Scrubbing pots and pans isn’t something to write home about. Or is it? Take a scroll along the Bar Keepers Friend Amazon page and you’ll start to think cleaning is exciting:
“‘Bar Keepers Friend’ should really be called ‘Homeowner's Magician!’” says Kat. “Leaves EVERYTHING clean, sparkly, and shiny!” says Small~Town~Girl. “It works!” says Dan. Couldn’t have said better myself, Dan. It just works.
Say, that time you were trying to blacken chicken but ended up blackening your pan. Or when you tried to fit a big gratin into a little casserole dish and cream poured onto the bottom of your oven. Bar Keepers Friend to the rescue.
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The cleaning products brand has been around since 1882. So the story goes, a chemist in Indianapolis was cooking some rhubarb when his stained pot was, suddenly, stained no more. A miracle! Indeed. But also: oxalic acid. As the company explains:
Found naturally in rhubarb and other vegetables like spinach, oxalic acid attacks stubborn rust, tarnish, and lime stains at the molecular level, breaking the bonds that hold them together.
Using that active ingredient, our chemist formulated an oxalic acid-based cleaning powder that he sold to taverns for use as a brass rail polish.
In the years since, Bar Keepers Friend has expanded beyond its original powder form, and is now used for a heck of a lot more than brass rails. I swear by the Soft Cleanser, which is premixed (read: easiest). All I need to do is squeeze a pea-sized amount onto a damp sponge, scrub, and rinse.
I mostly use Bar Keepers Friend for stainless steel pots and pans. But it’s just as great for, ahem: ceramic, porcelain, glass, sinks, stove cooktops, oven door windows, scratched up plates, non-stone counters, sinks, baths, showers, faucets, toilets, and tiles. Whew. (It’s not intended for gold or silver, polished stone like marble, colored grout, or lacquered, painted, or mirrored anything.)
More than anything, I love that it means I can dirty the same amount of dishes, but spend less time cleaning them. That is pretty exciting.
Sheet-Pan Pumpkin Mac & Cheese
Have you ever used Bar Keepers Friend before? Thoughts? Share in the comments below!
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.