My wife and I recently received a set of All-Clad cookware. We loving cooking with it so far, but we're somewhat troubled by the recommendations we keep seeing and hearing to use Bar Keeper's Friend to clean them. So far, we've just been using the nylon scrubbing sponges, which work for the most part, but is already some spotting and bits of cooked on stuff that will likely need something stronger to get them off.

My gut tells me that regardless of what is in the cleaner, given that the cookware is made of steel, it will be rinsed off and won't be an issue. My wife is more skeptical. Are there any health concerns with using this stuff on our cookware?

7 Answers 7


Yes it is completely safe. It is even recommended by the manufacturer.

• To get rid of stuck-on food or discoloration, and stains from using too high of a heat, we recommend cleaning your All-Clad with a product called Bar Keeper's Friend.

Bar Keeper's Friend even has a cookware specific cleanser, Bar Keeper's Friend Cookware.

Bar Keepers Friend Cookware

I'm not sure of the difference between this and their regular cleanser, since they aren't required to list ingredients, but it is marketed specifically for cookware, and priced equivalently.

Other manufacturers recommend this product as well, as noted on the BKF Recommendations page.

You should also check out this question on how to remove brown stains. The accepted answer there is BKF. If you have something particularly terrible that BKF can't handle, you can always use gun cleaner, though I daresay your wife will say no to this. :-)

  • I use (the regular) BKF whenever my All-Clad gets some build-up. Works great. Commented Dec 20, 2010 at 5:12
  • 2
    According to BKF's own website, the primary active ingredient is the same between "regular" BKF and the cookware version: oxalic acid. The difference is that the cookware version contains additional surfactants, which in theory should make it easier to wash away the gunk that's been cleaned off (think of it like extra soap).
    – Pops
    Commented Apr 18, 2015 at 14:09
  • I know people that swear by this stuff for their chrome car, motorcycle, and bike parts.
    – PhasedOut
    Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 20:44

I looked at the label on my BKF and it is basically Oxalic Acid. It's a strong acid so you don't want to wash your hands with it, but it's definitely water soluble and used everywhere, including water treatment.

It's definitely safe to use on cookware.


I'm not sure what kind of answer you expect from the collective wisdom here that will reassure - almost like an appeal to anti-authority...?

The referenced web site specifically mentions cleaning cookware and more than one high-end company (your All-Clad as well as Calphalon) appear to recommend the product.

I have used many things to clean cookware (or eating utensils) that I would not like to ingest. CLR is one common descaler for hard-water among other things, that I really don't want to swallow, but it makes short work of cleaning up the coffee pot.

When I camped in my younger days as a boy scout, we used a three-bowl washing technique where one was hot well-chlorinated water to kill any residual bacteria. Again - I really would not want to ingest the bleach, but it sure made me happy to be eating from known clean dishes!

Don't know if any of this will help your case or not, but good luck in any case.


Since 1882, Bar Keepers Friend® has been used safely as a household cleanser and is safe and effective for cleaning stainless steel cookware when used as directed. Its active ingredient, oxalic acid, is naturally occurring in such foods as spinach, rhubarb, tea and cocoa products.

-Eric Servaas for Bar Keepers Friend


The other day I purchased a Pfaltzgraff dinnerware set badly disfigured by what appeared to be decades of gray scratches from stainless silverware. I googled the problem and learned there are at least three substances that successfully remove the scratches: Pfaltzgraff's own cleanser, something called Zud I hadn't heard of, and BKF. At $2 a container, the last was the obvious choice at Walmart. I went back to the kitchen and spent the next three hours scrubbing the 60-piece set until no signs of prior use were evident. BKF polishes as well as cleans, and the dinnerware looked fabulous.

Three hours of exposure of my hands to BKF without gloves did, however, result in flaking of my skin the next day (yesterday), but I suffered no pain or itching and didn't even apply hand lotion, though I considered doing so. Today, the flaking is gone.

The long-term, possibly insidious effects of using BKF are unknown to me, but for now I'm thrilled with its efficacy on Pfaltzgraff and plan to use it again today (wearing gloves) to clean the bottoms of my favorite cookware.

The Servaas family that owns BKF, by the way, is also the publisher of "The Saturday Evening Post". Physician Cory SerVaas has long been the magazine's medical director and guiding light. Joan SerVaas, his daughter, is currently publisher.


BKF would be bad to inhale or to ingest.

Used as directed, in a wet solution, and then rinsed off, its nothing to worry about.

You probably already (and without giving it a thought) use many things that are poisons or would at least make you sick if you drank them on your dishes - dishwasher detergent, liquid dish soap, bleach are all rather nasty things (if ingested) that are commonly used on dishes, and then rinsed off them. In that sense, BKF is not fundamentally different.


Just a small warning. BKF may be fine for some SS cookware but I've managed to take the shine off some high-finish pans, especially the outside. Be careful where you use it.

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