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FAQ: How Does BKF Differ From Household Cleaners Like Comet & Ajax?

October 21, 2020

So, how is Bar Keepers Friend different from household cleaners Comet & Ajax? This question is one of the most frequently asked ones we get. While we’ve addressed the differences between these household cleaners in the past, we had yet to dive into the specifics. Here are some of the primary differences between BKF and other cleaners like Comet & Ajax.

Bar Keepers Friend Doesn’t Use Bleach

I have asthma, so knowing what chemicals can be a trigger is important to me. Back in the day, when I actually went inside a grocery store, I never strolled the aisle where bleach is displayed. I learned bleach fumes would sometimes cause me to wheeze, if not start a full-fledged asthma attack. While Comet, Ajax and other household cleaners are bleach-based and alkaline, Bar Keepers Friend is an acidic cleaner.  

Stainless steel manufacturers and fabricators actually warn against the use of bleach or bleach-based products, as it deteriorates the integrity of stainless steel over time. On the other hand, the composition of BKF Cleanser actually cleans and polishes stainless steel surfaces.  It is endorsed and recommended by major stainless steel manufacturers.

BKF’s Key Ingredient is Oxalic Acid

household-cleaners-oxalic-acid-Image-1Oxalic acid (not bleach) is BKF’s secret sauce. It’s one of the distinct differences between BKF and Comet & Ajax. When used as instructed, it is safe for humans as well as friendly to the environment. Fun Fact: Oxalic acid occurs naturally in dark green leafy plants such as rhubarb, spinach, asparagus, etc. It’s actually how it was first discovered for BKF.

If you’ve used BKF before, you know how effective it is for removing mineral deposits such as lime and calcium build-up, along with rust stains. The oxalic acid works at a molecular level to lift stains and remove tarnish & oxidation films. Time after time, we’ve seen photos and videos from fans showing BKF almost magically removing stains as it sits on the surface. Most powdered alkaline or bleach-based cleaners are not as effective on these challenging stains.

Abrasives – Be Careful When You Clean

Another important difference between BKF Cleanser and the other cleaners mentioned is the types of “abrasives” used. Our powder and soft cleansers use gentle “micro-scrubbers” or “mild abrasives” that result in time-saving cleaning without the scratching. No “fillers” are used in BKF cleansers.

On the flipside, household cleaners like Comet and Ajax include abrasives that when used over time may damage finishes.

“Regular use may scratch the shiny finishes of sinks, bathtubs, and kitchen.” — New Mexico State University — Selection and Use of Home Cleaning Products

Lastly, Detergency is Important

Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser uses only the highest-quality detergent system (chemists called these “surfactants” or “wetting agents”).  These detergents help penetrate soils, greases, oils and grime so that the oxalic acid and the scrubbers can perform at optimum levels. The detergents help “float away” the loosened or dissolved soils for quick, easy rinsing.  

So, How is Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser Different From Comet & Ajax?

BKF is the #1 non-bleach Cleanser in the market today.  The most significant differences between BKF Cleanser and Comet or Ajax is 1) the absence of bleach AND our use of oxalic acid, 2) the quality of “scrubber” used, and 3) the detergents used. 

For some, such as myself, bleach is a trigger for breathing problems, but even those with healthy lungs can be adversely affected by bleach.

As for me, I’m sticking with what I’ve used for more than 50 years – BKF Powder Cleanser. It works and I can breathe while I use it.


About the Author

Randy Clark - Headshot

Randy Clark is a speaker, coach, and author. He publishes a weekly blog at Randy Clark Randy is passionate about social media, leadership development, and flower gardening. He’s a beer geek and on weekends (after COVID-19) he can be found fronting the Rock & Roll band Under the Radar. He’s the proud father of two educators; he has four amazing grandchildren and a wife who dedicates her time to helping others. Randy is the author of the Amazon bestseller The New Manager’s Workbook: A crash course in effective management.

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