How to Clean Almost Anything With Bar Keepers Friend

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hand holding a red cooking pan with half clean half dirty bottom side

Want the ability to clean pretty much anything?

Then Bar Keepers Friend will be your new best friend! 🤗 This versatile product will magically take off all those years of burnt-on messes, scratches, and even so many more things around the house! You’re going to be so WOWED, the very next thing I bet you’ll do after reading this post is go try this product. 😏

hand holding a bottle of bar keepers friend
Originally used to clean brass rails in taverns, this powdered cleanser contains the active ingredient oxalic acid, a plant-based cleaner that breaks down rust and stains on a molecular level. It claims to get rid of rust stains, tarnishes, oxidation, hard water deposits, soap scum, mildew, grease, and grime from a variety of surfaces such as copper, tile, brass, stainless steel, porcelain, plastics, and glass.

Important Hip Tip: Wear gloves when using BKF, as it tends to significantly dry out the skin. This product is abrasive and may etch or dull delicate surfaces. Test it on an inconspicuous area first to make sure you’re happy with the results. Always consult the care section of your product’s user manual for proper cleaning procedures.

Here are the top ways we like to use Bar Keepers Friend:

1. Use Bar Keepers Friend in the backyard.

Bar Keepers Friend in front of a barbecue grill

You may think it’s time to throw out that metal patio furniture — after all, it’s totally covered in rust. But with Bar Keepers Friend and some scrubbing, you can clean and polish it to look like it just came from the store!

Use BKF to get your outdoor grill sparkling clean, too, and you’ll be ready to host that summer barbecue in style! Just be sure to clean (with gentle dish soap) and rinse any surface that’ll come into contact with food. While oxalates are naturally occurring in foods like spinach, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and rhubarb, ingesting too much oxalic acid can be harmful.

2. Remove scratch marks, stains, and baked-on residue from dishes.

Bar Keepers Friend next to a stack of dishes

You know those unsightly marks silverware can leave on your dishes? Not having a solution is frustrating. Plus, it can be embarrassing to serve guests when your dishes are starting to look pretty rough and questionably dirty.

Bar Keepers Friend (and just a little bit of effort) will remove those marks on your everyday items, china, and any other ceramic dishes, like Corelle, Fiestaware, and even vintage Pyrex. Just make sure to thoroughly clean with dish detergent afterward to make sure all the BKF residue is removed.

hand holding a white plate with clean side and scratched side

Take my Hip sidekick, Jen’s, word on it. She recently gave it a shot on some white dishes that she’d had for over 20 years! Here’s what she said:

“I love my white dishes, but every time we use a utensil on them it leaves a silver mark. I’ve tried for many years to find any way to get those marks off. I’ve used abrasive pads, scrubbers, and harsh cleaners, but they wouldn’t come off. 😫

After talking about my dishes with a friend, she had started telling me how amazing Bar Keepers Friend is. So I went out and got some and immediately went home. I first sprinkled a little on the surface of a dish and added just a little bit of water to make a paste. Then I used a non-abrasive sponge and gently scrubbed over the scratches for a few minutes, and it magically took the silver marks off! The picture literally speaks for itself!” 

3. Remove rust and scorch marks from your cookware.

before and after of the bottom of a red pan dirty and clean
It may seem like those ugly marks and burnt on gunk on the bottom of your pots and pans are here to stay, but a little paste of Bar Keepers Friend plus water can make your stainless steel or copper pots look like new again.

After getting her white dishes all nice and new again, Jen went to town on her pots and pans (shown above) and here’s what she said:

“I was shocked with the outcome of my dishes! I starting going to town on everything! Next, I did the same process on the bottom of a really dirty pan in my kitchen that just drives me nuts! I had to scrub a little bit harder, but not enough to use elbow grease by any means.

Low and behold, the nasty gunk came right off! 😱 I’m so impressed and amazed and now I want to clean anything and everything I can find with this stuff. I’m going to keep it on hand at all times now!” 

