You Should Never Use Bar Keepers Friend On These Surfaces

Cooking at home can be a fun and delicious activity, but cleaning up is usually less of a delight. Doing your dishes can be easy enough, but when cookware and kitchen surfaces get weeks or even months of grime built up, scrubbing it off can be a real chore. Bar Keepers Friend, a powdered cleaning product that tackles even the most stubborn dirt and grease, can be a lifesaver. However, using it on the wrong surface can be disastrous.

In Bon Appetit, writer Alex Beggs sings the praises of Bar Keepers Friend, going so far as to call it her "only friend." She also notes it's damaged several items in her kitchen. To avoid a similar fate, remember not to use Bar Keepers Friend on these surfaces: marble, granite, plastic, nonstick pans, uncoated cast iron pans, wood, enamelware, and melamine.

In addition to potentially damaging household surfaces, Bar Keepers Friend can also be toxic to humans. To avoid any trouble, The Kitchn recommends wearing gloves while cleaning, as the oxalic acid in the product can harm your skin. Additionally, inhaling the dry powder can be dangerous. For a safe cleaning experience, The Kitchn suggests wetting the surface you're using Bar Keepers Friend on before dispensing the powder. Then, scrub using a pre-dampened cloth.

Ways to properly use Bar Keepers Friend

Don't let the potential hazards of Bar Keepers Friend scare you off. The cleaning product is a powerhouse when used correctly! The best surfaces to use Bar Keepers Friend on, according to Bon Appetit, are stainless steel (anything from sheet pans to sinks), glass, porcelain, chrome, stovetops, Instant Pots, and coated cast iron cookware like a Dutch oven.

The reason it cleans these surfaces so well is the combination of oxalic acid, abrasives, and detergents (via The Washington Post). They work in tandem to scrub away stains and other pesky residue.

Due to its heavy-duty nature, Bar Keepers Friend can even cause damage when used on the correct surface. The "biggest mistake you can make," according to Bon Appetit, is to let the product sit for too long on a surface. This can cause discoloration and scratches. Instead, rinse it off after just one minute. When in doubt, spot-clean items before you use the product. Additionally, The Kitchn warns to never mix it with other cleaning products, as this can cause dangerous chemical reactions.

Once you've mastered the ways Bar Keepers Friend can assist in cleaning, you'll be reaching for it for almost anything. Emphasis on almost.