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Old 06-14-2011, 03:55 PM   #1
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Stainless steel cleaner (oxalic acid)

Having read the replies to some of the posts by me I thank those who have shared their knowledge with me. I posted an experience I had, trying to clean a stainless steel fry pan. Having a hankering for rhubarb stew one day I used this pan. When I emptied the pan I was amazed at how shiny it had be come. I tried many things to clean this pan, but to no avail. Having said all this, I did a research on what was in the rhubarb that could clean a pan that well. The words oxalic acid came up. Friends this is not body friendly acid. It is the same ingredient that is used in Barkeepers Friend to clean stainless steel. Ironically I too taught of making a cleaner with rhubarb, but alas, always a dollar short and a half hour to late. The guy from Barkeepers Friend beat me to it. As much as I love rhubarb I avoid eating it,but once in a while I cave in for strawberry-rhubarb pie, with ice-cream of course. Something to consider, folks!

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Old 06-14-2011, 04:59 PM   #2
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The difference between the two (rhubarb and BKF) is that you ingest the oxalic acid in the rhubarb while you wash it away with the BKF.
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Old 06-14-2011, 05:55 PM   #3
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I'm still eating rhubarb !!

And using BKF all over the house!! It's a miracle worker.
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Old 06-14-2011, 07:03 PM   #4
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The leaves are supposed to contain a higher concentration of oxalic acid than the stems.
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Old 06-14-2011, 07:04 PM   #5
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I remember hearing years ago that rhubarb leaves were poisonous. Maybe that's why.
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Old 06-14-2011, 07:38 PM   #6
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if it oxalic acid, that'd make spinach an issue.....
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Old 06-14-2011, 08:38 PM   #7
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Oxalic acid promotes formation of kidney stones, as DH remembers not so fondly. Rhubarb leaves have massive concentrations of oxalic acid. I remember using them as hats as a kid. Will experiment with using them as a pot cleaner!
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:10 AM   #8
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heat changes the characteristics of some acids. Perhaps this is why we cook rhubarb.
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:20 AM   #9
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Oxalic acid is also in taro root, it's what makes some people's hands itch when they peel them. I have read it goes away/washes out when you boil them and throw out the water.
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:31 AM   #10
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For all the rhubarb lovers out, the majority of the oxalic acid is in the leaves. There is however, some in the stems, which we eat. The oxalic acid in Barkeepers Friend is man made, mostly in China. China also manufactures the citric acid that goes in most foods, that are processed, containing this ingredient. Natural versus man made, you choose. Ergo, it would take a lot of rhubarb to use in Barkeepers Friend. Just a thought!
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:31 AM   #11
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I've read, but have not tried, that adding 1/4 tsp of baking soda to 2 cups of rhubarb permits a 1/3 reduction of the sugar needed to stew rhubarb.
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:08 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peat moss View Post
...Natural versus man made, you choose. Ergo, it would take a lot of rhubarb to use in Barkeepers Friend. Just a thought!
What's your point?

That we use rhubarb to clean our pots and pans because the oxalic acid is natural?
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:41 AM   #13
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What's your point?

That we use rhubarb to clean our pots and pans because the oxalic acid is natural?
My point is Andy. Why buy pots and pans that require a toxic cleaner to maintain the sheen. Whether you use rhubarb or not is not my mission. I was only curious why so many people are sold on stainless steel cookware.
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:55 AM   #14
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My point is Andy. Why buy pots and pans that require a toxic cleaner to maintain the sheen. Whether you use rhubarb or not is not my mission. I was only curious why so many people are sold on stainless steel cookware.
We all use "toxic" materials every day. The chemicals you find in soaps, shampoos, household cleaners and all not intended for ingestion. Oxalic acid is just one.

SS, in tri-ply form with aluminum, is the best material for all-around cooking. It's non-reactive, durable, chemically and physically stable, dishwasher safe and looks good to boot.

Just about any cookware will stain according to what you are cooking.
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:56 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peat moss View Post
My point is Andy. Why buy pots and pans that require a toxic cleaner to maintain the sheen. Whether you use rhubarb or not is not my mission. I was only curious why so many people are sold on stainless steel cookware.
Because of:

Its superior performance

Its accessable price

Its durability

It 's safe and nonreactive

Its ease of cleanup

It's widely sold

It looks good

I think i'ts bordering on the ridiculous to keep harping on the "toxicity" of Barkeeper's Friend and the huge task of cleaning SS pots and pans. Its a great product for the times you really need it. Most ofthe time your dishwasher or your hands and a scrubber are all you need.

Its not like you ingest it.

And its not like 1000 other products in your home aren't equally or more "toxic."

Oxalic acid is naturally occuring (as you have pointed out) and people ingest it all the time in the foods we eat.

For whatever reason you don't like stainless steel cookware. Fine. Don't buy it. But the truth is that it is a hugely popular workhorse of probably the majority of professional and home kitchens and has been for generations.
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:13 AM   #16
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I don't know about anyone else, but I rinse my pans quite well after using BKF. This all sounds like the making of a problem where there is none.
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:35 AM   #17
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I don't know about anyone else, but I rinse my pans quite well after using BKF. This all sounds like the making of a problem where there is none.
Enough on the stainless steel cleaner ingredient. I choose to keep as much toxic ingredients out of the food I prepare, as is possible. Whatever type of pans you use, is fine by me. It's a freedom of choice what you use to cook with, and what you use to clean the cookware. I have never used BFK ever but I will try it on rust staining coming from the well water.
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:40 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Enough on the stainless steel cleaner ingredient. I choose to keep as much toxic ingredients out of the food I prepare, as is possible. Whatever type of pans you use, is fine by me. It's a freedom of choice what you use to cook with, and what you use to clean the cookware. I have never used BFK ever but I will try it on rust staining coming from the well water.
Sorry, but I'm just not getting the point. I don't have a clue as to what cleaning a pan with BKF has to do with eating toxic ingredients.
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:59 AM   #19
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Sorry, but I'm just not getting the point. I don't have a clue as to what cleaning a pan with BKF has to do with eating toxic ingredients.
There is always residual effects from all cleaners even after rinsing them. Rinsing under running water or a sink full of rinse water is not enough, sometimes. I just do not have the time for fussy pots and pans that can't be cleaned with regular hot water from a tap, without cleaners, and some personal effort on my part. Where does the left over cleaner end up if you do not rinse well.
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:01 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suzyQ3 View Post
Sorry, but I'm just not getting the point. I don't have a clue as to what cleaning a pan with BKF has to do with eating toxic ingredients.
Me neither. You're not eating the stuff.
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