Kohler says “no” to: Magic Eraser, Comet, Bar Keepers Friend, Zud, vinegar… for cleaning its porcelain enamel cast iron

do not use comet zud bar keepers friend magic eraser on porcelain enamelWarning: This is a kinda epic story about cleaning products for your Kohler porcelain enamel cast iron bath tubs and sinks.

And please note:

Disclaimer: Here on the blog, as homeowners ourselves, we may try new cleaning products aimed at solving our own cleaning problems; if we think we’ve found something promising to consider, we may write about it. But, we are not professional chemists or engineers or home economists. So, please: Do your own research into these products and their suitability for your projects before trying them. More info in Terms of Use.

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I recently wrote about my positive experience using a product called ROG1 to clean the dirty, slip-resistant bottom on my Kohler tub. I found ROG1 sold alongside another ROG product — ROG3, which is explicitly recommended on the Kohler website. The ROG1 worked like a dream to clean the eight years of baked on dirt on my bathtub’s slip resistant bottom. I am now a total convert, it’s changed my life, my bathtub is now easy to clean. But, keep reading, because as you will see, ROG1 is not explicitly recommended by Kohler, so I went to try and dig deeper.

Readers’ comments, too, launched me into asking Kohler some more question. You see, ROG1 is expensive — about $50 for the minimum order, which includes one bottle each of ROG1 and ROG3, including shipping. Not surprisingly, in their comments on my story, a number of readers balked at the thought of paying this price. As alternatives, they began to recommend other, much less expensive products they said that they had used effectively to clean the porcelain enamel on their cast iron bathroom fixtures, including: Magic Eraser, Comet, Bar Keepers Friend and Zud (my husband’s blunt cleaning instrument of choice). There also were mentions of baking soda. And of vinegar.

Hmmmm. I was suspicious about using these products on the porcelain cast iron. I have used these products on various surfaces in the past, and sure, they can lift the dirt like nobody’s business. But I thought: If Kohler was not recommending these well-known, potent cleaners, it might well be because they damage the finish on their porcelain cast iron bathroom and kitchen fixtures.

So I contacted Kohler and sure enough, they warn against using a number of these other, powerful cleansers because of testing and/or concerns that ingredients in them can harm Kohler’s shiny durable porcelain-enamel-on-cast-iron finish. Here is the text of our emails back and forth:

Pam to Kohler: In the comments section of my original story, a number of readers are saying how they use other products (not on your recommended list) including: Bar Keeper’s Friend, Zud, Magic Eraser, Comet, etc. My question to Kohler: Will these products ultimately etch the surface or destroy the high gloss on the cast iron or otherwise “damage” the cast iron finish?

Kohler PR responded:

Adam Horwitz, director of Kohler kitchen product marketing and cast iron development, tried to respond to the cleaning agents he saw in the comments:

Magic Eraser — Use sparingly only.  It can cause harm to the finish.  For example, you can use it to remove metal marks on a kitchen sink.  Another tip to remove marks from cast iron, scrub with a wine cork.  Not only will the sink get clean but you can enjoy a good bottle of wine.

Comet — Do not use.  It is an abrasive agent that will dull the finish over time.

Bar Keeper’s Friend — In our testing, we have found that Bar Keeper’s Friend can discolor the enamel when used over a period of time.

Zud — We have not tested Zud on our enamel.  However, we do see that it has similar ingredients to Bar Keeper’s Friend.

Pam to Kohler: What about home-made solutions using baking soda? What about vinegar?

Kohler PR responded:

Baking soda is fine since it is non-abrasive.  We have not specifically tested vinegar as a cleaning agent so we do not have data when it is used in a strong dose and left remaining on the sink.  Vinegar is acidic so it causes us some hesitation.  If homeowners are going to use it as cleaning agent, we recommend rinsing the area with water after use.

Pam to Kohler:  Why have you recommended the cleaning products you have recommended — and should owners of your cast iron fixtures avoid using anything but your recommended products and for what good reason?

Adam Horwitz, Kohler:

Kohler has done extensive testing of a variety of cleaning products and their effects on our cast iron products over time. We have listed the recommended cleaning products based on the results of this testing and advise that consumers avoid using other cleaners as they can dull or even damage the enamel coating on our cast iron products.

Pam keeps going, knowing she is probably being annoying and asks, “I’m curious about the active ingredients that are harmful”:

Kohler PR responds:

I am sure our development team could respond to a specific active ingredient question, but might not be able to address all active ingredients (there were many tests done, so the data is quite extensive).

Pam checks Kohlers list of recommended cleaners and realizes that Kohler has explicitly okayed ROG3, but not ROG1 – which is the ROG product Pam used on her tub. (Sorry to keep referring to myself in the royal third person — I’m trying to ensure the Q&A flows.) She asks Kohler about this…

Kohler checks and says:

ROG 1 is a cream cleanser (containing a mild abrasive) that is designed to remove stubborn stains.  We have not tested this cleaner on our enamel, but after looking at the MSDS, it appears to be safe (no acid).  ROG III [sic] is a liquid cleaner that is designed to clean and maintain the slip guard surface.  ROG 3 is the product we recommend on the Kohler Care & Cleaning website.

