Pros: Mild abrasives clean well. Contains no bleach.
Cons: Incompatibilities with other ingredients. Cost.
For years I have used Bon Ami to clean my bathtub and kitchen sink. When I ran out last week, I could not find it anywhere, and both of my grocery stores said they weren't getting in a shipment for a few weeks.
I looked at the other products on my store shelves, and all of the abrasive cleaners such as Ajax and Comet contained bleach. I prefer not to use bleach if another product will do the job, and Bon Ami does. I was about to give up and come home empty handed when I noticed a product called Bar Keepers Friend. It didn't contain bleach, rather it's main ingredient is oxalic acid. I actually remembered my husband having this in the house when we were first married, years ago.
The container is shaped like a can of Ajax, it comes in a 12 ounce cylinder shaped cardboard container, with 7 shaker holes in the top. The label is a shiny gold color, with the name written in white letters on a blue logo.
The top holes are covered with a peel off cover, which does not re-stick when you are ready to put the cleaner away. This is a design flaw that I find with all of these types of products. I wish they would design a top that could be covered or closed to prevent spilling.
The label boasts that Bar Keepers Friend has been around since 1882, and it is marketed as a cleaner and polisher.
* Stainless steel
* Glass cooktops
* Chrome fixtures
* Imitation marble
* Rust removal
* Car bumpers and chrome
* Tire whitewalls
Bar Keepers Friend is easy to use. It works best when you sprinkle it onto a wet cloth or wet the surface to be cleaned. It can be shaken directly onto metal, porcelain or plastic.
If you have a stubborn stain, the directions suggest making a paste out of Bar Keepers Friend and water, and allowing the paste to sit on the surface of the stain for no longer than one minute, and then you need to rinse it immediately.
Bar Keepers Friend comes out in a powder form, and is mildly abrasive, yet it didn't scratch any of the surfaces I cleaned. It has a mild scent, that is neither offensive or pleasant.
The first job I tackled was my granite-like composite sink. It had really been neglected after I ran out of my Bon Ami. I sprinkled the Bar Keepers Friend liberally onto a wet sink, then scrubbed it with a cotton cleaning cloth. It only took a few minutes and the sink was spotless. Next I cleaned out the stainless steel strainers, and again the Bar Keepers Friend did a great job polishing them up to a great shine, with absolutely no scratching on the shiny metal.
Next I wanted to see how this product would clean up my glass stove top. My rag was already wet, and I applied Bar Keepers Friend to it and lightly rubbed the surface. The darkened areas around the sealed burners came clean, with little effort. It rinsed nicely, leaving no grit behind.
Last, I cleaned my bathroom sink and countertop. The sink is made of porcelain, and the countertop is laminate. Both my husband and I use hairspray on a daily basis, and the countertop gets very gunked up with residue that doesn't come off easily. The Bar Keepers Friend cut through the build up and cleaned my countertop, as well as my sink.
The powder is just abrasive enough that it cuts through grime and hard water spots, meaning less effort on my part.
I really wanted to verify it's claim that it will remove rust, but unfortunately I didn't have any rusty objects to clean. When I did some research on the main ingredient, oxalic acid, I learned that this is used for rustproofing. Oxalic acid is found naturally in certain plants, such as the leaves of rhubarb.
I wasn't exactly elated about the high price of my 12 ounce container of Bar Keepers Friend, it was nearly three times the cost of Bon Ami! I paid $3.49 for the can, and my Bon Ami usually runs around $1.19. Comet and Ajax were also about a buck cheaper than the Bar Keepers Friend.
Was I impressed enough with this product to switch from my beloved Bon Ami? No. I still prefer the ingredients in Bon Ami (calcium carbonate and sodium carbonate). When using either one, you should use gloves on your hands because they can both dry out your skin quite easily.
Bar Keepers Friend is incompatible with chlorine bleach and detergents, so keep that in mind when using this cleaner. Bon Ami has no known incompatibilities.
Although I will still purchase my Bon Ami when I can, I think that Bar Keepers Friend makes a good second choice. I certainly prefer it over Ajax and Comet powdered cleansers, and it is a good all-around cleanser that can be used on a wide variety of surfaces.
Bar Keepers Friend should be kept out of the reach of children.