Bar Keepers Friend® Powder Cleanser Polish Review

Bar Keepers Friend® Powder Cleanser Polish, unlike its liquid cleanser counterpart, lacks any of that fruity sweet smell.

It’s lowly imposing scent disappears quickly after use and does not grow stronger when wetting this dry cleanser on a sponge.   No bleach or lemon scent, and it’s non descript chemical aroma, while distinctive, by no means shouts CLEAN.

Picture of Bar Keepers Friend® Cleanser Polish, 21 ounce can, front view.
Bar Keepers Friend® Cleanser Polish, 21 ounce can, front view.

Nonetheless, Bar Keepers Friend® dry polish effectively removes many difficult-to-clean stains from most common appliance metals including copper, aluminum, ceramic, acrylic, fiberglass, and many others. It’s a multi-purpose dry powder cleanser for  kitchen, bathroom, basement, and patio.  Don’t fret over splattering it on your clothes, as it contains no bleach, although do wear gloves when working with it for long periods, as it can irritate sensitive skin. BKF is excellent for removing mildew, grease, lime, limescale, rust, hard water deposits, and soap scum from sinks, bath tubs, all types of shower stalls, glass and plastic shower doors, and so on.

We’ve tested BKF cleaners throughout our apartment, and find this product quite the versatile and effective, though not terribly abrasive polish cleanser. It’s easier on the skin than some other popular cleansers, as it contains reduced harsh chemicals like bleach, emits virtually no strong odors or fumes, and a single 21 ounce can has enough powder to keep an acrylic bathtub sparkling clean for six months or longer.

Picture of Bar Keepers Friend® Cleanser Polish, 21 ounce can, back view 1, showing usage instructions, tips, and warnings.
Bar Keepers Friend® Cleanser Polish, 21 ounce can, back view 1, showing usage instructions, tips, and warnings.

The entire line of Bar Keepers Friend® cleaning products is reasonably economical though not the cheapest.  It’s usually safe on most surfaces found throughout kitchens and bathroom, tough on dirt and stains, and simple to use. It saves lots of effort that you’d otherwise spend scrubbing. However, without bleach, this product, though not anti bacterial,  is well revered for its polishing abilities as well as a gently abrasive cleaner.

Benefits, Pros, Advantages, and Features of Bar Keepers Friend® Powder Cleanser Polish 

Dry powder cleanser consistency. Plenty fine powder and easy to sprinkle and poor.  This powder cleaner features oxalic acid and micro-fine scrubbing particles, with a slightly scratchy feel when rubbing between fingers. The grit here is almost too small to feel however, especially once diluted on a water soaked sponge, which enables it clean dirt without scratching the underlying surfaces much. This pure white powder visually resembles confectioners sugar. It’s dense, but still thin enough to dump and spread with ease. Not granular.

Versatile bathroom cleaner. We most use BKF cleanser product in our small bathroom, for removing soap scum and mineral deposits from the bathtub, sink, soap dispensers, shower doors, grouted tiles, and occasionally the toilet whenever a stubborn rust spot appears under the rim. BKF works particularly well at removing the most common bathroom dirt and scum.

Excellent kitchen cleaner as well. We keep a can under the sink when a particularly dirty pan arrives.

Effective nonstick pots and pans cleaner.  BKF is safe on nonstick coatings if you do not rub too hard.

Works on flat top stoves too.  BKF is a cheaper alternative for cleaning glass cooktop stoves than the cleaners specifically designated for that purpose. Yet it works just as well.

In the dishwasher too.  On dishwasher interior surfaces, this power cleanser gently removes hard water and soap build-up deposits.  For those stubborn baked-on food buildups, BKF can be used as a scouring agent.  But again, don’t scrub with too much elbow grease.  Test first on a hidden oven surface to make sure that any scratching that occurs is not excessive.

Excellent stainless steel sink cleaner.  Bar Keepers Friend® powder polish shines up our dual stainless steel sinks in under a minute’s worth of scrubbing and polishing.

Decent brass, aluminum, and copper cleaner, with caution.  Be careful when cleaning copper, aluminum, and brass items however.  These are  very soft metals, and will definitely be dulled if scoured too vigorously.  If you must clean such soft metals with BKF, do so very gently and with caution.

