. re: kaleokahu
                            GH1618 Dec 18, 2013 06:28 PM

                            I don't let EWG tell me what I should or shouldn't use in my kitchen. This is a private self-appointed watchdog group that puts out a lot of cockamamie stuff.

                            1. re: GH1618
                              kaleokahu Dec 18, 2013 07:07 PM

                              All...righty, then...

                              I just happened to find their site, and they claim to have the full ingredient list for BA...

                              ...so use whatever you want.

                              1. re: kaleokahu
                                danlind3 Dec 18, 2013 07:26 PM

                                How is 'use whatever' you want a satisfactory reply? This is among the most lengthy, but inconclusive (about something that should be factual) threads.

                                Which cleaners are best for what applications? When does more/less abrasion (and by which cleaner - to some inc me, still unclear) help or hurt? I can't synthesize this thread as there are to many elements going on, and many are contradictory. I can't figure out BA vs BKF, and for which apps. Or why.

                                1. re: danlind3
                                  GH1618 Dec 18, 2013 07:36 PM

                                  You can't go wrong starting with Bon Ami for pretty much any pot or pan, but don't use it on glass. Cleaning tempered glass with any abrasive could lead to fracture. You are mainly using an abrasive and elbow grease, so some things clean up more easily with chemical action. This is where BKF shines.

                                  1. re: danlind3
                                    mikie Dec 18, 2013 08:16 PM

                                    Ah, if it were only that easy. It's kind of like asking which is better Coke or Pepsi, we don't have the formula for either, so other than a subjective opinion there isn't much here in the way of facts. You could use product A or product B and still get your pots and pans clean. Which cleaner to use for which application is certianly unclear. You can't make an intellegent informed decision without information, and that information just isn't available.

                                    Personally I'm a BKF person, my pots and pans are brushed stainless, so there is no concern about abrasiveness, within reason naturally. I might use BA, but I haven't seen it in the store for years.

                                    1. re: mikie
                                      GH1618 Dec 18, 2013 09:15 PM

                                      It isn't rocket science. It's not as if your satellite launch will fail if you choose the wrong one. So you use the inexpensive one which everyone agrees is easy on the pans and on the hands. When you run into something for which it falls short, you try something else. However it turns out, it's only a pot. Simple.

                                      Since you are using BKF and it's working for you, you stick with it. Also simple.

                                      1. re: mikie
                                        Chemicalkinetics Dec 18, 2013 09:27 PM

                                        The selection is pretty simple from my angle. If you want pure abrasive action, then you go for Bon Ami. If you want an acid to dissolve your stains, and then clean them off with mild abrasive, then you use Bar Keeper Friend. If you surface cannot handle acids, like marble or limestone, then don't use Bar Keeper Friend.

                                        It is certainly an easier choice than Colgate vs Crest.

                                        1. re: mikie
                                          Miss Mick Dec 27, 2013 11:11 AM

                                          Certain stores do carry Bon Ami, and it's worth seeking them out—I get mine at Smart and Final or Target, and I love how it polishes the bright portions of my All Clad stainless without any scratching.

                                        2. re: danlind3
                                          kaleokahu Dec 18, 2013 09:29 PM

                                          Hi, Dan:

                                          It was a satisfactory reply because our friend GH1618 won't let the Environmental Work Group tell him/her what to use.

                                          Personally, for anything that could possibly scratch, I prefer BA. But I use BKF quite a bit on SS, and I've even used it on copper if a newly-acquired piece is heavily tarnished. I would not use BKF on aluminum, especially not anodized aluminum. Likewise Comet and Ajax, which contain chlorine.

                                          One thing you should take from this thread is that many BKF devotees do not cotton to criticism of this product. It *is* a good product. It's just not my cup of tea for most applications.


                                          1. re: danlind3
                                            nokitchen Dec 19, 2013 10:56 PM

                                            Well, for stainless here's where I've settled. Just for stainless.