However, Pam is not done yet. On the ROG website, ROG1 (the cream cleanser Pam used) is described as “Kohler recommended” — but it is not listed explicitly as such on the Kohler website. So, Pam reaches out to the owner of the ROG product line and we talk about why this product is missing from the Kohler list. Then Pam sends Kohler another email:

Pam to Kohler: Thank you. Alas, I am not done yet… I reached out to the inventor of ROG1 and ROG3 and asked him why ROG1 had not been tested by Kohler. He said that, yes, it had been tested by Kohler — in the 1990s. Specifically, he said he worked with a man named [not included her, but provided to Kohler]. The inventor said that ROG1 was tested and approved then. Can you check this out for me? I just want to be as thorough as possible.

Kohler PR responds:

Hello Pam,

That’s interesting. I went back and double-checked, and our team says that we would have to retest with our current standards and knowledge. A test from the 1990s may be different from our current process. However, we have no immediate plans to retest it.

Hope this helps.

And there’s more…

Update on the labeling of ROG1:

Note, that in my subsequent use of ROG1 I saw that the label said it contained “Sulfonic Acid” — even though the owner of these ROG products says on their website, and has said on this blog in comments, that there is no acid in their products. So, I sent an email to ask about this discrepancy. Here is the exchange, and the company’s response:

I wrote to Vince Vallone, owner of the company:

This is Pam from Retro Renovation. I was just using ROG1 and noticed that an ingredient listed on the label is “Sulfonic Acid”. However, I don’t see this listed on the MSDS <– linked here. And you said this as a comment, “Yes Gina the ROG products are not caustic, no acids, many folks don’t realize the the grocery store and walmart caries many acid contained cleaners and will dull the bathtub over years, magic eraser has acid, 409 scrubbing bubbles and many more.”
Can you clarify?
 Thank you, Pam
 Vince Vallone, owner of the company replied via email, this is edited slightly because I asked one followup question and incorporated the response here:
Hello Pam
Hope all is well and we appreciate your follow up.
 The ROG 1 cream contains no acids.
After your e-mail….
Well we researched this and found the mistake and figured out what went wrong with the labeling.
We many years ago manufactured a deck and hull cleaner similar to the ROG 1 but it was called BCD’s deck and hull cleaner product named ROG 9
The ROG 9 Deck and Hull cleaner for the yachting, and boating industry this product had the sulfonic acid in the proprietary mixture and our bottle printer who prints the data on the bottle left this acid statement on the ROG 1 label, by mistake we never caught it till you mentioned it. Thank you, your new name should be retro-thour-ough-. LOL.
The ROG 9 was an experimental cleaner we tried years ago the formulas was to clean exhaust fumes on the aft side of the boat from inboard engines exhaust marks from the diesel engines and worked great but it never took off as expected so we stopped production on this product. Both were created around the same time, as we also had Glass cleaner and deodorizers, we no longer make.
But leave it up to you with your great journalism to find this mistake. Again thank you, we have now taken steps to remove that error from all future ROG1 bottles.
Thank you for looking at our mistake and we have now taken steps to remove this on all the ROG 1 bottles.

Pam returns solidly to the first person. Are you still with me?

Golly, I had no idea I would become the queen of clean on this research question.

Furthermore: I will relay a bit more of my conversation with the inventor of ROG1 and ROG3. He told me that his two cleaners include a “calcium reducer”. I am not a chemist, so I repeated back to him what I thought this meant. I said:

So what I hear you saying is that, it’s not really just dirt and scum that’s mucking up our bathtubs and tile and sinks, etc. It’s dirt and scum trapped and solidified by the calcium in our water. That is why companies like Kohler and others instruct — as part of instructions how to keep your tub/tile/shower clean — to ‘wipe down your tub’ or ‘wipe down your shower’ every time you use it. They want for you to get the water droplets (which contain dirt-capturing calcium) off these surfaces before they dry and begin to solidify all the gunk.

Yes, Mr. ROG1/3 told me. That’s it exactly.

I do not ever envision myself wiping down my tub, shower, tile, grout, sink, every time I use them. Do you? I think our grannies running those granny ranches may have, though!

My takeaways from all this:

  • Use Kohler-recommended products only. Readers: See Kohler’s page on the care and cleaning of their porcelain on cast iron sinks, tubs and shower bases here. This page includes their list of recommended products for cleaning cast iron — the glossy part, and the special slip-resistant bottoms. Some of these products are available at the grocery store, so they will be way cheaper than ROG1 and ROG3, so if you are still “searching” you could try the less expensive brands first.
  • Don’t use harsh cleaners or abrasives — read all the verbotens at the top of this story. Take note of Kohler’s warnings about the other products discussed at the beginning of this story. I am no chemist, but it sounds to me like anything “acidic” or “abrasive” can wreck your shiny pretty porcelain enamel finish, over time.
  • I still don’t think the grocery-store cleaners, even though “approved”, get the job done.  Me, I am done messin’ around any more with the household cleaners on Kohler’s list found at the grocery store. Kohler told me in this email that the ROG1 “appears to be safe (no acid)”, so I will continue using it, along with ROG3.
  • Note: No one is payin’ me to promote specific products. I got writing on this tangent because I was embarrassed, in a video I made, about the ick at the bottom of my bath tub. Opinions are my own, and I encourage you do to your own research.

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Comments

  1. Jeanne says

    I appreciate all the research on finding the best product to clean our porcelain enamel bathtubs. I am tired of using multiple products and having the tub still not look clean (even though it IS clean).

    My question is: at this point is it pointless to invest in these products? I’m sure my 60-year old tub has been cleaned improperly over the years and the finish is already dull and some areas look “grey” even when cleaned. Will ROG1/ROG3 improve the look?

    • pam kueber says

      Jeanne, as I recall, the inventor of ROGs told me “Yes.” If I ask him to send you one bottle of each, would you be game to test it. I am pretty sure he would do this.