Gentle, non intrusive scent. This uniquely scented dry cleanser has a gentle but not overpowering smell, like a new pair of shoes. So you need not open windows or turn on exhaust fans while using it in confined spaces like a small bathroom. Plus, the scent does not hang around long enough to become obnoxious. Within five minutes of rinsing away, its smell disappears as well.

Scratches and etches modestly. We’ve never scratched any bathroom or kitchen surface with BKF. Yet it has effectively cleaned almost every surface tested. Plus, with caution, Bar Keepers Friend® effectively polishes aluminum, copper, brass, silver, wood, painted surfaces, and rubber items. Avoid cleaning these with this product as discoloration and other damages might happen. Always test on concealed areas first.

Use rags or sponges. Works just as well when applied with a rag as with a sponge. We prefer rags, just because we can better feel, through the rag, the state of what we’re scrubbing, and can more rapidly tell when all stuck on food and grime has been scoured away.

Quickly rinses clean. rinses away completely, and quickly without relatively little water. This BKF polish formula rinses even faster and more easily, with its smaller, less abrasive particles.

Excellent pot and pan grime remover. We’ve found this cleanser polish to work particularly well on pots and pans. It safely cleans nonstick surfaces if you scrub gently with it, and will not generally dull shiny metal surfaces.

Easy to find. This household cleaner is sold in most any larger grocery or home improvement store. We get ours at Walmart.

No expiration. Remains effective for years.  However, store in a cool, dry place so the cleaning powder does not clump and cake excessively.

Picture of Bar Keepers Friend® (BKF) Cleanser Polish Powder applied to a glasstop stove.
Bar Keepers Friend® (BKF) Cleanser Polish Powder on glasstop stove.

Disadvantages, Cons, Problems, and Limitations of Bar Keepers Friend® Powder Cleanser Polish 

Clumpy powder.  We bought a fresh can only to discover that the powder inside had clumped into small, pinhead sized lumps which would often roll off the edge of our stovetop while polishing it.

May scratch in certain circumstances. Can indeed scratch if you rub too hard while cleaning certain surfaces; particularly, soft metals and plastics. So, rub no harder than necessary, and do test the surfaces that you’re cleaning first, in a non conspicuous location on said surfaces, to get a feel for how much this cleaner will scratch.

Non Disinfectant. Contains no bleach. So we do not rely on it for actual disinfecting. For that. we follow up the BKF with a spray bleach cleaner.


  • Wet the surface to be cleaned with clean warm or cold water.
  • Sprinkle BKF cleanser liberally onto surface.
  • Spread over entire area to be cleaned.
  • Wait one minute.
  • Rub around the treated areas with a damp sponge, dish cloth, or rag.
  • Rinse when finished scrubbing by rewetting and rinsing the scrub cloth you’re using, and then wiping the cleanser off the surfaces you just polished.  Repeat this step as needed until the surfaces are squeaky clean.
  • Dry surface with towel if desired.


  • Test surfaces to be cleaned first, by applying a small amount of product in a non conspicuous area.  Do not clean entire surface, if the small inconspicuous area shows discoloration, scratches, or other anomalies that resulted from the cleaning test.
  • We suggest wearing gloves when scrubbing with this product for longer periods, to prevent possible skin irritation.
  • Could etch soft metals and plastic surfaces.  Again, test in an out-of-plain-sight area first, and also, scrub gently; only as hard as needed to remove stains and dirt.
  • Do not apply to silver (except for sterling), gold, polished stone, lacquered surfaces, mirrored or painted surfaces.

Our Rating

We like Bar Keepers Friend® Cleanser & Polish. While it’s not the most affordable cleaning product on the market (ours cost about a dollar more per can than Comet Cleanser), its price approximates average for this type of product. The extra dollar may be due to the added polishing capabilities of this BKF cleaner.  But this modernized product, even with its dissolving, smaller scrubbing particles, still cleans effectively, and without nearly as much risk of scratching. Today’s BKF powder cleanser is engineered for today’s delicate appliance surfaces as well. Indeed, they’ve kept up with the times, thus. So we’d therefore rate this cleanser at 95 out of 100.

Look for it in the gold and silver 21 ounce can with the blue label with blue and white lettering, at Walmart or other larger grocery centers and home stores.

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Revision History

  • 2017-02-22: Updated the tags list.
  • 2015-10-29: Originally published.