Why does scouring powder come in cardboard containers with no lid?

Wondering about this after finding the Bon Ami powder once again clumped together into a chunk when I went to use it.

Why is scouring powder sold in cardboard, with a perforated metal lid covered only by tape? Whenever I need to use any of these powders - Bon Ami, Bar Keeper’s Friend and Ajax are all under my sink - my hands are wet. If I keep the tape over the holes on top and use wet hands to remove it when needed, water drips into the holes and the tape doesn’t stick once removed, leaving the contents open to the environment (humid in my area). Wet hands meeting cardboard equals soggy container.

Every other container under the sink is packaged in glass or plastic. Why not scouring powder?

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the cans usually have some type of metallzed foil to keep moisture from turning it to a brick on the shelf - while the tape is still in place…

try a pet food lid -

it is aggravating tho…

Why leave the tape on top? Just grab the can and invert it. But… I still find our BKF clumpy, maybe there’s just moisture under the sink no matter what you do.

The tape serves as a cover, but since it has poor resticking qualities I do remove it . It bugs me that the packaging for this product has not improved or changed since forever, and it bugs me that the packaging is inappropriate for a dry product that should remain dry to remain useful.

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We have a can of Bon-Ami next to the sink. It’s been there for at least a year. The metalized foil keeps the moisture from my hands from soaking through, and I don’t find it chunks up from the moisture in the air either.

I’m guessing that the traditional container is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than a plastic container would be.


I wonder that too. Comet comes in a recloseable plastic can and for about two seconds they made a version like BKF. The recloseable can is easy and I don’t know why more manufacturers don’t do it.


I’ve been known to keep and refill the plastic containers until they fall apart.

Aggravating, particularly when you live in a humid climate where everything clumps.

Ours sit by the toilet or under the sinks and I’ve never had a problem with them clumping.

Your humidity is just a notch or two lower than mine, even in the bathroom. 76% as I write this.

I hadn’t thought about our humidity. Sometimes single digit. Plus when we’re in the shower, we have an exhaust that actually works. Barely have to squeegee the walls and glass.

I wish I believed this. Hasn’t stopped manufacturers from putting everything else in plastic containers. I’m guessing they’re not a growth market and no one’s bothered to update packaging. New consumers probably have switched to soft-scrub like products. And various sprays and foams.

BKF takes in moisture more aggressively than most scouring powders do – I don’t even keep mine in the kitchen anymore, but in a cupboard in the laundry room.

Those cardboard containers and metal end caps are made, assembled and filled on machinery that might have been installed in 1920, or if newer then to essentially an old design. Get a pre-WW2 magazine and look at the ads for Bab-O or Old Dutch Cleanser – same packaging exactly, except the foil interlayer is somewhat more modern … late Fifties, if memory serves me right.

Motor oil used to come in cans cut from tubes of cardboard with the same kind of bottom attached. The solid top was attached by the oil company after filling. I know because I had a summer job running a machine that made the cans back in the early '60s. Long story.

I love Barkeeper’s Friend, and have a can of it at every sink in the house. I re-seal it after each use using 1.5-inch white bandaging tape. That works well, so long as you wipe the powder off the top of the can before resealing it. A few months back, I went to the BKF product’s website and suggested that the marketing people consider providing a simple plastic cap atop each can, which could be used to reseal it after each use once the original tape seal was removed. I thought that was probably a wonderful suggestion … one that would eliminate what is, no doubt, the biggest disadvantage of, and complaint about, the product, and one that could probably be implemented for a fraction of a cent per can. I guess they didn’t agree, or if they did, it’ll take a long time to work through the process. Meanwhile, the plastic pet food re-closure caps that you can buy at on Amazon, in pet supply stores, and elsewhere won’t work, because the diameter of standard food cans is about 2.95-inches, and cleanser cans are only about 2.85-inches.

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I’m surprised no one mentioned that having fitted permanent plastic lids isn’t a new update—it’s the way these products used to come when i would buy them at the store, going back until—i’m pretty sure i was still getting them in the 90s, maybe it was just certain brands. Or maybe it was just one brand. If it was just one, it had to be either Ajax or Comet. Ajax was the main one i used but i think there was a time when i didn’t get a plastic lid with it, and then i did, so it may be because i switched one time to Comet. i’m just speculating because i don’t remember. i remember that these lids came with the cans for a while, and then the didn’t, and the last lid i had, i hung onto for a long time. i don’t know what happened to it. I was/am often annoyed that those aren’t included anymore, and have just figured it’s a way of lowering production costs, to keep sales price down, to compete. I googled this because i was wondering if anyone knew anything about what happened to these and whether any still exist.

I recently contacted Bon Ami about this. They replied with a lengthy email citing costs, post consumer packaging, etc.

I found that Tupperware makes these large Modular Mates shaker that hold 15 oz.
a can of Bon Ami is 14 oz. I believe and BKF is 15 oz. so I think the Tupperware shakers will work.

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Thank you! I am so tired of the Bar Keepers Friend clumping up because the can doesn’t close.

You’re very welcome! I just ordered a set of the 15 oz. Modular Mates shakers, 1 for my BKF and the other for my Bon Ami on eBay . I think they’ll work. I’ll post an update after a week of storage. I wish I could somehow reproduce the product labels to stick to the shakers, that would be cool.

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I just posted this on Intructables.com: I hope it helps!