      • Jeanne says

        Yes, I would be game to try it! I will take photos if you wish, too. I’ve used Scrubbing Bubbles, Kaboom, Lysol and soaked in diluted bleach – the tub still has dirty looking grey areas.

        Let me know if you want an address. :-)

        • Scott says

          Jeanne, I’ll be very anxious to hear what ROG does on your old tub too. My 1954 cast iron tub is dull as dishwater and it sure would be nice if it didn’t have to be re-enameled.

          Pam thanks for the amazing indepthedness of your research! I’ll be sure a lucky dog friend of mine with a pink tub, toidy, and sink sees this too!

        • says

          We don’t give out free samples unless your a blogger with your own site and it has been up for a few years on line and doing a major test for yourself or for our company

          But we do guarantee it will work or your money back even on very old bathtubs. I will say this since 1990 We at BCD have been selling the product and never has anyone asked for their money back, we just get calls thanking us for inventing the ROG3 it and just to order more, the small kit should last a couple of years in the toughest conditions and in a home with 2 tubs will last 3 years, but the cleaner is so great it replaces most house hold cleaners so the cost of the product is saving you money not purchasing the cleaners that do not work.

          The ROG cleans soap scum or harden soap without scrubbing on bathtub or shower tile walls and floors and cleans many more items around the home. boat, car and Mobil homes see the web page for all the other uses.

          By the way the ROG works great on acrylic tubs. But Kohler just never tested it. but We recommend just the ROG3 not the ROG 1

          A major company in Orlando Florida the biggest and best theam park orders this magical cleaner for their Hotels and the 4 ships they now have. and love it
          any questions just call the # toll free 800- 525-2325 for help
          ask for Vince, Vanessa, Debbie or Chuck

      • Greg says

        I’d like to give it a go also. We have a tub that was probably installed in the 50’s. It’s gone through a remodel, so it always looks grungy. I’d be willing to take before/after pics, if I could get a sample of ROG.

    • Robin, NV says

      Jeanne – my thoughts exactly! I can tell my green tub looks dull, which I’m sure is from years of using Comet. Plus, there’s a lot of mineral content in the water where I live. I’m wondering if ROG will help return the shine.

  2. Patty says

    How do we know who made our tub and what it is made of? Has the composition of the tub material changed over time at Kohler?

    Also, the minerals in water can vary from one location of the country to another. How many different water sources does Kohler use to test its products?

    How did adding flouride to the water (starting really widespread in the 60s, I believe) affect our old tubs?

    I can’t believe there are hard and fast rules for all of us out here.

    • pam kueber says

      Patty, I have a new tub. So that was my main focus. I let Kohler know that I published this story – perhaps they can illuminate more on your question. Kohler, can you help on this one?

      Meanwhile, Patty, I am not a chemist NOT a pro, so you can take this with a grain of salt, but I’d say: Don’t use acids and abrasives on any old porcelain. It is essentially glass – vitreous. Would you put acid and abrasives on your windows? I don’t think so because we all fear we would “see” the damage — etching, scratches, dulling — that would result. I think all that white porcelain just masks the scratches, the etching, that acids and abrasives cause.

      Another thought: My old Kohler kitchen sink — circa 1963 — is now permanently wrecked on the bottom. It may have arrived that way, or my DH may have done it, using ZUD. In any case: It was NOT stronger or anything like that in terms of resisting damage.

      Finally: I don’t think it would matter if the substrate is cast iron or steel… or if it’s Kohler or another company… porcelain enamel is porcelain enamel. Again, though, I am hypothesizing.

  3. says

    I wish I would have read this article 7 years ago when we first moved into our mid-century bungalow. It has a funky turquoise blue tub and double sinks in the main bathroom. For being what I assume to be original to the house, these fixtures looked pretty darn good for their age.
    Seven years later, after using many different cleansers and cleaners, both the tub and sinks look their age. Obviously the products I’ve been used are WAY more abrasive than what the previous owners used for thirty years. It’s disappointing, because the more I fall in love with the special features of our mid-century house, the more I want to retain its original features. Unfortunately, the bathroom will eventually have to be gutted and its pretty blue fixtures removed because they are just too tired and old now to last another sixty years.
    Warning to new home owners: it may seem like nothing to use any old cleaner on your fixtures, but HEED THIS article. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but eventually you will notice the damage that you’ve done from using the wrong products on your fixtures. And you will be disappointed, like I am, having to imagine a boring old white tub and sinks taking their place.

  4. Donn Reese says

    Pam,

    Once again I’m blown away by your tenacity at doing the research and actually talking to the manufacturer’s about their products – great job.

    We stopped using abrasive cleansers a few years ago when we painted a 1980s era bath tub. The company that did the repaint recommended Scrubbing Bubbles, however I do not know if it is acidic and will be checking that myself.

    Our forthcoming bathroom remodel (next summer, I hope) will include a new cast iron/enamel bath tub from Kohler and I will be heading all their cleaning recommendations.

    However, an interesting consequence of the long term use of abrasive cleansers is the satin finish they eventually impart. We owned a house once with an original early-1950s tub that we retained in a remodel. It seems that the Comet/Ajax type cleaners where fairly standard and after many years of use they grind down that original glossy finish to a satiny feel, which does have an appeal of its own – or am I alone in that thinking?

    Nontheless, the finish won’t last forever. Eventually one will clean/grind all the way down to the cast iron base. A prospect none of us look forward to.