                                            First, of course, is dish soap and whatever rubbing instrument is recommended by the manufacturer -- scouring pad, yellow sponge with scrubby, the softened hair of vestal virgins, whatever.

                                            Now. If whatever hasn't come off looks like it needs to be scrubbed off, use Bon Ami. Here we're talking about dried-on sauces on the sides of the pot, bits of fond on the bottom, cheese, whatever.

                                            On the other hand, if it looks like it needs to be chemically removed, use the BKF. Here we're talking about rust, lime, brown scorch marks on the bottom of the outside of the pan, black scorch marks on the inside of the pan, stuff like that.

                                            Think of Bon Ami as a sandpaper, but one so fine it won't scratch the wood, just whatever you've spilled on it. Continuing the analogy, Bar Keeper's Friend is a chemical stain remover which also won't damage the wood or some varnishes, but read carefully because it will damage others.

                                            And not wishing to cause a whole nother sidetrack, but sometimes OxyClean is as good or better for some BKF applications and sometimes as good or better for some BA applications.

                                2. re: MikeB3542
                                  MrsPatmore Dec 16, 2013 11:37 PM

                                  Boy, do I feel stupid. Been using BKF on all my marble counters and wondering why they all look dull and scratched. Any advice to try to polish them up? Should I try Bon Ami? Until now, BKF has been my go-to cleanser.

                                  1. re: MrsPatmore
                                    kaleokahu Dec 17, 2013 09:07 AM

                                    Hi, MP:

                                    BKF is the coarsest of the 4 major scouring powders, so yes, I recommend you try Bon Ami.


                                    1. re: MrsPatmore
                                      Chemicalkinetics Dec 17, 2013 09:20 AM

                                      BKF is not recommended for marble. The main reason is that oxalic acid in BKF reacts with marble. Marble reacts with any acids really, and not just Bar Keeper Friend. This type of damage is known as acid etch, not due to being coarse.

                                      You can try some of the marble polishers out there, before trying professional restoration.

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                        MrsPatmore Dec 17, 2013 09:42 AM

                                        I found a few YouTube videos regarding marble restoration. Looks like job that I should leave to professionals. this also explains all the tiny scratch marks on my chrome faucets + the worn surfaces on my fireclay kitchen sinks. And here I thought BKF was less abrasive than Ajax, Comet, etc.

                                        1. re: MrsPatmore
                                          Chemicalkinetics Dec 17, 2013 09:53 AM

                                          <Looks like job that I should leave to professionals. >

                                          It depends how bad the scratches are. If it is not too bad, I would just ignore the tiny scratches.

                                          < And here I thought BKF was less abrasive than Ajax, Comet, etc.>

                                          They all just different. The damage is largely coming from the acidic nature of the Bar Keeper Friend, not its abrasive.

                                          1. re: MrsPatmore
                                            kaleokahu Dec 17, 2013 09:55 AM

                                            Hi, MP:

                                            Before you spend $$$, try polishing with 3T baking soda mixed well in 1Q water. Apply it, let it dry for 5 hours, then buff off. Seal afterward if you want.


                                            1. re: kaleokahu
                                              MrsPatmore Dec 17, 2013 10:37 AM

                                              that certainly sounds like a cheap option. I will give it a try tonight! Thank you for the suggestion.

                                        2. re: MrsPatmore
                                          chefwong Dec 17, 2013 09:40 AM

                                          Patmore -

                                          The marble is etched and scratched by BKF. Hell, lemon will do damage.

                                          I must ask, but why are you using BKF on marble at all ?

                                          There are dedicated stone cleaners from Stonetech, etc - and they do a amazing job as a daily cleaner !

                                          1. re: chefwong
                                            MrsPatmore Dec 17, 2013 09:53 AM

                                            Evidently, I'm an idiot! I will see what I can find for a better product to clean my counter surfaces and other items in my home. It's just that I grew up using bar keepers friend, & I tend to use it everywhere. Including, apparently, places where I should not be using it.