Hip Tip: Don’t feel like making your own paste? BKF makes it’s own highly-rated liquid Soft Cleanser if you’d like to skip that step!

4. Use it in the garage.

Bar Keepers Friend in the garage

Take Bar Keepers Friend to the garage to clean rust and grime off of tools, bicycles, tire rims, car chrome, and motorcycle, ATV, and snowmobile parts. It even works to clean and shine up golf clubs.

Hip Tip: Be sure NOT to use BKF on painted finishes or black plastic vehicle trim.

5. Polish metal and brass with Bar Keepers Friend.

Bar Keepers Friend before and after on a serving tray

Have a metal or brass serving tray or decorative item that’s seen better days? Just scrub on the Bar Keepers Friend, and grandma’s serving platter is ready for the Thanksgiving table once again!

Hip Tip: Use sparingly, as a little goes a long way on metals.

6. Make your kitchen look shiny and new.

Bar Keepers Friend before and after
Thankfully, Bar Keepers Friend makes short work of cleaning your stainless steel knives and other kitchen cutlery. It can make your sink look shiny and new again, too!

It’s also great for removing cooked-on crud and scorch marks from your glass or ceramic cooktop. Just make a paste with BKF and water, scrub, and then remove the cleaner thoroughly with a clean cloth or sponge.

If your oven’s glass door is covered in grease and burned-on food, a little BKF will have it gleaming in no time.

Hip Tip: It is not advised to use BKF on cosmetic areas of your stainless steel appliances. Many manufacturers apply a clear protective layer to help reduce fingerprints, and abrasive cleaners like BKF may harm this protective layer or damage the brushed finish of your stainless steel appliances.

7. Put a spring in your step with brighter sneakers.

Bar Keepers Friend nest to a white sneaker

Are your sneakers or athletic shoes looking a little worse for the wear? A little scrubbing with a gentle brush and a paste made from Bar Keepers Friend will spruce them up in no time!

Want even more ways to use Bar Keepers Friend? Here are some other recommended ideas:

Kitchen ideas:

    • Burnt residue on cookware
    • Built-up grease on an oven
    • Hard water deposits on stainless steel and porcelain
    • Stainless steel rust stains
    • Stainless steel, laminate, and Corian countertops
    • Dingy faucets and handles
    • Splashes and stains on tile backsplash
    • Safe for most cooktops and grates
    • Restore cloudy glassware
    • Scratches on mugs and dishes

Bathroom ideas:

    • Soap scum and stains on bathtubs and sinks
    • Bathtub drains
    • Light-colored grout
    • Shower doors
    • Most other fixtures
    • Ceramic tiles and countertops

Other ideas:

    • Rust stains on gardening tools
    • Mildew and dirt from vinyl siding
    • Tough grease on grill grates
    • Hard water deposits on window panes
    • Rust stained-patio furniture
    • Grime on vinyl and aluminum garage doors and siding
    • Dirty lawn ornaments
    • Stainless steel golf clubs

Not totally sold yet? Here’s what others have been saying about BKF:

white sink before and after bar keepers friend

“I have an antique porcelain sink in my kitchen and this really revived it back to new! I also use a non-stick spray in my pans and have used Bar Keepers Friend for years to remove the residue. It’s gentle but excellent for stainless steel. It cleans the bathroom sink, leaving behind a beautiful shine. The options are endless! This is an excellent product at an excellent price.” – Anna ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“My commode had some stains that I could not get out with any cleaner I tried – we have well water and no softener. A friend recommended the Bar Keepers Friend to get these stains out and it got the job done. I turned the water off and got as much water out as I could and it got those stains and rings right out.” – Patty ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This stuff works great on countertop stains and tea stains without scratching. I use this often on many surfaces to remove stains. I also use it on all of my stainless steel pots and pans and it works fantastic!” – Mandy ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Here are a few major retailers where you can buy Bar Keepers Friend:

white plate with blue sponge on top next to bottle of bar keepers friend

*Please note that online prices change all the time.

