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Barkeeper's Friend Scratched My Aluminum

reptilegrrl Feb 13, 2014 04:26 PM

I'm posting this just because I didn't think this could actually happen or was even a concern, and I think other people should know. I received a new baking sheet yesterday, and I had a hard time getting the adhesive from the label off of the sheet. So, I scrubbed at it with a little BKF, and as a result the area where the BKF was is now scratched up (it had a mirror finish before) and darkened in color.

I've always had BKF recommended for using on non-anodized aluminum, and I use it on SS all the time without problems, but I've never seen this happen before. (The only aluminum piece I've used BKF on before was already damaged because my partner put it in the dishwasher.)

I definitely won't use BKF on aluminum again, and I am going to contact the company too.

  1. a
    Alan408 Feb 13, 2014 04:43 PM

    Your expectations were too high

    BFK is for SS not aluminum, it is an acid that will oxidize aluminum

    Any rubbing will scratch soft aluminum

    2 Replies
    1. re: Alan408
      reptilegrrl Feb 14, 2014 01:26 AM

      The thing is, people are always recommending BKF for aluminum. The BKF website even recommends using it for uncoated aluminum. I don't think in that case my expectations (that it not damage things) were too high. I posted this, though, hoping that other people won't make the same mistake I did.

      From now on I will just use soap and water, maybe cream of tartar if necessary.

      1. re: reptilegrrl
        GH1618 Feb 14, 2014 07:06 AM

        Here's the BKF usage guide on their website:


        I don't see a recommendation for use on aluminum.

    2. g
      GH1618 Feb 13, 2014 04:50 PM

      The can bears a cautionary note about dulling or etching polished surfaces. I don't see how a polished aluminum surface could be maintained with any kind of cleanser. Even Bon Ami cautions to test in an inconspicuous area before using on a polished surface.

      1 Reply
      1. re: GH1618
        reptilegrrl Feb 14, 2014 01:28 AM

        My relatively new shiny aluminum loaf pan remains shiny though I wash it with dishwashing liquid every time I use it (and I've used it about 4 times now). Same with my shiny aluminum coffee pot, which I've used for years and occasionally wash with dishwashing liquid or baking soda.

      2. C. Hamster Feb 13, 2014 05:14 PM

        I agree with others. Don't bother contacting them.

        1. j
          janniecooks Feb 14, 2014 04:54 AM

          Bon Ami is a better choice for aluminum.

          1. kaleokahu Feb 14, 2014 09:19 AM

            Hi, reptilegrrl:

            Sorry you learned this the hard way.

            BKF is a good product, but it is not advised for high-polish surfaces, especially softer materials like aluminum and copper. Bon Ami is a much better choice.

            One of the unfortunate things about BKF is that it has an abrasive grit size larger than BA, Comet, Ajax, etc. If the user is scrupulous about just applying a slurry of BKF and not scrubbing much, you can be OK. However, human nature being what it is, when a stain or gunk proves stubborn, the user is tempted to scour with BKF--and most users succumb. Fine scratches can result, which are problems only until the entire piece gets the same "treatment".


            1. DuffyH Feb 14, 2014 09:58 PM

              I know it's too late for your new pan, and I'm sorry it got scratched, but there's an easy way to remove most any label; oil.

              I use whatever's closest to hand, olive, peanut, canola... just pour a goodly amount on the label, rub it in, then walk away. Within a few minutes you'll find the edges will lift away easily. If you let the stuff sit for a few hours, most labels will come right off, glue and all. Pull gently for best results.

              For more persistent labels, I lift up what I can, then rub the oil right up under the places I've just lifted and let it sit a while longer.

              I've yet to run across a label that won't come off cleanly using cooking oil.

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