Bar Keepers Friend® Soft Cleanser Review




Bar Keepers Friend® Soft Cleanser smells surprisingly sweet, like fruity hard candy; a scent that belies its obvious cleaning power.  It effectively cleans many tough stains from copper, aluminum, ceramic, acrylic, fiberglass, and many other materials.  It’s a multi-purpose soft cleanser for both kitchen and bathroom, and you don’t have to worry about splattering it on your clothes, as it contains no bleach. 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.

Picture of a 26 ounce bottle of Bar Keepers Friend® (BKF) Soft Cleanser, front view.
Bar Keepers Friend® (BKF) Soft Cleanser, 26 ounce bottle, front view.

 

We’ve tested BKF cleaners throughout our home, and find it quite the versatile and effective, though not terribly abrasive liquid cleanser. It’s easy on the skin as it contains no harsh chemicals like bleach, emits virtually no strong odors or fumes (except for the fruit jam like aroma), and a single 26 ounce bottle has enough cleaner to keep a ceramic stovetop sparkling clean for six months or longer. The entire line of Bar Keepers Friend® cleaning products is reasonably economical though not the cheapest, pretty safe on surfaces, tough on dirt and stains, and easy to use. It saves lots of elbow grease that you’d otherwise spend scrubbing. However, without bleach, this product is much better known for its scouring capabilities as an abrasive cleaner, than for its anti bacterial properties.

 

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

  • Creamy fruity cleanser consistency. Plenty thin enough to poor, but thick as light cream, this liquid cleaner features oxalic acid and micro-fine scrubbing particles, with a slippery feel when rubbing it between fingers. The grit here is too small to feel however, which helps it clean dirt without scratching much. This nearly opaque white liquid visually resembles two percent milk. It’s dense, but still thin enough to poor and spread with ease. Not a gel; neither clear nor transparent.
  • Versatile bathroom cleaner. We most use this BKF liquid soft cleanser product in our small bathroom, for removing soap scum and mineral deposits from the bathtub, sink, soap dispensers, 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 bottle near the sink when a particularly dirty pan arrives.  BKF is safe on nonstick coatings if you do not rub too hard, and is a cheaper alternative for cleaning glass cooktop stoves than the cleaners specifically designated for that purpose.  Yet it works just as well.  The soft cleanser version here may be less abrasive than the powder version.
  • Gentle, non intrusive scent. This tropical fruit scented liquid cleanser has a gentle but not overpowering smell, like an older candle. 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 until becoming obnoxious. Within five minutes of rinsing away, its smell disappears as well.
  • Scratches and etches very little. 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® liquid 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. This BKF formula rinses even faster and more easily, with its smaller, less perceptible particles.
  • Excellent pot and pan grime remover. We’ve found BKF to work particularly well on pots and pans. It safely cleans nonstick surfaces if you scrub gently with it.
  • 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 as long as you keep the lid tightly closed when not using, although you may have to shake up the bottle if you let it sit for too many months. And you may notice that the lemon citrus aroma weakens after years of storage.
Picture of a 26 ounce bottle of Bar Keepers Friend® (BKF) Soft Cleanser, back view.
Bar Keepers Friend® (BKF) Soft Cleanser, 26 ounce bottle, back view.

 

 

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

  • 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 some Lysol or spray bleach cleaner.
  • Can dry out. With the lid not tightly closed, this BKF product can thicken and become too dry to squeeze out of the bottle and use. So, to head off this problem, store unused portions of it in original containers, in a cool, dry place, and make sure the caps are tightly screwed onto bottle heads and that the snap top lids are clean and tightly snapped shut. If it does dry up, you can generally and effectively reconstitute this product by adding some water.

 

Our Rating

We like Bar Keepers Friend® Soft Cleanser. While it’s not the most affordable cleaning product on the market, its price is probably about average.  But this modernized product, even with its dissolving, smaller scrubbing particles, still cleans effectively, and without nearly as much risk of scratching, and does so with a pleasant though somewhat candyfied aroma.   Today’s BKF liquid cleanser is engineered for today’s delicate appliance surfaces as well. Indeed, they’ve kept up with the times, thus. Would therefore rate this cleanser at 92 out of 100.

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

 

References

Revision History

  • 2017-02-22: Revised the tags list.
  • 2015-10-24: Originally published.