    Thanks again, Pam.
    -DonnR

    • pam kueber says

      Hi Donn, I think I know what you are saying, as I’ve had at least one old house with ancient tubs. Yes, as long as the fading is even — not yellow or grey, and not attracting more grime — I guess it would be fine. Hey: I have “patina”, too!

  5. TappanTrailerTami says

    Wow, Pam – our retro investigator extraordinaire! I think the only thing missing off this list is: bleach? Is diluted bleach ok – it certainly whitens the sink back up, particularly older cast iron ones….but also enamel on steel as well.

    I tend to fill my sink with some diluted bleach and let it soak, periodically – maybe once a month or once every couple a months as needed. Is this ok?

    Thanks for your exhaustive research!

      • Janice says

        I have done the same thing in my kitchen sink so I’m anxious to hear the effects of diluted bleach. Fortunately, I do completely wipe down my sink every day to remove water spots on my 2 year old white Kohler cast iron sink and I’ve never used any type of cleanser on it, so it still looks great. This just saved me from making a horrible mistake someday in the future. Thanks…again…Pam!

      • TappanTrailerTami says

        Hi Pam,

        Here is another to check with them – it is actually my favorite cleaner EVER. It is called Mean Green Super Strength cleaner and degreaser – it is a liquid, and will take wax off of floors if used straight. I use it for general cleaning diluted.

        This is made by CR Brands, is cheaper than 409 and all those fancy cleaners. It is biodegradable with no acid or bleach. The bottle says it is safe for anything from laundry to sinks to cleaning engines (!!!), which is directly related to whether it is used full strength vs. diluted.

        Here is the MSDS info on it:

        http://www1.mscdirect.com/MSDS/MSDS00014/97842033-20110702.PDF

  6. Annie B. says

    Which ROG product would be better at removing pot marks from my three-year old Kohler cast iron “smart” sink? I’ve used Comet on it since we had it installed and, I’ll admit, the glossy finish is beginning to dull. The bottom of the sink is beginning to yellow/gray a bit, too.

    Our tap water has a high mineral content, so we installed a water softener at the same time as the sink; therefore, I can’t really blame the dulling of the finish on too much calcium in the water.

    Occasionally, I’ve used liquid cleaners with bleach on it, but nothing seems to remove the pot marks completely or bring back the original whiteness of the bottom.

    I love this sink for its mid century modest styling and its practicality. It’s honestly the best one I’ve ever had, so I really want to keep it shining.

    • pam kueber says

      Annie B., how about trying the cork method that Kohler recommends?

      After that, I’d say — use the ROG1 creme cleanser — it’s for tough stains.

      • Annie B. says

        I’ll pop a cork tonight and let you know what happens.

        This method sounds almost too good to be true, but Kohler did recommend it.

      • Janice says

        Something I did when I installed my white Kohler cast iron kitchen sink two years ago is put in white plastic mats (got them at Wal Mart) in the bottoms of my double sink. It really protects your sink from getting scuffed with pots, etc. Just something to consider if the ROG or cork removes them for how to avoid marring your sink in the future. I’ve never had a single one in two years and we cook and do dishes every day.

        • Annie B. says

          Thank you so much, Janice, for the great idea. So simple, so easy, so inexpensive. The mats probably save your dinnerware from breakage as well. Dang!

  7. Jay says

    What I thought interesting was that Bon Ami was recommended for rust removal not general cleaning. I have always used it to scrub the tub and sinks. Also, some of the cleaners recommended – 409, Fantastik might not harm the finish but are sure nasty to work with. Keep up the good work in educating us.

    • leah says

      I really like Bon Ami for cleaning sinks and tubs. I gave up the Comet afew years ago in favor of this milder cleaning product. It seems to work well but is it damaging my bathroom?

      • pam kueber says

        Leah, I think I need to lay off Kohler now on the cleaners one-by-one — my recommendation is that you contact their customer service and see what they say about this cleanser.

  8. says

    Uggh..I was getting ready to go a few rounds with Comet today but now just sit there and stare at the tub. Back to the baking soda (and a lot more elbow grease). I’m a cheap cleaner kind of woman. I also can tell though that the finish is different on fixtures cleaned with abrasives. That I’ll admit.

  9. Kristen says

    This may be one of my favorite posts- I love the extensive cleaning research and am so glad I headed your advice before and bought the ROG. I appreciate this further investigation- well done Pam and thank you!

  10. MCM is Grand says

    When we had our pink tile shower re-grouted, the tile restorer told us to use Softscrub with bleach, and told me to stop using KABOOM because it actually broke down the grout over time. I have found that using Tilex and a squeege really cuts down on the build-up (we have hard water here)…and no, I do not work for any of these companies :)

  11. MB from CT says

    By Comet, do you mean the stuff you shake out of the can? I have had great success cleaning soap scum with a spray product called “Comet Bathroom Cleaner,” whose main ingredient is 6% citric acid. It says can be used on glazed porcelain, and many other things. It says don’t use on marble, stone, brass, or colored grout. I haven’t seen it mentioned on any of your cleaning posts (may have just missed it), and was wondering if anyone else has used this product.

  12. TappanTrailerTami says

    FYI Pam/Kate – it doesn’t look like the comments are turned on in the post on the Satin Glide vanity? At least I don’t see the comment box being available.

  13. tammyCA says

    I have a squeegy in the new shower to wipe down the tiles..maybe I should towel dry it as well – it;s already looking kinda grungy on the bottom. I never really thought well-known cleaning products could wreck surfaces…but, we were told to only use Soft scrub on the re-glazed tub.

