I’ve noticed that there something of a natural progression when you start canning, even if it’s on a very small scale. Suddenly you start looking around your home and looking for ways that you can streamline, simplify and make from scratch. Several years ago, I started replacing counter top cleaners with vinegar solutions and powdered bleach scrubs with baking soda. And they were pretty darn good for a variety of basic cleaning.
Thing is, there were a couple things that those more natural cleansers didn’t do particularly well. For instance, the enamel in my bathroom sink is chipped near the drain and it bleeds rust on a daily basis (we haven’t replaced the sink because the whole bathroom must eventually be gutted, but it is still serviceable so we soldier on). It needs aggressive scrubbing with something more potent than baking soda. But after all the energy that went into ridding my home of chemical cleaners that made me light-headed, I didn’t want to invite them back for this one job.
A couple of weeks ago, the answer arrived* in the form of a box of Bon Ami products. Made from feldspar and a gentle soap, it’s an incredibly easy to use and made quick work of my rust stains (it also worked on rust-stained jars). You just rub a web cloth or sponge over the Bon Ami bar and scrub. It’s a fantastic complement to my arsenal of vinegar spray and baking soda (I must say, their spray cleaner is also terrific and has the added bonus of not smelling like pickles).
Now, I realize that I sound a little like an ad here. But truly, I’m a bit smitten with the Bon Ami bar (and the powder too). I’ve always had a weakness for old fashioned ways of doing things (which is probably why I started canning in the first place) and so I get an unnatural amount of satisfaction from using something that my great-grandmother may well have applied to her own sinks and tubs.
You’ll be excited to learn that Bon Ami has given me two more of these cleaning kits to giveaway here. To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment on this post and share a story about cleaning unguents, solutions, powders or soaps (do you make your own cleansers? Did you grow up with Bon Ami? What’s your take on hand soap – bar or liquid?). Comments will close at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, June 7, 2011. The winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. This giveaway is only open to residents of the United States (my apologies to all you reading from Canada and beyond).
One last thing. Because we’re in the social media age and all, I thought I’d mention that Bon Ami is on Facebook and they’re currently running a contest for a chance to win a green house cleaning. If you feel so moved, you can toss your hat in that ring too.
*I was sent this box of cleaning products at no cost to me. However, my elbow grease and opinions are all my own.
I’d love to win! I just started using homemade laundry soap (powder) and so far love it!
I love making my own solutions, from laundry detergent (borax, washing soda, fels naphtha soap)to making my own mixes for baking and cooking. Oh, and lip balm! Making your own means you control the ingredients and your hand/home made stuff make great gifts!
I use the Bon Ami scouring powder, but I’ve never seen any of their other products.
I make liquid laundry soap from glycerin soap, washing soda and borax with essential oils. It smells so much nicer than commercial laundry detergent and doesn’t irritate my skin.
I’ve noticed Bon Ami products only recently (can’t remember now which store I saw them in) and have been wondering about them. I am glad to hear they work so well and would love to give them a try. I have recently been switching over to more natural cleaners that we are mixing up ourselves, but sometimes we feel the need to resort to bleach (clearly I am still weaning myself off of the bad stuff).
I have used Bon Ami powder for years in the bathroom – – – but I never knew they made other products! I try to make most of my cleaning products from vinegar, baking soda, castille, etc. but it’s always nice to find a gentle, non-irritating store-bought product as well . . . thanks for the giveaway!
I make my own laundry soap! I want to make my own counter top cleaner & floor cleaner. I love some of the ladies ideas above! Thank you!
I grew up using Bon Ami to clean the bathroom sink and tub every week. I didn’t even realize it was still around. One day mom just replaced it with the “new” Soft Scrub. I may have to return to an old, safer favorite.
With 3 large dogs, I make my own laundry soap of washing soda, borax and fels naptha…works great! I haven’t yet found a good recipe for the dishwasher…some things were too harsh and turned the old time silverware dark. I’ve used Bon Ami for awhile…getting used to the new labeling….would love to try that bar! Best Wishes…
I’ve never used Bon Ami but would love to try it. I want to switch to healthier cleaning solutions but so far all I’ve tried is a new dish soap and couldn’t really tell if I was using anything because there weren’t many bubbles! Since then, I haven’t really been sure what to use.
