Many items around the house develop stains, discolorations, or dirty films that regular spray cleaners just don’t remove very effectively, if at all. You might have coffee or tea stains on cups and mugs. There might be gray marks on your dishes and ceramic cookware from metal utensils or scuff marks on floors. Stainless steel sinks and fiberglass shower stall bases and walls might show a dull film that makes them always look dirty. Porcelain sinks often show stains and metallic marks. Glass and ceramic cooktops develop discolorations. Pots, pans, chrome, copper and brass surfaces around the house all eventually require cleaning and polishing. In the bathroom, sinks, ceramic tiles, grout and toilets develop hard water and rust stains. The list goes on and on and continues outdoors.mild abrasive cleaning powders

All these surfaces need to be cleaned without scratching them. You probably already have some types of mild abrasive cleansers in the house. A very mild abrasive is corn starch, yes the same thing you use to thicken gravy. Another mild abrasive you probably have in the kitchen is baking soda. Just dampen the surface that needs to be cleaned and sprinkle on one of these powders. Scrub with a damp sponge or  dish cloth, then rinse. Baking soda will help soften some some food-related substances you are trying to remove, so let the dampened baking soda sit on the surface for a while  before trying again. Sprinkle on more as needed. Another mild abrasive you probably have around the house that was mentioned in a prior post is toothpaste, but not the gel variety.

If these mild abrasives  don’t work well, then look for either Bar Keepers Friend® or Bon Ami® in your grocery or hardware store’s cleaning section. Each one is available in powdered and liquid forms, though not all stores carry these brands or variations. Bon Ami is known for its slogan, “Hasn’t Scratched Yet!”®. Bar Keepers Friend uses a different mix of mild abrasives and adds in oxalic acid to help brighten metal and remove certain types of stains. Don’t cringe about this scary sounding name. Oxalic acid actually occurs naturally in a wide variety of foods that we eat, such as broccoli, chives, parsley, spinach, rhubarb and sweet potatoes. It is also made through a chemical process. Oxalic acid is good at removing rust stains and bleaching out black stains from wood caused by water penetration.

When cleaning surfaces with any caked-on food or dirt, remove what you can with a non-scratch scraper, such as the Scrigit™ Scraper cleaning tool. Soften these unwanted substances with water or with a combination of water and one of these mild abrasive cleansers. Use these non-scratch cleansers to clean off and brighten a wide variety of stains, marks and discolorations. Read the package labels of the commercial cleansers for specific directions and warnings.