We have a new friend. It’s a metal cleaner called Bar Keeper’s Friend, and we want you to be friends too!

When you order any item from Craft & Caro that’s made of metal, we are going to include a packet of Bar Keeper’s Friend to help you to keep your new treasure beautiful.

It is with no small amount of consideration that we chose this particular cleaner. We feel aligned with it.

Like many of the brands we carry, Bar Keeper’s Friend is a tried and true American-made product with a long heritage. It has endured not because of slick advertising or corner-cutting, but because it does what it was designed to do, well and consistently.

Bar Keeper’s Friend has earned an organic following based on its performance. It has built a relationship with it’s consumers over years and years. That’s our kind of brand.

Sample packs of Bar Keeper's Friend

This champion of metal was accidentally invented in Indianapolis in 1882. A local chemist noticed his tarnished pots became shiny after cooking rhubarb in them. After some investigation he identified oxalic acid, naturally present in rhubarb, as the responsible compound.

In short time he formulated a recipe for an oxalic acid based powder cleaner. Bar Keeper’s Friend was born. The formula proved to be exceptional as a metal cleaner and polishing agent, safe for use on stainless steel.

The name was trademarked a few years later, after the cleaner gained popularity among local tavern owners who used it to polish the brass rails and tap boxes in their bars.

Old-timey bartender in a bar

Over the years it gained a cult following, as a myriad of other applications for it were discovered. (Check out the Bar Keeper’s Friend website for a long list of uses and their complete story.)

Bar Keeper’s Friend treats copper, brass, bronze, unfinished aluminum, stainless steel, chrome, porcelain, tile, formica, glass, acrylic, stovetops, boats, siding, grills, and more. (It is NOT for use on gold, silver, anodized aluminum, pewter or marble.)

We rounded up our lovingly tarnished Jacob Bromwell copper coasters, to demonstrate what it can do…

How To Polish With Bar Keeper’s Friend

Bar Keeper's Friend laid out for use

Bar Keeper’s Friend is easy to use. 

Wetting a micro-fiber cloth

First throw on some latex gloves to prevent possible skin irritation. Then wet a soft cloth. We recommend microfiber to prevent scratching your precious wares.

Pouring Bar Keeper's Friend onto cloth

Sprinkle some Bar Keeper’s friend onto the cloth.

Polishing a copper ashtray with Bar Keeper's Friend

Then start polishing. Buff in small circles, slowly moving around the item. A bit of elbow grease will help but time is the more important factor. You should notice a difference within 30 seconds. Keep buffing until the item is clean and shiny! It might take a few minutes, so be patient.

Copper Jacob Bromwell coaster polished with Bar Keeper's Friend

Doesn’t that look nice.

You can also make a more concentrated paste of equal parts water and Bar Keeper’s Friend. Use it the same way.

We even dropped our photographer Joe’s Jacob Bromwell money clip into a bowl of Bar Keeper’s Friend and water and it came out like new, no buffing required!

copper Jacob Bromwell Lexington money clip

Just be careful as you increase the concentration, since oxalic acid is mildly corrosive (that’s the idea). Make sure to rinse each item after polishing, to ensure no residue remains on the surface.

A copper Jacob Bromwell coaster being rinsed in a sink

And now the most satisfying moment of any “How-to” cleaning series, the Before and After Shot:

Bar Keeper's Demo-4

Bar Keeper's Demo-84

Cheers 🙂