Ugh – cleaning. Much as I love my house, I hate cleaning it. I try to make the task(s) more environmentally friendly with purchased (not home made) cleaners and that has extended to seeking other ways to have less impact (upgraded appliances as I can afford them, concentrated cleaners, using more natural fibers around the house). I’d love to win to further expand my repertoire of tried-and-true, not too fancy cleaners I use around the house.
you know, i can’t really say i have a cleaning story. … well, except there was that time when I was first learning to can and a jar of tomatoes exploded all over the kitchen. All Over the kitchen. Even the ceiling looked like a warzone. It scared my mother nearly to death. Cleaning that up was … interesting. I am proud to say, there have been no further explosions.
I have been looking into making or using better for everyone cleaning products and these seem like they fit the bill. it’s nice of you to have this giveaway.
I know I need to start using better cleaning products for my own health because I feel plain AWFUL after I’m done cleaning our bathrooms. Hopefully I’ll win this 😀 but if not I think I’ll go out and by some Bon Ami for me.
I’m a bar soap fan, though liquid soap can be very convenient at the kitchen sink.
I grew up with a Dundee orange marmalade jar (back when they were a clay like material and very heavy) filled with pink Dreft baby clothing laundry soap powder. A metal spoon was inside to pour the right amount of powder into your hands. We used this instead of bar soap and I never heard of liquid soap existing in the 1970’s.
My mom used Bon Ami all the time, but I mostly use Mrs.Meyer’s and Greening the Cleaning (although it’s difficult to find now, and shipping is absurdly expensive). I would love to give Bon Ami a try. I also had no clue that it came in liquid form – – cool!
Well, I like to clean with baking soda and vinegar, but a former inhabitant of my apartment left a lot of stuff when she moved out. She left us some useful furniture but also a bunch of harsh cleaning products, which we’ve been slowly using up or giving away on Craigslist, since I guess they won’t really do the world any more good in a landfill. Just used up another one last week!
This is the second mention of Bon Ami that I’ve heard in the last week- it’s officially on my must try list- I only knew of the powder…nice to have options!
I would love to know where to buy Bon Ami in my area–over thirty years ago a can of it was given to me in a shower gift along with some Corningware that I still use, and the lady who gave it raved about it for getting burned food off of the Corningware without scratches. She was right, and I used it for a lot of things but hadn’t seen it in years! Glad to know they have a website, hopefully it will have retailer info!
Nice to hear of new cleaning products. Have used the powder cleaner for years but the bar and spray cleaner are new to me. Thanks for the information and opportunity to win a good new product. Great blog!
Been using Trader Joes products. I did try baking soda and washing soda mixture for the dishwasher but the other stuff works better. I’d like to try these products.
I would love to try these. I have been at truce with the rust on my jars, but I would love to get it off. If I don’t win, I may track down a bar of this stuff anyway.
Oh my word! I have exactly that problem in my kitchen bathroom. The one that EVERYONE uses, of course. I’m on my way to find a box today. thanks for the tip,,,and everything else you write about.!!!YEAH
I remember seeing Bon Ami under the sink in my Mother’s kitchen and I do use the power from time to time. I am working on eventually making my own laundry soap, baby steps.
a paste of baking soda and vinegar is great for cleaning the oven
I love Bon Ami – I’ve used it since I left home for college. My sister and I lived together during college, and we had (and still have) a spray bottle of vinegar, a spray bottle of hydrogen peroxide, a spray bottle of “glass cleaner” (1/2 water, 1/2 vinegar, and a good glug of rubbing alcohol), a can of Bon Ami, a small dropper bottle of bleach (for random stubbornness), and eco-friendly toilet cleaner (I use Seventh Generation because Seattle water turns my toilet orange; she lives in Baltimore and can get away with scrubbing with more vinegar / H202).
Oh yeah, I recently started scrubbing my teeth with pure baking soda… seems to work pretty well!
Another benefit is that gallons of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide are super-cheap!
I’ve never used Bon Ami products but would love to. I like Method Home cleaning producs.
Vinegar and baking soda is far more effective on my tub than any of the organic/biodegradable cleaning products available commercially. (You’re right about the rust issue though!) Sometime I throw in some kosher salt to make a grittier scrubbing agent.
I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making my own soap. This is my chance if I win.
I haven’t tried Bon Ami, but would like to. Sometimes I use homemade cleaners, sometimes I go for the commercial stuff. It really just depends on what I’m cleaning and how much time I have!
I’ve been told to try Bon Ami before, because most of the chemical cleaners on the market don’t seem to do the job. Would love to try!
I’ve recently discovered the amazingness of baking soda to clean cooked-on food on my stovetop. I had milk boil over onto my white enameled stovetop and every harsh cleaner I tried did little to nothing to loosen the crud. I finally made a paste of baking soda and water, left it on for a bit, added some vinegar and scrubbed, and everything came off! It was really eye-opening, and I now try to use baking soda in my cleaning whenever possible!
