If it weren’t for rhubarb, Bar Keepers Friend wouldn’t exist. Crazy right? But without this interesting vegetable this amazing cleaner just would not be.
Bar Keepers Friend was founded WAY back in 1882, yes that's right, 140 years ago - completely by accident too, by chemist and entrepreneur George William Hoffman.
The story goes... when Hoffman was cooking rhubarb, he noticed how clean and shiny his pot suddenly was. Always the chemist, he had to learn how this was possible. He concluded it was the oxalic acid found naturally in rhubarb.
What is Oxalic Acid?
Oxalic Acid is a white crystalline solid. It’s an organic compound that naturally occurs in many fruits and vegetables, such as rhubarb (like George William Hoffman discovered). It’s also found in spinach, beet leaves, Swiss chard, and more.
Being acidic instead of alkaline, Bar Keepers Friend is more effective against mineral deposits and rust stains and are is also recommended by most stainless steel product manufacturers over bleach-based (alkaline) cleansers. It is also biodegradable which means it is suitable for traditional septic tanks.
How is Oxalic Acid Made?
Oxalic Acid can be made and extracted in a number of different ways. Like our friend George William Hoffman, you can boil and extract the organic compound from rhubarb leaves or from the fruits and veggies mentioned above. Other chemists have used nothing more than sugar and nitric acid to create it.
In terms of the oxalic acid in Bar Keepers Friend products, it generally comes from plant/vegetation waste from industrial suppliers.
Even though oxalic acid is a core ingredient, it makes up just under 10 percent of BKF’s cleanser. Being acidic, you wouldn't want to use straight oxalic acid to clean your cookware or wipe down your counters.
While the process for making oxalic acid is pretty cool, it’s probably a lot easier to pick up a can of Bar Keepers Friend Powdered Cleanser from our website or your closest stockist! Check out this link to find your closest retailer.
Thanks to Bar Keepers Friend US
Bar Keepers Friend 3 Piece Spring Cleaning Kit
Clean your entire home with our awesome 3 piece kit containing:
- 1 x Bar Keepers Friend Original Cleanser & Polish 340g
- 1 x Bar Keepers Friend Soft Cleanser 369g
- 1 x Bar Keepers Friend MORE Spray & Foam 750ml
- 1 x Tough Grade Non-scratch pad
- 1 x Light Grade Non-scratch pad
Original Cleanser – Best for use on tough stains like showers glass, tiles, toilets, brass, copper tubs, and more to get rid of rust, hard water stains, mineral deposits, and built-up grease and grime. Can be used in a paste-like formula for the toughest stains or dilute for lighter ones, very versatile, and great for almost any hard surface.
Soft Cleanser – In a pre-diluted, liquid form. Has the same active ingredients as the original cleanser though in an easier-to-use form. Use for stainless steel benches and sinks, solid chrome tapware, porcelain, acrylic, rust stains, tarnish, or aluminium.
MORE Spray & Foam – The gentlest formula, great for chromes, benches, cleaning oily residues, vertical areas such as backsplashes, great for faucets, tapware, and sinks. Also tackles everyday grime, but with a massive kick and shine.
Tough Grade Cleaning Pad - Use this for the really tough surfaces, like shower glass, tiles and ovens
Light Grade Cleaning Pad - Use this for most hard surfaces, such as stainless steel, tapware, porcelain, and acrylic