Cleaning

The Cleaning Product I Swear By for the Dirtiest Pots & Pans

Doing the dishes just got a lot easier.

November  7, 2018

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.

Shop the Story

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.

Have you ever used Bar Keepers Friend before? Thoughts? Share in the comments below!

8 Comments

Alison November 14, 2018
I love Barkeepers' Friend, and it is my go-to for most cookware situations, not to mention helping obscure stubborn glass rings on marble countertops. For cast iron, however, the most effective method I have found for removing blackened anything (like char from high heat grill roasting, or similar) is to sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on the pan (about a half cup for a 12 inch cast iron skillet), add water, and heat until a slow boil, for at least 20 minutes, occasionally scraping the bottom of the pan with a sturdy heat-resistant utensil (like a stainless spatula or flipper), with special attention to spots you know were especially crusty. The soda seems to react with the fat and protein in the baked on char. You will have to reseason the pan, but I don't think any method of cleaning a seriously encrusted pan would leave the seasoning.
 
Smaug November 14, 2018
I've found the boiled baking soda method to be the best for pretty much any type of blackened cookware (I'm reluctant to resort to lye). I'm always amazed how few people seem to know it.
 
Cookie November 8, 2018
My go-to for really bad burnt-on messes is Oxi-Clean powder which will eat through anything organic if you mix it with very very hot water and let it sit for a few hours, or overnight. It works great on cast iron, enamel, glass, anything. It will take part of the seasoning off of cast iron, but you simply need to oil and heat the pan again after cleaning to re-season. With glass or enamel, it may leave a whitish residue or film, but it can be easily scrubbed off with dish soap and a non-scratch scrubber sponge. I have been using the same set of Danish cast iron saucepans, pots, and baking dishes for 33 years, and it still looks and functions perfectly despite numerous disasters with burnt-on casseroles, sauces, meats, etc. -- thanks to OxiClean.
 
Asaracoglu November 7, 2018
What about for enameled cast iron?<br />
 
Author Comment
Emma L. November 7, 2018
Hi! I actually don't have any enameled cast iron, so I haven't tried this myself. Curious to hear if others have! I can't find anything on the brand's site that addresses this particular material, so—even though it's not on the do-not-use list—the best route is probably to test a small area to double check first.
 
Lisa M. November 7, 2018
It will clean enamel, but it's so good, it leaves the surface dry looking. Older enamel looks like it needs lotion after cleaning. I've never tried it on newer pieces.
 
Liora November 11, 2018
I've used Barkeeper's Friend on enameled cast iron as well as my other favorite, Bon Ami. Both work well but if it's stained or burnt on, I'd use the B.F.: moisten and sprinkle generously, then let it sit overnight. I love the stuff. Warning, though, B.F. cannot be used on conjunction with another cleanser. I've found that it can be fumy. I haven't had that experience with B.A., though.
 
Smaug November 7, 2018
I'll have to look into this Soft Cleanser version- the original BK's friend- and it's counterpart Zud- are too abrasive for regular use on pans.