Now that you’re on a cleaning binge, check out our FREE 4 Week Declutter Challenge!

About the writer:

Jenna has a Bachelor's Degree from Lycoming College and her Master's from Penn State, holding 4 years of writing experience between a variety of publications and Hip2Save.

Join The Discussion

Comments 25

  1. abbyac

    Barkeeper’s Friend is my BEST friend. Chuckled at WalMart the other day when it was the only thing left on the shelf.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)


  2. Casey

    Barkeeper’s Friend is a godsend for cleaning Le Creuset or similar brands (Staub, Lodge, enamel-coated cast iron). If you have any vintage pieces that look like they’re on their last legs, make a paste of BKF and let it sit overnight. Most of the build up will wipe off the next day!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      How cool! Thanks for the helpful tip, Casey!

  3. Mommyof3

    I almost bought some yesterday, now I wish I had!

  4. Elizabeth

    Bought it yesterday at Ralph’s for $3.50. It was the only powdered cleanser left.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Happy you could snag it!

  5. MrsBK

    This stuff is awesome for soap scum and hard water stains and buildup in the tub and shower. I’ve tried many many cleaners that claimed to work but nothing has as well as BKF. And the price is great!

    • kayti

      I second the hard water! Within days our shower and tub are dark orange. You can clean it off with the works toilet bowl cleaner, but then you can’t breathe for days…. Bar keepers friend with a little elbow grease is the only other thing that works!

      • Wan

        Did you add anything to it or just made a paste?

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience! Good to know how well it has worked for you on hard water stains!

  6. Amber

    I love this stuff. I use it on everything.

  7. Michele B.

    I love this stuff! I’ll have to try it on shoes.

  8. Laurie

    oh dear, you gave away a secret and now there wont be ANY for months to come:)!! Love this stuff!

    • Renee

      lol Laurie. I just had the same thought!

  9. Deanna

    If i am cleaning the bottom of my pots and pans how long should i let it sit?

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      I let it set about 60 seconds before I started using my scrubby side of my sponge on it. Those pans in the pics are mine!

  10. tracy

    I love BKF so much. It’s crazy how well it works.

  11. rochellemcgee

    My husband’s chrome hub caps get a lot of brake dust build up that doesn’t come off with a car wash. This is the only stuff that seems to restore them and doesn’t cause any damage. Also use it for our grill, which seems to get superficial rust spots on it just from being outside even thought it’s covered.

  12. Maree637

    Love this stuff! Absolutely the best!

  13. lovin Him

    Ditto to many of the above comments, It is amazing how well it removes rust! We have well water with a lot of iron which turns my toilet bowls orange 🙁 I fill a bucket with water to flush and lower the water level, sprinkle BKF over the bowel, swish around with the toilet bowl brush and most of it disappears! For more difficult stains I make a paste and brush with a firmer brush to remove 🙂
    I also use it to scrub the bottom of my shower curtain where the rust stains it orange. Then just throw it in the wash to rinse it all off! Love the stuff!!!

  14. Nicole S.

    I know the liquid Bar Keepers friend for me does not work as good as the powder. I love this stuff for my magnalite pots and stainless pots and cookie sheets. This will take off dark spots on stainless and I also take off residue from my magnalite that has built up and then polish the outside after cleaning with this mother’s mag. Aluminum Polish found in auto stores and my pots shine like new.

  15. Angie

    I realize it says it’s safe for ceramic tiles, but just curious if anyone has experience using it? My shower tiles are covered in soap scum and hard water spots. Is it safe to use?

  16. Julia Phelps

    I have the powder and the liquid. My personal preference is the liquid. It is amazing. It is the only product I have ever found that gets burnt on grease off my gas stove top and it is the only think that works to remove hair dye from my bath tub.

  17. Beverly Casey

    Question, can big be used on galvanized metal

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