Dead Tools

Bar Keeper’s Friend

Classic stainless steel de-greaser

We started investing in fancy, mirror-polished All-Clad cookware a few years ago, but keeping them “stainless” was impossible — until a sample of this powder came bundled with a sauce pan we bought last year. Where regular dish soap and newfangled all-purpose sprays like 409 had virtually no effect on de-greasing our gunked up gear, this old-fashioned cleanser consistently works miracles, especially on the teapot that’s always in the line of fire during splatter-heavy stove-top sessions. You just sprinkle a couple of tablespoons onto a wet pan/pot, add a little water and make a slurry with a soft wet rag. With minimal elbow grease, we restored an unsightly jelly roll sheet pan to near original condition. A couple other advertised uses I’ve yet to try: chrome bathroom fixtures, tile grouting, porcelain and stainless steel sinks, and removing rust and discoloration from car bumpers. It’s available at most grocery stores. It’s inexpensive and, thankfully, doesn’t smell harsh. It contains oxalic acid, though, so you definitely want to wash up thoroughly afterwards.

-- Steven Leckart 12/4/07

(A less toxic, more recently-reviewed alternative is Bon Ami — editors)

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