  14. lynda says

    As an “old” home economics major, I have known for years not to use Ajax and other cleansers on porcelain enamel. We learned that in one of those classes–probably equipment class. We also learned of the marvels of soft water. Even if you do not have very hard water, a water softener will make cleaning so much easier. I would never hire cleaners in our homes because I was afraid they would use the wrong cleaners on my bathroom and kitchen fixtures. I have seen way too many sinks and tubs ruined from too much cleaning. Thanks for all the info. I use racks in the bottom of my kitchen sinks. Some manufacturers sell specific ones to fit their sinks. However, you can buy stainless or white ones at the kitchen stores that fit well enough and are far cheaper. You can put them in the dishwasher to keep them clean. They stop dishes and pots and pans from scratching surfaces.

  15. Lauryn says

    Darn! I love Bar Keeper’s Friend. My sink was salvaged from a friend’s goat farm (where it was outside in all seasons and being used as a trough), so it has definitely been put through the test of extreme use and is, shall we say, less than shiny-new. Because of that, I’ve not noticed any wearing down of its finish, but think I will put an end to using BKF, as to not hasten its demise any more than necessary.

    That said, there is a FANTASTIC product for everything under the sun called Universal Stone. It has never failed me, I’m constantly amazed at what it can clean, and I love how safe it is. Not sure what Kohler would say, but I love it and its MSDS looks pretty innocuous (no acids or chemicals).

    http://www.greenbuildingsupply.com/All-Products/Cleaners-Household/Zielinsky-Universal-Stone-All-Purpose-Concentrated-Cleaner

  16. kyle says

    BTW, MSDS means material safety data sheet and I don’t remember anyone saying don’t use comet when I was a kid cleaning the bathtub. Abrasives abrade, that is what they are supposed to do. Many a tub and sink, down the drain. I’m just glad I don’t have that Kohler tub Pam has. I used to see them in a hotel now and then and they never looked clean. Generally, I use soft scrub when I need a cleaning agent. Washing out the tub / sink after use with one of those bath puff things (plastic mesh) does prevent mineral build up and is probably the safest course of action (for me),

  17. Susan says

    I am one of those {fools?} who wipes down her tub each and every time.

    I never knew why I was doing it; just that the people who re-enameled my tub told me to do so.

    Ah, chemistry, I love you so! (Who knew on the calcium?!?)

  18. Christine says

    For my tubs, I make a paste of bleach & baking soda, apply it to the stained area, and let it stand for about an hour, then rinse with cold water. It has brought the bright white out in my 56 year old bathtubs with dull, dirty finishes. It does a fantastic job killing mold too.

    Incidentally, our tubs were scratched up to no end by the previous homeowners. I do plan on having them refinished one day, but right now it’s not in the budget.

  19. 52PostNBeam says

    First, I want to say that I am famous among my friends for being able to “clean anything” … and I’ve honed those skills over decades of vintage loving restoration (meaning, I fix up things people have decided were beyond fixing).

    Over time, I’ve virtually abandoned all chemical cleaners and replaced them with white vinegar and baking soda. In fact, I’ve been washing my hair with same for more than a year and my locks are glossy and the healthiest they’ve ever been. Kohler’s response is not a “no” … they just didn’t bother to test it because it’s too obvious. Vinegar is the best solution for glass, and I’ve let things soak in it with no problem (of course you’re going to rinse with water after cleaning). Nature’s cleaner is being wrongly maligned by lumping it in with these other products! Personally, the fumes alone from harsh chemical cleaners make me ill, so I say keep it simple, cheap and all natural. White Vinegar!

    PS – baking soda neutralizes the acid, plus you get a cool fizzy foam when the 2 are mixed. The OG scrubbing bubbles.

    • pam kueber says

      Ok, note, they did not say “no” exactly — they said:

      “We have not specifically tested vinegar as a cleaning agent so we do not have data when it is used in a strong dose and left remaining on the sink. Vinegar is acidic so it causes us some hesitation. If homeowners are going to use it as cleaning agent, we recommend rinsing the area with water after use.”

      So it’s a no-ish, or do not use in too strong a dose and leave on — and be sure to rinse clean after!

  20. nick says

    The tub in my bathroom is from 1929 so maybe a little old for this forum.
    I have tried and tested just about all the regular and so called green products.
    For the initial scrub and clean I used bar keepers friend, the powdered version and a green scotchbrite pad. it worked very well, but the fumes actually lightened the tile grout line just above the tub. This is an old school grout mix, no caulk here, because there is no cracking.
    Since that first cleaning I have used Organic Linseed soap, available from Allback in upstate New york. It is a Swedish product, and nothing comes close to it. I have since then thrown all other cleaners away except for vinegar which is used on glass windows.

  21. Pat says

    Interesting, I have never heard of linseed soap. My tub is from 1928 and the shine is gone and there is terrible pitting near the drain, probably from hard water dribbling from the leaky faucet. I don’t think I will ever get it clean, but sure is interesting to know about all the cleaners and their damage!

  22. judith hall says

    So, I have an original 1949 or 1950 porcelain cast iron tub. It does not have non-slips on the bottom. I CANNOT get that tub clean! I think it may be the result of hard water over the years.
    I cannot pony up the bucks to get the thing re-finished. Any other ideas?
    It’s embarrassing. The front quarter of the tub looks like it has a permanent yellowish ring around it.