As for bar vs. liquid soap for hand soap, liquid, hands down. In the shower, bar soap is fine (and even preferred), but when in comes down to washing hands after using the bathroom, bar soap skeeves me out. Especially in public locations.
I have been seriously afflicted with the “make-it-yourself” bug recently. I have just started home canning and have been making my own laundry soap and lots of other things and am loving it! Really enjoying your blog too!
I’m kind of obsessed with vintagey cleaning solutions. I don’t know why. I try to use vinegar solutions to clean everything, but I’ve yet to catch on to the whole baking soda thing…
I have the worst shower in the world… old, metal, rusty & prone to mold in a day. My landlords are very reluctant to replace/update, I still haven’t figured out why. I loved reading your post – I’m going to order some today!
I like bar soap myself. I have been reading about making my own cleaning solutions, just not a big fan of the smell of vinegar. I like some of the suggestions in the comments here, I might have to try them!
Rust stains! No way! I really need some of this. I switched to baking soda and vinegar (even for clogged drains- works great!) but rust is something I can’t get rid of.
I just noticed the repackaging yesterday in Hannaford. I think it’s a sign 🙂
As for preferred cleaning products, I agree with many of the posters here that I am constantly looking for less chemical-y, safer products to use around the home. My grandfather used vinegar to clean everything, and I wonder sometimes if that’s not one of the most versatile cleaning products out there.
I grew up with Bon Ami. It’s gentle on surfaces and works really well, so I try to use it wherever I can.
Vinegar and baking soda are what I use for most things. I’m always looking to try something new, though.
I make my own bar soap, hand soap, shampoo and laundry soap from the bar soap, “soft scrub” from baking soda and castille soap, surface cleaner from vinegar or diluted borax with essential oils, carpet fresh from baking soda and essential oils, etc. I sometimes teach a class on making soap or making “green” cleaning products.
I like vinegar for many things. Also, did you know that if you spray it around the floor in the bathroom, those water bugs stay away?
Mostly using Baking Soda, Vinegar and some Castille soap currently for household cleaning. I had never heard of Bon Ami before now. I am loving some of the recipes in the comments here!
I just discovered a non toxic way to clean rust from chrome (on my bicycle fenders)… take some tinfoil, and loosely bunch into a ball, squeeze some lemon juice onto it and then use some good ‘ol elbow grease. Remember to rinse after though so you don’t aide to more rust creation.
i love cleaning with products that dont require gloves!
Oooh! I’ve not tried their product, count me in!
Pretty much cleaning is a necessary evil in my eyes. I hate using caustic, dangerous chemicals so I don’t, but then some things just don’t seem to get as clean as the would with say bleach. I’ve been itching to try Bon Ami especially for my enameled cast iron and stainless steel sink that has a tendency to build up mineral deposits. Maybe this will be my chance!
I use eco-friendly cleaners like Mrs Myers Clean Day and Seventh Generation. Would love to try Bon Ami.
I keep vinegar, baking soda and Dr. B’s around for any and all of my cleaning needs but I would love to try Bon Ami and have heard lots of good things about them!
This is awesome. I don’t really use many cleaning products other than Dr. Bronners and elbow grease, and it had honestly never occurred to me that there might be a safe way to clean rust from jars. Would love to try it! Also, for anyone who wants to learn more, I highly recommend Sandra Steingraber’s books for a very enjoyable and readable discussion on the effects of chemicals on our bodies.
I use a mix of bar (my purchases) and liquid (gifts) soap, but all of the liquid soap gets diluted and run through foam dispensers (I took a few empties from friends – after I failed to convince them that they could make their own foam soap just as easily!). Living in Baltimore, I’d LOVE to try Bon Ami on my marble steps. 🙂
I was introduced to Fels-Naptha soap when I came into a bad case of poison ivy. I was told to shave the soap into the washer water to help remove the urushiol oils that might still be in my clothing.
I wonder if I can still use it in the wash now that I have one of those energy-efficient front loaders?
I’m just starting to use vinegar for most household cleaning, but I’ve been meaning to check out Bon Ami as I’ve heard great things!
I love bon ami! I had no idea that they also have a bar and spray, as I only have the powder available in my grocery. I would love to try the spray and bar. Thanks for sharing such great products.
i have never used these products, but am fully committed to using vinegar and baking soda in cleaning on a regular basis. i typically use white vinegar for everything… some things apple cider, i guess! ok! i hope i win!
