Product Review and History: Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser & Polish

The household cleanser known as Bar Keepers Friend has been around for a long time. In fact, the founder of the company began business by peddling the cleanser to saloon owners in central Indiana in 1822. Formulated to clean copper and brass, it was a perfect solution for the ornate metalwork featured in the saloons. Barkeepers were so pleased with it that they dubbed the salesman and his product the “Bar Keepers Friend”.

Word spread and soon innkeepers and restaurant owners were seeking out the Bar Keepers Friend. Naturally they took the cleanser home with them to use there as well. It remained popular until the name was changed during the Prohibition in the early 1900s to “House Keepers Friend”. Sales dropped dramatically and the new name was abandoned. The original name of Bar Keepers Friend was restored and remains on the can today.

About the Product
The Bar Keepers Friend container does not list exact ingredients other than to say that it contains oxalic acid. The website describes Bar Keepers Friend as a “unique formula” that does not contain phosphates. It is available in the grocery store for just under $2 for a 12 ounce can.

Recommended Uses
Bar Keepers Friend will clean Glass, Chrome, Copper, Brass, Bronze, Aluminum, Fiberglass, Stainless Steel, Formica and Porcelain. It is not to be used on Lacquered surfaces, Marble, Acrylic, Pewter or Colorized Aluminum. To use the cleanser, wet the surface to be cleaned and sprinkle some cleanser onto a damp cloth. Rub gently and let the cleanser do the work. For heavily soiled surfaces, more than one treatment may be required. There is no need to use a scrub brush.

Bar Keepers Friend lists an impressive number of professional endorsements right on the can of cleanser. Among those are West Bend, Ekco, Elkay, All-Clad, Tappan, Jenn-Air, Delta Faucet and Pella. On the web site you will find a page of Special Endorsements that includes Dynacraft Golf Products and Corelle, among others.

Personal Experience
I have used Bar Keepers Friend for years to clean my porcelain kitchen sink. It is the best thing ever to remove those black marks that metal pans can make. It also does a great job on copper-bottomed pans. Then it dawned on me one day to try it on the rust stains in the bathtub and it worked very well. I also used it on the full length mirror on the back of the bathroom door. This mirror had been spotted with something for a long time – hairspray? – and I had not been able to get it off with glass cleaner or another polish that I tried. I had given up on those spots. However, wetting down the mirror and rubbing gently with a damp cloth sprinkled with Bar Keepers Friend immediately began to do the trick. In just a few minutes the mirror was sparkling clean with no scratches from the cleanser. Amazing.

Everyone should keep a can of Bar Keepers Friend on hand. It does a fantastic job around the house, can be used on automotive parts and even your golf clubs. Pick some up on your next trip to the grocery.

Special Uses,
Bar Keepers Friend,
Customer Suggested Uses,

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