                                            1. re: MrsPatmore
                                              Chemicalkinetics Dec 17, 2013 09:54 AM

                                              <I tend to use it everywhere.>

                                              I do that often as well. It is a common mistaken. No worry. There are a lot of online marble restoration methods. Look for them.


                                              "Polish your marble surface. Use a mixture of baking soda and water as a polish.

                                              Combine 3 tbs. (45 g) of baking soda to 1 qt (0.9 L) of water and mix well.
                                              Using a clean cloth, apply the mixture to your surface in a thin layer. Allow to dry for about 5 hours.
                                              Use a clean cloth and warm water to rinse the marble surface.

                                              Just play around.

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                chefwong Dec 17, 2013 12:25 PM

                                                Patmore -

                                                Depends on what surfaces you define at home (I'm a OCD cleaning junkie), but I use those for all types of *stone* countertops


                                                The best way I can describe it, is that it's a light cleaner that add a smigen of gloss/sheen on the final wipe.

                                                I use it on the backsplashes, the kitchen countertops, the ceasarstone in the laundry room, etc

                                                1. re: chefwong
                                                  MrsPatmore Dec 17, 2013 02:09 PM

                                                  Hi chefwong

                                                  《I'm a OCD cleaning junkie》

                                                  I'm guilty of this, as well. In my overzealous cleaning madness, I've ruined many things. My spouse does his own laundry - won't let me near his stuff

                                                  Which actually works out okay for me (wink-wink, nudge-nudge)

                                                  Thank you for the link. I will purchase this cleaner and give it a go. Thanks again

                                      2. tim irvine Dec 15, 2013 07:36 PM

                                        Thanks, all. I shall stay with Bon Ami and elbow grease and hope to avoid incipient rust or burn streaks. Also good to know about marble. I currently have sort of Corian or clone counters, but in my dream kitchen there are marble counters with the patina of age.

                                        1. g
                                          GH1618 Dec 15, 2013 07:46 PM

                                          I use them both. On my MC2 I use them both on one pan — BKF on the stainless surface and BA on the aluminum.

                                          1. s
                                            sueatmo Dec 15, 2013 09:28 PM

                                            I am a convert to Bon Ami. So far it is cleaning my large white porcelain sink. I am not sure it would be that wonderful on stainless, but perhaps it would.

                                            1. c
                                              chefwong Dec 15, 2013 10:42 PM

                                              Interesting read. I always though Bon Ami was less Harsh than BKF, with BOTH being abrasives ....BKF being more abrasive than Bon Ami. Learn something new everyday

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: chefwong
                                                GH1618 Dec 16, 2013 05:27 AM

                                                Define "harsh." BKF is acidic, which can irritate your skin. As for abrasiveness, I don't think there is a difference worth worrying about.

                                              2. c
                                                chefwong Dec 16, 2013 05:31 AM

                                                If you're into paint polishing, there are differences on just 10% of a more coarser versus finer abrasive.

                                                In my wording harsh, I meant it just as that. BKF I thought was a more coarser abrasive , with BA being a smigen more ~finer~

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: chefwong
                                                  GH1618 Dec 16, 2013 06:41 AM

                                                  That is not what "harsh" means to me.

                                                  I don't cook on painted surfaces. BKF does a nice job on my SS-lined pans, so I use it for those.

                                                2. MGZ Dec 16, 2013 07:04 AM

                                                  I much prefer Bon Ami, simply because I find the smell of BKF to be rather foul. Admittedly, my nose is sensitive, but there is a weird "bad fish" reek that I pick up from the latter. The former is rather olfactory neutral. They work the same on all of my cookware.

                                                  14 Replies
                                                  1. re: MGZ
                                                    knifesavers Dec 16, 2013 08:30 PM

                                                    You have not experienced the full eau de funk of BKF until you clean a carbon steel blade.

                                                    You need to neutralize the acid then clean farther otherwise they yellow.

                                                    BKF works great but needs to much follow up on carbon steels.

