You may have the $7 scouring powder in your cleaning arsenal in to get your stainless steel appliances looking shiny and new. But you’ll be happy to discover that Bar Keepers Friend is actually a multi-purpose powder that can be useful for more that just cleaning your appliances. In fact, cleaning experts agree that Bar Keepers Friends can be your friend as well as it revives old sneakers, removes stuck-on food from pots and pans, gets crayon marks off your walls and more.
What is Bar Keepers Friend?
First introduced in 1882, Bar Keepers Friend (Buy from Amazon, $6.89) was initially intended as a scouring powder for stainless steel, thanks to its main ingredient oxalic acid. According to the brand’s website the acid is “found naturally in rhubarb and other vegetables like spinach and attacks stubborn rust, tarnish and lime stains at the molecular level, breaking the bonds that hold them together.”
That said, Bar Keepers Friend is one of the most effective and versatile cleaning products out there, says Nathaly Vieira, owner of InspireClean in Canada. Thanks to the oxalic acid as well as other cleaning surfactants in the mix, “it does an excellent job of removing tough stains and build-up quickly with minimal effort. I recommend it for a variety of different cleaning tasks.”
How to use Bar Keepers Friend to clean stainless steel
Of course, the cleaning powder works magic for its originally intended use: to get your stainless steel appliances spotless. The easy to do: “Apply a small amount to a damp sponge or cloth, then gently scrub the surfaces to remove stains, grime and stubborn residues,” shares Muffetta Kreuger, founder of Muffetta’s Domestic Assistants. Since the cleaner is non abrasive it won’t damage the steel surface, but will still break down finger prints and stains so your appliances become shiny and streak-free.
Don’t have time to scrub? According to Steve Evans, owner of Memphis Maids, the cleaner does such a good job on its own, all you need to do it let it sit for 10 – 15 minutes and then rub softly to remove.
How to use Bar Keepers Friend to remove limescale
Hard water can result in limescale buildup on and near your bathroom faucet and Bar Keepers friend comes in more than handy to remove it. Evans recommends mixing Bar Keepers Friend with water until you form a paste, then apply to the limescale. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then scrub in a circular motion and rinse with cold water. “Remember to dry with a cloth to prevent more water spots,” he adds. The oxalic acid eliminates the calcium deposits found in hard water. You can also pair it with a dry magic eraser to remove hard water stain from glass!
Read on for other genius uses for Bar Keepers Friend.
Bar Keepers friend can revive an old pair of sneakers
The simple way to make a pair of dulled white sneakers look like new again: Mix Bar Keepers Friend with enough water to form a paste. Use a toothbrush or the rough side of a sponge to scrub the paste onto areas that appear discolored. Finish by wiping clean with a wet cloth. The powder will lift the residue from the shoes so they look bright again.
It can defog your headlights
Lingering dirt, bug splatters and bird poop can leave your car with hazy headlights, which makes it difficult to see on the road in the dark. The fix? Wet the headlight and wipe away any surface level dirt. Then while the lens is still damp, sprinkle on Bar Keepers Friend. Gently rub onto the headlight and rinse away with water after a minute. BKF will dissolve and cut through the grime without scratching the plastic.
It can restore tarnished jewelry
Whether you snag a jewelry piece from a thrift store that’s looking a bit worse or find one in your jewelry box that is tarnished, Bar Keepers Friend can help, says Vieira. Wet the piece with a soft cloth, then apply the powder to a sponge and wipe on the tarnished areas. Let sit for a minute before rinsing with water, then buff dry with a soft cloth. The Bar Keepers Friend will break down the tarnish so your jewelry looks like new.
Bar Keepers Friend makes glass cooktops spotless
Grease splatters and food particles leave your glass cooktop looking dingy? “Just mix warm water with the powder until you form a paste,” shares Evans. “Use a washrag or a non-scrub sponge to scrub it around. Cover the paste with a damp washcloth for 15 minutes and then wipe with plenty of water and a clean microfiber cloth.” Surfactants in the cleaner break down grease to reveal a clean surface.
It can erase utensil marks on plates
While washing dishes, you notice that many of your plates have scuffs and marks from being regularly scraped by utensils during meals. To the rescue: Sprinkle the powder onto the affected plates, then use a sponge dampened with water to scrub gently for one minute. The paste that forms will scrub away discoloration and fill in the scratches. Problem solved!
It can whiten dirty grout
“Just mix with water until you form a paste and spread over the surface,” says Evans. “Let sit for 10 minutes and scrub with an old toothbrush or, even better, a brush drill attachment. Rinse and wipe with a microfiber cloth or paper towel.” The paste will eliminate built-up dirt and leave the grout bright and white. (Just be sure not to use it on colored grout.)
It can lift stuck-on food
Oops! If you accidentally overcook a side dish or casserole and ended up with a hard-to-clean mess. Just wet the area that needs to be cleaned, and sprinkle on some powder. Rub it with a soft, wet cloth before rinsing with clean water. Wipe dry to finish. The grease-cutting detergents in Bar Keepers Friend will soften burnt bits so they can easily be rinsed away.
It can remove crayon markings from walls
The little one in your life took her artistic endeavors onto more than just paper. Luckily, Bar Keepers Friend can help eliminate the marks from your wall in a flash. Apply the powder to a damp sponge then gently scrub at the marks. Finish by wiping the area with a water cloth to remove any remaining cleaner. The formula will lift the crayon residue so your walls look pristine once again.
It can remove rust from tools
The metal spatula and tongs you use during grilling season are starting to rust. “Bar Keepers Friend is excellent for removing rust stains from various surfaces,” says Kreuger. “Apply it to the affected area and scrub with a soft cloth until the rust is gone.” The oxalic acid will bond with the oxidized iron in the rust to loosen the buildup. (Note: This works great for rust on any surface; not just grilling tools!)
To see some of these in action, and to learn even more ways Bar Keepers Friend can help you, watch this video!
First For Women aims to feature only the best products and services. We update when possible, but deals expire and prices can change. If you buy something via one of our links, we may earn a commission. Questions? Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org