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The Do’s and Don’ts of Using BKF on Antique Trinkets

January 24, 2024

Should you use BKF on antique trinkets? It depends. For example, let’s say that last week you were in a thrift store and saw what looked to be a mid-century brass bracelet, but you didn’t buy it because it was totally covered in tarnish, grime, and something that looked like rust. Go back to the shop and see if it’s still there. Yes, do it, because if its brass, copper, or a stainless-steel antique trinket, Bar Keepers Friend can bring it back to life!

You’ll need only the original Powdered Cleanser, a non-abrasive sponge, a soft-bristled toothbrush, a little water, and a dry, soft polishing cloth like microfiber.

Cleaning Antique Brass, Copper, and Stainless-Steel Trinkets

To clean brass, copper, and stainless-steel trinkets including antique rings, broaches, necklaces, and bracelets with Bar Keepers Friend, follow these steps:

  • Dampen a soft cloth and use it to wet the trinket.
  • Apply Bar Keepers Friend Powdered Cleanser to a non-abrasive sponge.
  • Gently rub the brass jewelry with the sponge, ensuring even coverage.
  • For hard-to-access areas, use a soft-bristled toothbrush if needed.
  • Let the cleanser sit on the jewelry for about one minute or two at the most.
  • Rinse the jewelry thoroughly with water.
  • Use a soft cloth to dry, buff, and polish the brass trinket until it shines.

What about Silver and Gold Antique Trinkets?

If you look online, you’ll find examples where BKF fans have used our powder on gold and silver (sterling silver is OK). However, we advise against it. If you’re tempted to try our products on these non-recommended surfaces, or you’re uncertain about what the metal is, we suggest you test a small spot first.

Can You Use the Soft Cleaner on Silver and Gold?

We’ve also seen posts where people have used to recommend Bar Keepers Friend Soft Cleanser on gold and silver, but we do not recommend it. Our soft cleanser is a liquid-premixed version of the original powder cleanser and should not be used on silver and gold, especially antique trinkets. It can, however, be used on brass, bronze, copper, stainless steel, and aluminum.

And Don’t:

  • Don’t leave our product on for more than a couple of minutes. Doing so could damage the finish. If the trinket is extremely tarnished, rather than let the cleanser sit too long, wipe it off after a couple of minutes and repeat the process as needed.
  • Don’t use abrasive pads, abrasive sponges, brushes, or steel wool to prevent scratching your antique.
  • Don’t combine Bar Keepers Friend with other cleaners. Many cleaners contain bleach, ammonia, and other chemicals that, when mixed with BKF non-bleach formulas, can create toxic fumes.
  • Don’t add baking soda, vinegar, or other household chemicals to BKF. All you need to add is water to the powder.

What Others Had to Say

“If you have Alex and Ani bracelets in the Rafaleian gold finish (brass with a gold color finish), use Bar Keepers Friend to remove tarnish, and they will look brand new. Great stuff in general; it’s the only thing that gets scuffs and stains out of my farmhouse sink.” — BdBurchell

“It can restore tarnished jewelry. Whether you snag a jewelry piece from a thrift store that’s looking a bit worse or find one in your jewelry box that is tarnished, Bar Keepers Friend can help, says Vieira. Wet the piece with a soft cloth, then apply the powder to a sponge and wipe on the tarnished areas. Let sit for a minute before rinsing with water, then buff dry with a soft cloth. The Bar Keepers Friend will break down the tarnish, so your jewelry looks new!”  — For Women First Magazine

Here’s a video showing how miraculous BKF is for your antique trinkets!

Powdered Cleanser and More!

People have used Bar Keepers Friend Powdered Cleanser to clean jewelry since 1882 when the trinkets were new and not antiques! Today, we offer the powder cleanser and a wide range of cleaning products that are tough on stains and gentle on surfaces. If you’d like to try our Powdered Cleanser or one of our other products, they’re only one click away on Amazon.

About the Author

Randy Clark - Headshot

Randy Clark is a speaker, coach, and author. He publishes a weekly blog at Randy Clark Randy is passionate about social media, leadership development, and flower gardening. He’s a beer geek, and on weekends (after COVID-19), he can be found fronting the Rock & Roll band Under the Radar. He’s the proud father of two educators; he has four amazing grandchildren and a wife who dedicates her time to helping others. Randy is the author of the Amazon bestseller The New Manager’s Workbook: A crash course in effective management.




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