                                                    1. re: knifesavers
                                                      danlind3 Dec 16, 2013 09:10 PM

                                                      Could you please explain how to neutralize acids and what you mean by follow up? Why would you use harsher (more than detergent) cleaners in the first place? To take off the patina?

                                                      1. re: knifesavers
                                                        Chemicalkinetics Dec 16, 2013 09:15 PM

                                                        I actually use BKF to remove oxidation (rust or patina) from my carbon steel knives. It seems to me that all I had to do is to rinse the knives with running water and wipe it dry.

                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                          knifesavers Dec 16, 2013 11:08 PM

                                                          Here is stripped down Briddell cleaver. It was rusted and painted red. This is post paint strip and rust strip. Up near the hole you see a yellowish spot.

                                                          That is what I am talking about.

                                                          1. re: knifesavers
                                                            Chemicalkinetics Dec 17, 2013 06:32 AM

                                                            Thanks. Yes, I see the yellow spots in your photos. Since you have a lot of hands-on experience with various knives, do you see this happened to many carbon steel knives or just a few? I suppose I am lucky or that my carbon steel knives are a bit unusual. I have not had the chance of seeing this. Another possibility is that I never really deeply scrub with Bar Keeper Friend on my knives. When I do use Bar Keeper Friend (which is not often), I put some Bar Keeper Friend on a knife, then use a soft brush with some water to clean my knife. Usually, the "cleaning" last for like 5-10 seconds. Then, I rinse with water, and sometime do a second cleaning with dish washer. Dry with a towel.

                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                              knifesavers Dec 17, 2013 08:57 AM

                                                              That staining is why I have a love/hate thing with BKF.

                                                              Mostly I do this to old American and European carbons that have "steel cancer" rust levels.

                                                              Not gonna give away the whole process of going from a maroon colored rusted blade to this stage but I avoid using BKF if I can.

                                                              Bon Ami use is Bon Ami, soap/water, rinse and dry.
                                                              Tossing BKF in triples the amount of work to avoid this yellowing.


                                                              1. re: knifesavers
                                                                Chemicalkinetics Dec 17, 2013 09:03 AM

                                                                <Mostly I do this to old American and European carbons that have "steel cancer" rust levels. >

                                                                :) First time I have heard of this creative term: "Steel Cancer"

                                                                Anyway, you probably was using BKF in a level which I have not had. I have only used it to brush my knives for 5-10 seconds. This may be the difference. By the way, when I said that "sometime do a second cleaning with dish washer.", I really meant to say "dish washer detergent." I don't put my carbon steel knives in a dish washer.

                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                  knifesavers Dec 17, 2013 09:41 AM

                                                                  Forgot to add that the liquid BKF was far worse at this than the powder.


                                                                  1. re: knifesavers
                                                                    Chemicalkinetics Dec 17, 2013 10:00 AM

                                                                    Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I have seen the liquid BKF but have not tried them yet.

                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                      C. Hamster Dec 17, 2013 10:13 AM

                                                                      Don't bother.

                                                                      Plus it stains clothes and towels.

                                                                      1. re: C. Hamster
                                                                        Chemicalkinetics Dec 17, 2013 10:18 AM

                                                                        <Don't bother.

                                                                        Plus it stains clothes and towels.>

                                                                        (The liquid BKF) stains clothes and towel more so than the regular BKF?

                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                          C. Hamster Dec 17, 2013 10:26 AM


                                                                          I ruined a shirt and towel using the liquid. It bleaches out whatever it touches.

                                                                          Plus it doesn't work very well.

                                                                          I threw mine away.

                                                                          1. re: C. Hamster
                                                                            Chemicalkinetics Dec 17, 2013 11:02 AM

                                                                            Thanks for the heads-up. Appreciated.

                                                        2. re: knifesavers
                                                          GH1618 Dec 16, 2013 09:44 PM

                                                          OK, I couldn't resist. I just scrubbed my old #1 Chinese knife with BKF, rinsed well with hot water, and dried with a paper towel. It looks beautiful (for an old, rather plain carbon steel knife). How long do I need to wait for it to turn yellow?

