Bar Keepers Friend vs Ajax | What’s the Difference?

Bar Keepers Friend and Ajax are both powerful cleaners. Their powdered cleansers are formulated to remove the toughest messes, including rust, hard water buildup, grime, and more. So, what exactly is the difference between these two cleaning brands?

There’s a few differences between Bar Keepers Friend and Ajax, but the main difference is that Bar Keepers Friend doesn’t use bleach in any of its cleaners. Bar Keepers Friend also has some specialty products that Ajax doesn’t.

Do you want to learn more about the difference between Bar Keepers Friend and Ajax? We’re going to take a look at the products both brand offers, their affordability, and their effectiveness. Check out the rest of our detailed guide to learn more about these two cleaning brands.

What’s the Difference Between Bar Keepers Friend and Ajax?

The main difference between Bar Keepers Friend and Ajax is their ingredients. Bar Keepers Friend uses the power of oxalic acid as their main ingredient to eliminate tough stains and other messes, while Ajax relies on bleach in their cleanser.

The lack of bleach sets Bar Keepers Friend’s product apart from Ajax, and other top cleaning brands. Let’s dive into some more specifics about these two brands and how they’re different.

Bar Keepers Friend

Bar Keepers Friend was established in the late 1880s when a chemist by the name of George William Hoffman discovered the cleaning power of oxalic acid. He used this ingredient to create a powerful cleansing powder, which he then marketed to tavern owners.

That’s how this brand got its name, and it’s expanded since then to become one of the top non-bleach cleansers on the market. This brand was purchased by Dr. SerVaas in 1956 and has remained a family-owned business ever since.

What Products Does Bar Keepers Friend Offer?

Bar Keepers Friend has a wide variety of products available for cleaning different surfaces in your home. Here’s a quick review on each product this brand has to offer.

Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser Bar Keepers Friend Powdered Cleanser 12-Ounces (1-Pack)

This powdered cleaner is free of bleach, which makes it the perfect product for cleaning stainless steel, porcelain, ceramic, bronze, brass, fiberglass, chrome, and aluminum. Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser is a great product to use in your kitchen, bathroom, and on outdoor appliances such as grills and tools.

Bar Keepers Friend Superior Cookware Cleanser & Polish Bar Keepers Friend Superior Cookware Cleanser & Polish | 12-Ounces | 1-Unit

This product acts as a cleaner, degreaser, rust remover, and polish for your cookware. The Superior Cookware Cleanser is safe to use on all stainless steel cookware and glass lids. You can remove rust stains, baked or cooked-on messes, tough grease, and other residues with this superior product.

Bar Keepers Friend MORE Multi-Purpose Cleaner Bar Keepers Friend MORE Spray + Foam (25.4 oz) | Multipurpose Spray Cleanser and Rust Stain Remover | For Use on Countertops, Sinks, Bathtubs, Showers, Fixtures, Tile, and More (6)

When you have a build-up of mineral deposits, oily residues, rust stains, and everyday grime, the MORE Multi-Purpose Cleaner is the perfect product for you! This spray and foam cleaner cuts through tough messes and leaves your surfaces clean and shiny.

Bar Keepers Friend Granite & Stone Cleaner & Polish Bar Keepers Friend Granite & Stone Cleaner and Polish Cleaning Kit - Includes Bar Keeper's Friend Granite & Stone Cleaner(25.4 oz) and Polish Spray - 1 BKF Microfiber Cloth

You need a specially formulated cleaner to effectively clean and polish granite and stone surfaces. This Cleaner & Polish is tough on stains, grease, and grime. You can wipe away stains, food residue, and oily messes with this cleaner without worrying about damaging your stone or granite surface’s finish.

Bar Keepers Friend Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish Bar Keepers Friend Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish Cleaning Kit - Includes Bar Keeper's Friend Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish Spray(25.4 oz) - 1 BKF Microfiber Cloth

Stainless steel appliances can be difficult to clean while maintaining their shine. This Cleaner & Polish is effective at cleaning, shining, and protecting your stainless steel and other metal surfaces. This product easily removes fingerprints, dirt, debris, and grease while protecting the surface from a buildup of dust.

Bar Keepers Friend Toilet Bowl Cleaner Bar Keepers Friend Toilet Bowl Cleaner - 24 fl oz Each - Extra Thick Formula Cleans and Deodorizes, Removes Rust Stains and Mineral Deposits - 2 Pack

This Toilet Bowl Cleaner cleans and deodorizes from the moment it comes into contact with your toilet bowl. This product works effectively to break down tough messes and stains such as rust, grime, limescale, and more!

How to Use Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser?

Bar Keepers Friend has ensured that their products are easy and convenient to use. All you need to do is follow these simple steps to clean with their powder cleanser:

1. Wet the surface that needs cleaning

2. Sprinkle a small amount of cleanser on the surface

3. Rub with a damp sponge or cloth

4. Rinse the surface thoroughly

4. Dry with a clean cloth

What Are The Ingredients in Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser?

The ingredients in Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser are few because they believe in creating a simple yet effective formula. Here are the ingredients found in this product:

  • Glass Oxide Abrasive
  • Oxalic Acid
  • Surfactant

Is Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser Toxic?

Technically, Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser is considered toxic. One of their main active ingredients, oxalic acid, is a toxic substance that has corrosive properties. This means that it can cause serious damage to your skin if used inappropriately. Only use this product as directed and consider wearing a pair of cleaning gloves when working with it to protect your skin.


Ajax is part of the Colgate-Palmolive Company and introduced their first product on the market in 1947. Their dishwashing liquid, which has been one of their top selling cleaners, was introduced in 1971.

