Discovering this $3 Multipurpose Powder Cleaner Is the Best Thing About My 2020

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bar keepers friend pots
Dena Silver

After moving in with my mom in mid-March due to Covid-19 lockdowns, I braced myself for the fact that I’d be dealing with her daily rules and requests. Those included family dinners that started promptly at 6:30 PM, taking out the trash bright and early on garbage day and scrubbing each of her Calphalon stainless steel pans with Bar Keepers Friend ($3) after every single use.

Quite a few months later and I’m happy to reveal that Bar Keepers Friend has basically become my quarantine bestie—because this multipurpose powder can pretty much work magic. I always wondered why my mom’s set of silver pots and pans looked nothing like the grease-caked pots sitting in my own apartment and realized it might be due to her insistence on using her “Friend” (her words, not mine) on a regular basis.

Back at my own apartment, armed with my own $3 can, I put the aforementioned hypothesis to the test. I grabbed a soup pot that was so covered with grease stains the bottom was a solid shade of brown and got scrubbing. To be more exact, I ran the pan under water and sprinkled on just enough powder to create a paste and scrubbed in a circular motion with a regular sponge (however, I swiftly switched over to a Brillo Pad ($6) to speed up the process). I rinsed and repeated quite a few times until, finally, the pot looked nearly good as new. All in all, it took 20 minutes of scrubbing but the joy of restoring a pot to its sparkling glory had me on some sort of cleaning high.

Yes, that meant it was time to see what else Bar Keepers Friend could handle. The back of the can suggests using the powder to clean kitchen sinks and I can confirm, it does so super quickly and efficiently. The same applies to the bathroom sink—including the faucet that’s now just as reflective as my mirror—and the tiles on the shower walls. The inside of the microwave also got the “Friend” treatment and is now totally devoid of crusted food bits and errant spots of tomato sauce—and I didn’t even have to use a single paper towel to make that happen. My stainless steel dishwasher and fridge are now sparkling and yes, the stovetop is cleaner than it’s been in months.

Turns out, I’m not the only “Friend” convert in my family; the last time my brother came over for dinner and offered to do the dishes, his first question was: “Where’s the Bar Keepers Friend?” And keep in mind people, this is from a 31-year-old man who, to my knowledge, has hardly ever volunteered to do the dishes.

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Fashion Editor

From 2019-2021 Dena Silver held the role of Fashion Editor covering product recommendations, trends, and what you should be shopping this season.