                                                      2. a
                                                        ATL_Brad Dec 16, 2013 10:47 PM

                                                        I've been using bleached koala fur since finding it on a trip to Australia many years ago.I find it to be just the right amount of abrasive and well worth the extra cost.

                                                        1. weezieduzzit Dec 17, 2013 10:50 AM

                                                          I use BKF because it works, every time. I've found Bon Ami to require more effort and multiple applications.

                                                          I'm surprised by the comment about BKF ruining clothing and towels. I'm a vintage clothing dealer and use it to remove decades old set in spots. I've used it to remove rust spots on things as delicate as 1930s silk dresses and have never had it ruin anything.

                                                          14 Replies
                                                          1. re: weezieduzzit
                                                            kaleokahu Dec 17, 2013 11:22 AM

                                                            Hi, weezieduzzit: "I use BKF because it works, every time. I've found Bon Ami to require more effort and multiple applications."

                                                            This is true, in a "bigger hammer" sort of way. The 1-2 acid+abrasive punch of BKF is very effective. But it will spoil a bright polish on many metal surfaces.

                                                            BA is definitely gentler, both because of its finer particle size and the absence of acid. For years, every can of BA had a picture of a newly-hatched chick with the motto: "Hasn't Scratched Yet". Because there is no acid (or other chemical agent), you must scrub with BA.

                                                            You use the liquid BKF on your shop's vintage clothes?


                                                            1. re: kaleokahu
                                                              weezieduzzit Dec 17, 2013 01:06 PM

                                                              I've used both the liquid and the powder, kaleo. The liquid is really handy for where the hook and eye above the zipper has left a rust spot on the reverse side of the garment where the 2 sides touch from being folded up for decades or for the rust spots under self fabric covered buttons (like bridal buttons,) since the bases are usually crappy pot metal. Its a common issue so its a handy cleaner to keep in the arsenal. Just a little dot of the liquid on a qtip usually does the job. It doesn't absorb into the fabric like Whink does- it stays put where its needed but I often use the powder to make a paste for larger spots- and for when the man leaves an SOS pad on the white counter top tile.....

                                                              I haven't had BKF ruin any metal finishes but I see how it could if you left it on there too long. I guess I don't let it sit, I clean it with it and then wash and dry it. I've been using BKF for years on these pots and pans. My grandmother always used it and the idea just passed down to us that it was great for keeping pots and pans in great condition.

                                                              1. re: weezieduzzit
                                                                kaleokahu Dec 17, 2013 01:57 PM

                                                                Hi, weezieduzzit:

                                                                I've never used the liquid, but I'll remember your tip for clothing, thanks.

                                                                Perhaps "ruin" was a poor word choice. What I mean is that any rubbing with any force with BKF will quickly dull a mirror finish on copper and aluminum, and will over time with mirror SS. It works great on brushed finishes or those you don't care about giving a mirror polish to. Quick and easy.


                                                                1. re: kaleokahu
                                                                  weezieduzzit Dec 17, 2013 02:20 PM


                                                                  You can always do a test spot in an inconspicuous place, C. Hamster didn't have nearly the luck with it that I do. It could be the difference between older and newer fabric dyes.

                                                              2. re: kaleokahu
                                                                MrsPatmore Dec 17, 2013 02:13 PM


                                                                You've convinced me. I will get Bon Ami and try it, although I feel a little like I'm cheating on my beloved BKF. I'm not afraid of elbow grease. Thanks for this info, MrsP

                                                              3. re: weezieduzzit
                                                                C. Hamster Dec 17, 2013 01:16 PM

                                                                It left whitish pink spots all over my shirt where I spilled it, even though I rinsed it right away.

                                                                It's also spotted out sleeves of my sweatshirts.

                                                                1. re: C. Hamster
                                                                  Chemicalkinetics Dec 17, 2013 01:21 PM

                                                                  Interesting stain. I wonder if the Bar Keeper Friend Liquid formula contains something more than the its powder cousin has.