Their slogan has been, “Stronger than dirt!” since they first came out. This brand focuses on providing a range of cleaning products that tackle everyday messes around the house.

What Products Does Ajax Offer?

Ajax has a couple of great products to choose from. Let’s dive into a review on each so we can compare them to Bar Keepers Friend later in this guide.

Ajax Powder Cleanser With Bleach Ajax Powder Cleanser with Bleach, 14 oz (396 g) (2 Pack)

This powdered cleanser is ideal for cleaning durable surfaces such as chrome, porcelain, ceramic tile, and more! Ajax Cleanser is starch and phosphate free which makes it easy to rinse away when you’re finished cleaning.

Ajax Multi-Purpose Cleaner Ajax Lime Scented Multipurpose Cleaner 16.9 oz.

This Multi-Purpose Cleaner is great at cutting through grease and grime on surfaces around your home. You can get it in different fragrances, such as lime and orange. This cleaner is tougher than dirt and will remove everyday messes with ease.

Ajax Super Degreaser Dish Liquid Ajax Super Degreaser Dish Liquid-Lemon - 28 oz (Pack of 2)

For extra greasy dishes and cookware, the Ajax Super Degreaser Dish Liquid is the perfect soap to wash with. This dishwashing liquid is super effective at removing grease, grime, and food residue from your dishes and leaves them with a pleasant, fresh scent.

Ajax Professional Oxygen Bleach Powder Cleanser AJAX-14278 Professional Oxygen Bleach Powder Cleanser, Heavy Duty, Bulk Cleaner 21oz Can (Case of 24)

This Powder Cleanser by Ajax is chlorine-free so it can effectively clean away grime and other everyday messes without leaving behind that strong chlorine scent. This heavy duty formula cleans porcelain, pots and pans, stainless steel appliances, and more!

How to Use Ajax Powder Cleanser?

Ajax makes their powder cleansers super easy to use. You can follow these simple steps when cleaning with this product.

1. Wet surface

2. Sprinkle Ajax powder

3. Wipe with damp sponge or cloth

4. Rinse surface and allow to air dry

What Are The Ingredients in Ajax Powder Cleanser?

The ingredients in the Ajax powder cleanser are fairly limited and listed prominently on their website. Here’s a list of this product’s ingredients:

  • Sodium Dodecyl Benzene Sulfonate
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Soda Ash
  • Trichlorocyanuric Acid
  • Fragrance
  • Dye
  • Bleach

Is Ajax Powder Cleanser Toxic?

Ajax Powder Cleanser isn’t considered a toxic product, but it can still be harmful to your health if ingested. You should only use this product as directed, and contact a health care professional if you accidentally ingest some or develop a reaction after cleaning with it.

Comparison Questions (Bar keepers Friend vs Ajax)

Is Bar Keepers Friend or Ajax More Affordable?

One of the biggest factors when debating between cleaning products is their cost. Let’s face it, budgets are tight for everyone these days and you want to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

We’ve broken down the cost of both brand’s cleansers so you can see for yourself which is the more affordable cleaner.

Brand Price Per Ounce
Bar Keepers Friend $0.42
Ajax $0.23

As you can see from this table, Bar Keepers Friend is nearly double the price per ounce of Ajax’s cleanser. This definitely sets Ajax as the more affordable option.

Which Cleanser is More Powerful?

If you look at the ingredients in Ajax and Bar Keepers Friend, you’ll see that they are very different. Both products claim to serve the same purpose, but with such different ingredients, how do you determine which is the more powerful cleanser?

Looking at reviews from customers who have tried either product in the past, it appears that Bar Keepers Friend is the more powerful cleanser. This product seems to provide a more thorough clean with less elbow grease required.

Which Provides A Larger Variety of Products?

Which Provides A Larger Variety of Products

Ajax and Bar Keepers Friend both provide a large variety of products, and each brand has something that the other does not. Ajax has dish washing liquid, while Bar Keepers Friend have a cleaner and polish for stone and granite.

Each brand has a solid variety of products, but Bar Keepers Friend has more specialty products such as their Stone & Granite cleaner and their toilet bowl cleaner.

Which Product is More Environmentally Friendly?

Despite the addition of oxalic acid, Bar Keepers Friend is the more environmentally friendly product. Their cleanser is biodegradable and safe for use in homes with septic systems. Their product is also free of phosphates, making it a more eco-friendly product than Ajax.

Related Questions

Does Bar Keepers Friend Have Bleach?

Bar Keepers Friend is one of the most popular non-bleach cleansers on the market. This brand utilizes the power of oxalic acid to break down and eliminate tough stains and messes instead of bleach.

What Should You Not Use Bar Keepers Friend On?

You shouldn’t use Bar Keepers Friend on porous surfaces, such as concrete or wood. It’s also not safe to use on painted or lacquered surfaces. Only use this product as directed and, if you’re unsure about whether it’s suitable for use on a certain surface, try testing some on a small area first.

Which Cleans Better Comet or Ajax?

Comet and Ajax have similar formulas for their powdered cleanser, but customer reviews of each product show Ajax works better. Their product cuts through tough grime, grease, and other buildup better than Comet’s.

The Verdict – Which Is Better?

In the debate between Bar Keepers Friend vs Ajax, we’ve taken a look at the products both brands offer, their affordability, and their effectiveness. After taking all of this in, it’s clear that Bar Keepers Friend is the better cleaner. They’re more environmentally friendly and powerful than Ajax. Bar Keepers Friend also offers more specialty products than Ajax does. So, if you need a reliable cleanser for tough messes on the surfaces in your home, give Bar Keepers Friend a try!