  23. says

    If you have any questions about your bathtub , I will be more than happy to answer you by e mail at vincebcd@aol.com
    I started this company Back in 1972 working in the hotel industry I have seen thousands of bathtubs and there problems.
    I’m currently in San Francisco St. Francis Westin Hotel soft blasting and deep cleaning 1200 bathtubs with my crew of 10 bad crew members I will post to my facebook photos of my trip in a few weeks as we travel from St. Cloud Florida and go all over the country doing this portable slip guard process just for hotels, no residential homes.

    I will return back to Florida December 5th to answer any questions
    Thank you for your interest in our special ROG products.

    http://Www.slipprevention.com
    Vincebcd@aol.com
    Face book,,,,, Vincent Vann Vallone
    Happy holidays from all of us at BCD

    Vince Vallone CEO BCD

  24. says

    I have a late 1960’s vintage tub in my upstairs bath that is OLIVE GREEN. We ave very hard water. My husband uses it, and he never, ever, ever wipes it down and only cleans it when he gets tired of me nagging.

    I tried everything to get the soap scum/lime deposits off of it. One day I got tired of how disgusting it was; I had read somewhere that Bon Ami was good and someplace else that Magic Eraser would work.

    I started out with the Bon Ami on a large wet sponge using light pressure until the sponge stopped meeting resistance from the lime. Then I finished it off with the Magic Eraser. And the thing was GLEAMING — shiny almost as if it was new. My downstairs tub is 1950’s mint green and while it wasn’t disgusting (because I use that one and clean it regularly), it was dull. I did the same thing in that tub, and that too shines up nicely. Maybe it’s not good to use Magic Eraser regularly, but I use it about once a month and it does the trick.

  25. June Cahill says

    Wiping down the tub or shower EVERY time you use it, well, heck yes! My Mom (German decent) INSISTED I do this every time I took a shower or bath. Let’s just say, that was one of those ‘habits’ that DIDN’T STICK as I got older. –but, it did bring back the memories!:)

  26. Janet says

    It’s interesting that neither of the ROG products is recommended by Kohler for acrylic tubs. Wonder why that is?

  27. Katie says

    Hello Pam – I just finished reading all your notes on cleaning porcelain/cast iron bathtubs- absolutely fascinating and terrific research on your part! About 10 years ago, or so, American Standard started putting out bathtubs made of what feels like acryllic. Should NEVER have bought one; water spots do not scrub off, and the non stick bottom looks dirty all the time. I have used Bon Ami on the surface just so I know it is clean, but it never looks clean. Do you have any information as to whether the ROG products clean this surface? My guess is that this lousy product is not available anymore! Thanks for your reply.

    • says

      Pam edits: Please note, Vince is the owner of ROG1 and 3:

      To answer your question Any abrasive products will not be good for any porcelain bathtub comet, ajax, zud, Tilex, fantastic, Magic eraser inside all have acid in them It doesn’t make any difference how much acid is in each product over time it will get in be porcelain finish and dull the shine.

      The ROG one and the ROG three has been tested at the Kohler Company. By the quality assurance person, Jeff Collins, head of quality assurance, back in 1980 since than! Jeff has moved on with the kohler in other countries manufactureing facilities with toilets and tubs, but he tested the bathtub and sinks with their 100,000 scrub test has proven the ROG 1and ROG3 did not scratch but in fact polished the Porcelain, remember Porcelains is very much like glass, intact it was powder glass before heated and melted on your tub. You wouldn’t use Ajax Comet or tilrx on your mirror.
      Hope this helps the only tested and approved Porcelain cleaners are the ROG products

  28. Mary Elizabeth says

    Well, I just had a wonderful experience using Kohler Cast Iron Kitchen Sink Cleaner on my 1950s pink bathtub. It cost 8.40, plus shipping, ordered directly from Kohler. I’ve since discovered that I could have bought it from plumbersurplus.com for less and with free shipping.

    Be that as it may, there was a permanent faint dark ring around the tub that I thought would never come out–gone! For the past year, I had used everything suggested in this article to no avail. There were marks I thought were deep scratches to the enamel–gone! They turned out to be what is described on the cleaner bottle as “scuff marks.” Now those marks are gone and my tub is clean as a baby’s bottom after a bath.

    By the way, don’t resort to those tempting tub painting companies. I visited my cousin last weekend and heard about her tub. She bought a 1972 ranch with an enamel tub, and the person who renovated and sold it to her had had the colored tub painted. After a short time, the enamel would bubble up and come off if even a bottle of shampoo was left on the edge over night. So she called in one of those tub painting companies to redo the job, and they told her it was a bad initial job and they could fix it. She had it repainted last year, and it is already a problem. So clean see if you can clean that pink bathtub before resorting to painting or replacing it.

    • Janice says

      This was immensely helpful Mary Elizabeth! I just ordered a couple of bottles through plumbersurplus.com and oh by the way, while I was on the website, I ordered a sink and a faucet, too! Thanks for the tip!

    • April says

      I just ordered this to try. Plumbersurplus.com no longer has free shipping, but I found it on Amazon for $5.85 for 8 oz, and I got free shipping there from a non-Amazon seller. Thanks for the tip!

  29. KathyS says

    Thank you so much for this article! Our new house has a Black Kohler enameled cast iron sink and I’ve been trying to find the right products to resore its shine. This was very helpful!!

  30. says

    The kohler sink cleaner is only 8oz BCD’s ROG 1, is 40oz please do the math, ROG is less expensive in the long run, (value engineering) and soon all the ROG products well be available on amazon with free shipping to help everyone’s pocket.