                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                    knifesavers Dec 17, 2013 02:19 PM

                                                                    My take is that the acid is strongly concentrated in the liquid portion and if you don't shake enough to mix the liquid and powder you get an acid bath.

                                                                    I used to shake the crap out of it but it wasn't enough.

                                                                    "Oxalic acid is an organic compound with the formula H2C2O4. It is a colorless crystalline solid that dissolves in water to give colorless solutions."

                                                                    FWIW I tanked chemistry in high school so I'm no where near an expert on that front,


                                                                  2. re: C. Hamster
                                                                    Mountquercus Dec 17, 2013 02:41 PM

                                                                    I believe that oxalic acid can bleach some dyes used in clothing. It is a reducing agent, which is why it works well with rust stains, but can reduce some dyes to a soluble form.

                                                                    What color was the shirt before the spots?

                                                                    1. re: Mountquercus
                                                                      C. Hamster Dec 17, 2013 04:41 PM

                                                                      It was light blue.

                                                                      I did shake it the hell out of it (or so I thought ) and tried to squirt it and had to squirt it really hard and it short of blew out a large amount which somehow ended up on me. I took the shirt off and soaked it but now it has white/pink spots.

                                                                      My purple NYU sweatshirt is similarly defaced with purple smudges from the stuff.

                                                                      That's why I trashed it.

                                                                      1. re: C. Hamster
                                                                        kaleokahu Dec 17, 2013 07:17 PM

                                                                        Hi, C. Hamster:

                                                                        There is but one reasonable solution: create the fashion trend of tie-dyed NYU sweatshirts.


                                                                        1. re: kaleokahu
                                                                          C. Hamster Dec 18, 2013 05:14 AM

                                                                          Haha! I still wear the sweatshirt because the pink sleeve does look tie dyed. And sorta cool

                                                                          The shirt -- I don't know why I still have it.

                                                                  3. re: weezieduzzit
                                                                    mikie Dec 17, 2013 01:17 PM

                                                                    Is it fair to assume that the clothing you have used this on is white? It will take the rust stains out of white, it will take the rust stains out of other colors too, but likely with whatever color was there in the first place. The concentration is also an issue, you probably don't want the concentratiion straight from the container when used on clothing.

                                                                    All assumptions on my part, however I have used oxalic acid on white clothing to remove rust stains that were there from a chip in the washing machine tub enamel.

                                                                    1. re: weezieduzzit
                                                                      cathodetube Dec 27, 2013 04:42 AM

                                                                      Would be interested to know how you use it to remove the spots on the dresses. I have an old vintage silk lampshade with some spots I want to remove. Many thanks.

                                                                    2. Mr Taster Dec 17, 2013 02:23 PM

                                                                      Any tips for cleaning the fiddly rivets under the handle of a 12" All Clad skillet? It's such an awkward angle to get it, that over the 4 years I've owned it I've never managed to get it clean.

                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                        mikie Dec 17, 2013 03:10 PM

                                                                        I just cleaned around the rivets of two of my Viking pans last night. I made a paste with BKF and water and used a used toothbrush to apply the paste around the rivets, let it set for awhile and then brushed in a circular motion. I used a toothbrush with the TPO inserts, not just bristles, don't know if that makes any difference or not. You may have to do this more than once to get all the amber colored gunk off, but it does work.

                                                                        1. re: mikie
                                                                          MrsPatmore Dec 17, 2013 03:33 PM

                                                                          That is the same technique that I use for cleaning the AC rivets and that little band of copper around the bottom of the AC copper core pans. BKF + toothbrush.

                                                                          1. re: mikie
                                                                            Mr Taster Dec 17, 2013 03:48 PM

                                                                            What is a TPO insert?

                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                              mikie Dec 17, 2013 04:26 PM

                                                                              Thermoplastic Poly Olefin, it's the little rubber-like inserts that help spread the paste around. It's in several brands such as Colgate toothbrushes. I have no idea if it helps, that's the only one I've tried, but it's supposed to help with toothpaste, so why not BKF paste?