Oh, I would love to try the Bon Ami bar. I’ve got rust stains on one of my bathroom sink drains too. Cleaning products, well, I still use mostly conventional ones. Although, in the last couple of months I’ve been moving toward more natural hair and skin care products. Did you know a dilute apple cider vinegar solution is fantastic for making hair soft and shiny? So it’s probably just a matter of time until I move toward more natural household cleaners too.
I love Bon Ami — I’ve used the powder for years, as did my mother. I didn’t know that there was a cleaning bar, though. The thing about the Bon Ami powder is that it last forever, in addition to being cheap and low impact.
What’s not to like? I’d live to try the bar.
I would love to try a product that gets rust off jars! As far as cleaning products go, I try to stay natural but have had an awful time with burned on carbon on the cooktop and on cooking pans. A friend told me about Carbon-Off spray and it did the trick. Even safe on Aluminum.
I have been using baking soda to clean my counters, Comet to kill my ants, vinegar to soften my clothes. Now to discover the alternative to using the bleach/baking soda cocktail to remove stains on my porcelain sink. I would love to win one of the kits so I could discover how many other ways it could reduce my chemical exposure (and having pantry space not filled with cleaning products or cabinets full of allergy meds is a wonderful thing). Please keep blogging, I really enjoy reading your work.
I’ve been looking for natural and/or organic cleaning solutions since, lately (in the past 6-12 months), regular (chemical) products have been exacerbating my allergies. Talk about making cleaning a chore!
I don’t have a story about Bon Ami per se, but I do remember one of my history professors repeatedly telling a story about a friend in the USSR stocking up on Bon Ami, because you never knew what you’d be able to trade it for later. Do you think this would work to take stains out of a countertop? My roommate’s pots have left black circles on the white countertop.
I grew up in a Comet household. But my husband grew up with Bon Ami, and introduced me to it when we got married. Had no clue that they have a bar, however, so I will have to nag my local store to carry it!
I’ve always wanted to try Bon Ami – I’ve heard about using feldspar (sp?) in making home made laundry detergent. I would love to try this product!
We live in the land of vinegar, baking soda and boiling water (good for sticky drains). My mom used all of these when I was little, but man, scrubbin’ bubbles was my favorite cleaner when I was a teen… it rocked through the grime with very little effort, just like it promised. It felt so satisfying to have the chemical do all the work…
I’d never heard of Bon Ami till I was in my 30s or so – we were a Comet household too, as I was growing up. I tried making my own dishwasher soap for a while, but found it kept drying out in the bottle (even capped) and becoming quite useless, along with scratching my glassware. I do still try to use vinegar around the house when I can. Unfortunately, my husband hates the smell of it. So I’ve mostly switched to Mrs. Meyers and Seventh Generation for cleaning products (depending on what our grocery stores choose to carry and who has unscented at the time). I do still use white vinegar in the laundry, however. As for personal hygeine – liquid soap all the way. No bar soap for me or my husband.
My mom uses bon ami and swears by it. I would love to give it a try and see if it works as well as everyone says.
We like the bar soap called Kirk’s Castile. I keep a bar at my mudroom sink and it’s great for cleaning up greasy, grimy hands that come in from the barn, shop or garden. I also make my own cleaners. One I like is for a powdered cleanser. You take 4 parts baking soda and 1 part borax. Add essential oils (opt) and pour into a cheese shaker. It shakes out much better than straight baking soda. I like homemade laundry powder too. 1 bar Fels Naptha (or Ivory Bar), 1 c. washing soda, 1 c. borax, 1 c. baking soda. My daughter is using it for her baby’s laundry as well as her everyday laundry. I use it too.
I’d love to try the Bon Ami bar. I’ve never seen it.
What a fun giveaway! I grew up using Comet and Ajax, but was introduced to Bon Ami by my hippie Berkeley roommates. I’ve actually switched over to the Bon Ami powder completely, but have never seen the cleaning cake before and am super curious now.
I use a vinegar mix with lavender and eucalyptus oils, they seem to kill the scent when combined.
Would love to try the Bon ami, baking soda isn’t cutting it!
I love Bon Ami powder already but I’ve never seen the bar. Please consider me entered, oh randomizer of fortune!
Just tonight, I was researching how to make homemade laundry detergent and here this is. Need to get me some!
I like to put a little bit of essential oil in my homemade cleaners. Though I admit, I still use the chemical stuff for some things. The Bon Ami bar sounds pretty awesome–I will definitely have to try it (even if I don’t win :)).