    No matter what cleaner you decide to use, never re coat or so called re glaze your cast iron tub, (it’s just paint) it will just peel and crack, and be a night mare, forever, just deep clean it (REFRESH IS OUR MOTTO)
    Remember a clean tub or shower surface is a safe surface floor, this will help keep your family safe from a serious slip and fall, the main reason for the ROG line of cleaner was developed to maintain bathtub safe guards, the great cleaning results is the bonus.

    Thank you Pam for your study on the ROG products

    BCD sells large quantities to Marriott, Hyatt, Disney, and many more major Hotels and resorts across the U.S. and the cruise industry.

  31. Mary Elizabeth says

    Vince, thanks for the info and backup of my theory that one should never “reglaze” an iron tub. Did you know that when you Google “pink bathtub” one of the hits is a demonstration of the process of painting a pink tub white? As for the cost of the cleaner, I figure once the initial cleaning of the buildup is done on the enamel tub or sink, I will only have to use the Kohler’s about two or three times a year. In between, I wipe down the tub with a microfiber towel after the day’s showers and baths (yeah, I’m retired!) and using regular mild cleaner for the weekly cleaning. At that rate, my bottle of Kohlers will last at least a year. The ROG would last five years if it doesn’t dry up or anything. If I had one of those houses with five gorgeous retro tubs, I would definitely buy the big bottle.

  32. Joy says

    I searched on Goggle for a way to keep my shower floor pan clean and your site was one of the first results. After reading and seeing your before and after pics I was sold and around midnight proceeded to the ROG site to purchase my kit. Whie I was disappointed that I had to shell out $50 I wasn’t disappointed in the results. Wow I never thought I could make my pan could look like new. Now that you’ve done some additional research I’ll be sure to check out the cheaper products on Kohlers site. I did start cleaning my shower doors everyday recently, made a huge difference. Think I’ll add my pan! Keep up the fantastic work.

  33. Marylou says

    Our original 1963 bathrooms, one mint green, one gold, look like they are brand new to this day. I attribute this to never using any of the products on the Kohler ‘no’ list. Like some of the other contributors I too learned not to do this in home econ class. What has only been used on them ever is, White Rain Green Apple Shampoo. It is simply amazing on porcelain surfaces. Dollar Tree sells large bottles for $1.00. which last for months. My Mom, whose bathrooms also look original, uses this as well.

  34. Gigi says

    Thanks for the great article. The time you took to do this research is awesome and appreciated by many.

    I just had a question. I am likely going to purchase ROG 1 from amazon but I’m not entirely sure it will take the scuff marks from my bathtub. Anyone have any ideas? These were created when I cleaned my Dog’s plastic cage pan in the bathtub. So now I have small scuff marks which are penetrated into the anti slip area. The bathtub is not scratched though. I tried everything even the forbidden magic eraser.

    I appreciate your help!

    • says

      Yes! it will remove scratches from the cage as Recently the Disney just order a pallet of the cleaner for just that reason as Disney Engineering plumbers use wire snakes to clean out toilets and the metal scratched and leaves marks, this is easily removed with the ROG 1
      We also have had customers with scratches in many bathtubs due to things falling in the tub, shower curtains falling in the tub and leaving marks , the ROG 1 WILL WORK GREAT, and is recommended by the Kohler company as well.
      Amazon has free shipping

      • pam kueber says

        Vince, just to be clear: ROG1 is not explicitly recommended by Kohler. I have covered this in my stories on the blog. Also, Vince, can you identify yourself as the owner and marketer of the ROG products when you comment? This will make it clear to other readers where you are coming from.

      • Gigi says

        So I tried the product this past weekend and I was not at all impressed. I cleaned my tub as I usually do then added the ROG 1 and left it on for about 10 minutes. Came back and scrubbed it with the little scrubby pad and nothing. I wasn’t expecting it to take out the scuff marks but I was certainly expecting it to take out the grime from the anti slip thingy. Ok so I tried again and this time left it on for 20 minutes, scrubbed it and nothing again! Aggravated I left it for the next day and used it a third time, but this time left it on for an hour. Then when I came back I scrubbed it putting my entire upper body weight onto the scrub and then went on to use my foot. This time I got some of the grime from the anti slip thing out but not entirely, and the scuff marks are now a little faded but definitely still there. So definitely not the answer unless I’m doing something wrong.

  35. says

    Hello, I’m the owner and the inventor Vince for the ROG cleaners.. …………Well it seems something went wrong… Lets solve this glitch.
    Well it seemed you just got the ROG1 – from reading your story
    Let me Please explain, Depending how old your bathtub is will determine how much calcium build up you have.

    First off you need the KIT 1, this has 1 QT of ROG3 ( blue ) calcium detergent cleaner, this cleaner first off starts to get the years of build up reduced, this needs to be left on the tub for about 5 to 8 min, scrub, rinse, then and only then will the ROG 1 white cream cleaner work at its best, you need the ( ROG KIT 1)
    I know it is confusing as Amazon sells the individual qts. separately, but if you read what Amazon says they are just refills, after the fact, because of the confusing factor, Please send me your address I will send you at No charge a free qt of the ROG 3 including the shipping charges, I hope this solves your problem.
    Please go to my e mail address and explain to me this situation. vincebcd@aol.com
    Warm wishes
    Vince Vallone

    • pam kueber says

      Vince, it is unclear who are you responding to. Under the comment you want to respond to, click the REPLY button. Your reply will then be “threaded”.

