I have to admit I was extremely skeptical about using an interestingly-named cleaner product called Bar Keepers Friend to clean certain Pyrex and Corelle items. However, after finding a twelve ounce can of the stuff at a supermarket near me, I decided it couldn’t hurt to give it a try.
First: WARNING! Do not use this on any Pyrex decorative patterns that have gold leaf on them! And the usual applies - you aren’t going to hold us liable for any damage to your Pyrex goodies…
Bar Keepers Friend has supposedly been produced for over a hundred years. The graphics on their signature gold can with blue logo certainly look like it. I guess if it ain’t broke, no need for a redesign. Although, I got it at my supermarket you can also get it online at Amazon from a third party in case you can’t seem to find it at yours.
The actual product is a sort of white powder in a shaketop can that immediately reminded me of Comet cleaner. I believe it is supposed to be “non-abrasive”. I don’t know the exact ingredients (and I supposed that’s a time honored secret), however it does say it has Oxalic Acid and they caution against getting that in your eyes because of it. I’ve heard that some people just use their finger to rub the BKF into the surface… I don’t think it will hurt you as long as you wash it off immediately. A sponge might be better, though.
I do know that unlike Comet and Softscrub this is not supposed to have any bleaching agents in it. Which is a good thing as far as Pyrex goes because bleach is not good to get on the colored surface of Pyrex items.
Anyhow, the directions recommend a few different ways of using BKF: the first is to sprinkle some powder on a wet cloth and rub it in gently, making sure the surface you are going to work on is somewhat wet or damp. The other way they recommend is to make a paste or slurry by adding few drops of water to a portion of BKF in a separate container. You then rub the paste onto the surface and let it stand for NO LONGER THAN A MINUTE on the surface before rinsing it off.
Our interest in BKF was originally for removing silverware marks and rust stains from Pyrex surfaces. However, it might be good to have in the house anyways because it’s quite a multitasker; they recommend using it to clean fiberglass, stainless steel, imitation marble, porcelain sinks, tubs, tile, chrome, copper, and brass. It can also apparently get rid of rust on STONE. Many people swear by it on All-Clad type cookware.
Use common sense with this product, as with all things. It’s not going to “fill up” any deep scratches. You want to test it on an inconspicuous spot or on a non-valuable item first before getting it all over the piece.
For Pyrex, we DO NOT recommend using it on the colored portions. We HAVE tested it on the colored finish of a few junk pieces and it doesn’t seem to harm it. However, we’d be very careful about doing this. For the most part - use it ONLY on the interior or non-design part of the item and not on the colored finish or patterns.
Here’s an example of where we feel Bar Keepers Friend really excels at: removing metal markings. This is a Corelle cup with a weird silverware or other mark that we did everything we could to get rid of. BKF works best on those metal marks that are flush on the surface (that is, they aren’t gouged into the surface). This is the before pic:
And here’s is the same area of the cup after applying a bit of BKF paste directly onto the mark and letting it sit for 15 seconds before gently rubbing it in and rinsing:
To say we were amazed is an understatement. It came right off, with no hint of abrasive marks on the surface. We had earlier tried to get rid of it using “Magic Eraser” which is pretty fabulous for stuff like yellow marks, caked on food and grime. However, it doesn’t work on metal marks at all. BKF got it off in short order. We’ve also used it on the brown-yellow rust marks on a Fire King pie plate with the same amazing results.
Here’s another illustrative example. This is a Pyrex Pink Daisy divided dish that had metal and various other marks on the handle. We’ve tried other methods to remove the gunk but had no luck:
These marks seemed impervious to anything we threw at it. We sprinkled some BKF on a wet sponge and rubbed it into the area. About a minute or so of rubbing and most of it came right off. You’ll see that there still is a little tiny spot that BFK did not seem to affect that much - perhaps with harder scrubbing it would have come off. We left it there for photo comparison.
Here’s the before and after for some stubborn black metal marks on a Blue Stripes Mixing Bowl. Note that the powder isn’t “magic”, you can still see the places where the paint was scratched… it can’t fix those! Also, this particular stain required some serious elbow grease in addition to the BKF powder.
One last example: this time we actually tried using it directly on a casserole where rubbed metal marks were on the colored finish. This one actually had quite a bit of marking on it… it almost looks like a dirty fingerprint smear but it definitely didn’t come off with normal washing.
Sorry about the blurry pictures, but you can still see the difference is phenomenal. We made a bit of paste with the BKF and used that on the Pyrex casserole side. It didn’t harm the finish at all, and if we could get this kind of results with all of the “metal-marked” dishes out there, we’d be rescuing a ton more Pyrex pieces from the thrift stores! Still, MAKE SURE to test it first on an inconspicuous area, and don’t use it on the gold leaf type patterns.
So anyway, we highly recommend you pick up a can and try it out. It won’t do certain things, of course. It won’t somehow fill in the scratches and missing areas on your Pyrex color pattern. It also won’t smooth out any deep gouges into the surface (well, it might, if you leave it on for a long time but that will surely be detrimental to the piece!) And it’s only definitely safe for the white insides and non-patterned places of your dish. But because it’s so good at removing metal and rust from Pyrex it’s a great product to have around.
Bar Keepers Friend - $2-4
available at Amazon.com