                                                                          2. re: Mr Taster
                                                                            C. Hamster Dec 17, 2013 04:44 PM

                                                                            I know what you mean but I'm resigned to it.

                                                                            I did anally shine up a pan I took out of the dishwasher with powdered BKF about 15 min ago. Looks great. Except for the rivets .. X

                                                                          3. paulj Dec 18, 2013 09:50 AM

                                                                            BA is mild abrasive. BKF is a mild acid (oxalic acid, the stuff that makes rhubarb sour).

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: paulj
                                                                              tim irvine Dec 18, 2013 05:37 PM

                                                                              Well I love rhubarb, but I like it in pie or cake form. Heh, heh.

                                                                            2. tim irvine Dec 23, 2013 04:26 PM

                                                                              Ironically, the spouse snagged a can of BKF the other day. I tried it on my lone piece of AC in which some faro had boiled dry, barely, leaving a white grain pattern. It cleaned it out easily, smelled weird, and produced a blue grey stain (easily rinsed out) on the rag. I was on a roll. It did well with onion stains in the Corian clone sink. I think I am glad I now have both. However, I am fighting any impulse to remove the patina on the old carbon steel knives.

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: tim irvine
                                                                                Chemicalkinetics Dec 23, 2013 04:30 PM

                                                                                <However, I am fighting any impulse to remove the patina on the old carbon steel knives.>

                                                                                How did that even come up? You clean a few stainless steel cookware, and suddenly you want to remove your patina on your knives? :D

                                                                                Seriously, I have only used Bar Keeper Friend to remove patina a few times. I like that bluish patina. So when my knives acquired the brown patina, I removed the brown patina and restarted the processes.


                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                  tim irvine Dec 23, 2013 05:06 PM

                                                                                  I was poorly feigning humor. Several other posters have mentioned using it for that. I like the patina. Moreover, as I mentioned on some other thread I never even wash the handles, figuring if I washed my hands to cook, there should be no issues. All they get is use, twice a year sharpening, a few swipes of the steel before each use, and a rinse and a wipe after use.

                                                                                  1. re: tim irvine
                                                                                    Chemicalkinetics Dec 23, 2013 05:13 PM

                                                                                    <Several other posters have mentioned using it for that.>

                                                                                    I did. I think. So I am responding. :)

                                                                                    Maybe you really should consider restart your patina. :D

                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                      tim irvine Dec 23, 2013 06:04 PM

                                                                                      Alright, next time my son slices a lemon with the Nogent parer and sticks it, unrinsed, back in the block!

                                                                              2. davepotwin Dec 27, 2013 01:40 PM

                                                                                You can buy BKF at Family Dollar for less than $2 and I find it sometimes at Dollar stores at times. It definitely is worth the extra change.. especially if your trying to keep your All-Clad collection all pretty.

                                                                                1. TraderJoe Dec 27, 2013 03:45 PM

                                                                                  This topic gets more play than it's worth. These products are both dirt cheap. Bon Ami is about a buck a can here and a much larger can of BKF is $2. Just buy them and try them.
                                                                                  For me Bon-ami belongs in the waste bin. I see no use for it. Trying to clean copper or SS cookware with it is an effort in futility unless you want to rub-a-dub-dub for an hour with nominal results. If you are worried about scratching BKF now has liquid copper cleaner. It's more $$ and if you scrub hard it will scratch just like the powder although not as rapidly. Unlike another poster I've had zero issues with the liquid staining cloths dish towels etc but I will not buy the liquid again. It's just more expensive.

                                                                                  1. m
                                                                                    mountainjack Dec 27, 2013 07:13 PM

                                                                                    I'm surprised no one has mentioned my favorite use for BKF. I find it 'the best' for cleaning off the porcelain top of my gas stove. When water or other substances boil over and/or cook on, BFK is my 'go to' for getting those tough brown stains of the white porcelain top.

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