    • pam kueber says

      Vince, I will also say: When I used the product on my Kohler anti-slip, I just use the ROG1 — and it works fine. I will try it your way in the future and see if there is a difference.

  36. says

    Pam The ROG 1 Cream cleaner has been approved BY a Jeff Collins who was the Kohler Quality insurance person Head of the department at that time back in the 90’s he has since then been transfered to the China office currently in charge of their plant and still working for the Kohler company.
    Both products were tested together and were approved.
    The person who you interviewed probably does not know Mr. Collins as it is a large company.
    I hope this straightens this question out, as the documented Inventor of the Kohler cast iron slip guard back in the late 90’s
    I was asked to come up with the proper cleaners to clean but not harm the surface, Hilton, Marriott ad the Disney Company and Many more Hotel companies use both products

    • pam kueber says

      I hear ya, Vince, and I wrote this in one of the other stories. Still, Kohler does not have it officially on their tested list currently.

    • Gigi says

      IT WORKED!!!!! (Punching the air while giggling madly and family wondering if I need to be admitted to the nearest psychiatric ward) I can’t believe it but it worked!! Thanks Vince for standing behind your product and sending me the ROG3 product.
      I applied the ROG3 on for about 10 minutes and then scrubbed. Then I applied ROG1 and admittedly scrubbed hard to get the black scuff marks off. And voila they came off! Ok mostly, I think I have to do it one more time next weekend and my tub will be white as snow.

      Thanks again Vince!

    • pam kueber says

      Joie, I do not know that there is an answer for this. Comet dulls the finish. If you want a lustrous finish, you need a new sink — and to NOT use abrasive materials (as described in the story) to clean it. Same for your tub!

  37. says

    Yes comet an abrasives will dull a bathtub and sinks, we have had several customers with the same problem, more than 2/2 got back the shind with the ROG1 as it is also a polish, and a few landmark hotels in South Carolina user the ROG 1 cream cleaner for not only bathtubs, sinks but polishing brass, so try it and good luck.
    Hope this helps
    Vince BCD owner who cares EDIT: Vince is the inventor/seller of ROG cleansers — Pam

  38. TammyB says

    When I got my Kohler porcelain sink 4 years ago, the secretary at my plumbing company gave me advice I have found nowhere else: Get rid of EVERY piece of stoneware, and never let it anywhere near this sink. You know the unglazed bottom? That is what scratches porcelain and once it’s srcatched, you’ll never get rid of the stains they absorb.

    I recently told this advice to a friend who is a potter AND who owns an old porcelain sink. Her response was “DOH! Of course it would scratch porcelain!!”

    So far so good for my own sink. I use only Kohler’s Cast Iron cleaner or baking soda (when the marks aren’t too bad.) Since I can’t get the cleaner at Home Depot anymore, I was looking around at other options. Thanks for your information, and I hope I have helped add to it for future sink owners.

  39. Scott says

    Very good tip Tammy.

    My dishes are all Boontonware and my pans are all stainless so nothing with rough edges ever goes in my Delafield and so far nothing has ever made a mark on it. A tiny dot of dishwashing liquid on a dish rag and drying with a dish towel has been all I’ve needed to make it sparkle.

  40. Liz says

    Question – are there any products to help remove old silicone from the edges of my 1950’s cast iron tub? I’m renovating and there are years of bad renovations on the edge of my tub that I’m not sure how to get rid of (especially without using anything abrasive).

  41. says

    Im Vince Vallone owner of slipprevention.com I deep clean bathtubs in major Hotels all over the US and Caribbean, I also invented the ROG chemical Co. And still taking care of all the Disney Orlando hotel properties.
    I am asked to do caulk removal and deep clean bathtubs every day the best thing to take silicon off is the flat edge razor blade yes the silver from the razor blade will mark the tub but the ROG one cleaner gets that gray silver scratches the blade makes, it gets them all off immediately that’s the best way to remove silicone, also plumbers across the US tell me the same, they use the blades and the ROG1 cream cleaner also use the one cleaner to get rid of the snake marks in toilets when they do the clean outs.

    • Kyria Christison says

      I recently bought an old cast iron tub with (apron instead of clawfoot) with the intent of refinishing it. I have done a ton of research on refinishing but then I caught a few minutes of a show with someone just giving theirs a good cleaning & thought hmmmm. We bought an 1876 house, gutting to the studs so my tub project was a long way down the list but after reading all of this I want to jump right in & try your suggestions I made sure the tub had no rust around the drain or faucet areas before I bought it. The outside & underneath definitely need redone but the only real issue was a few dis colored spots in the inside & some caulk around the edges. Vince….I almost wept when I got to your post about caulk removal LOL I am so hoping the previous owners weren’t too rough on this tub. I’m told it was just one owner (are t we always though) & Ill be able to bring some life back into the tub. I’m not as concerned about it being shiny & new looking. I like the fact that it’s old. I want to make sure it gets a good deep cleaning & preserve. Thank you so much!! I can’t wait to look around & see what else I can learn!

  42. Lisa Southerland says

    Pam, just found this portion of your blog. I have a chocolate brown kohler enamel sink. It’s only a year old and am very disappointed in myself that I allowed hard water stains to take the shine away. Contacted Kohler this week and they called me and told me to use White Vinegar straight. I did and it looks much better but it still doesn’t shine like it did! I’ll be purchasing ROG1 based on Vince’s comments that it will being back that shine!! Kohler also said to use Bon Ami and a wine cork to clean away the marks left from my sink grid feet! Will report how the ROG1 worked!!

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