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I’m wondering if it’s possible that I’m the only person walking around who didn’t know how to quickly remove those obnoxious and pesky dark scratch marks from my dishes. You know, they’re the ones that are embarrassing when you have guests — to the point that you rummage around until you find the dish that you hope is the least offensive. Look at what I mean.

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Seriously, it looks as if a toddler armed with a number 2 pencil went on a scribbling spree all over my white bowls.

I did notice, however, the dishes I have that are a little pricier – Pottery Barn versus Cost Plus World Market, for instance, didn’t seem to have these marks. I don’t know if that’s across the board, it’s just my experience.

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Above is a white bowl similar to the scratched one, and just as old, but it’s from Pottery Barn and still looks like new.

Since nothing I tried removed the marks, I did what any resourceful person does in the 21st century — I Googled my way to pristine dishes. After all, if I could Google how to layer my hair, this was going to be a breeze. It was.

For me, the key was to get it done quickly. I didn’t want to soak the dishes in peroxide for five days or smear them with toothpaste, stand on my left foot with 11 inches of tin foil wrapped around my right ear and wait for the magic to take place. I wanted to clean them without dulling the glaze, and then move on.

I know you probably already know this, but maybe there’s one person reading who’s going to be as gobsmacked and thrilled as I was to learn that all it takes for the dish makeover is to grab a can of Bar Keepers Friend. (The Very Handsome Luke makes any product shine.)

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As often as I’ve had to find this powdered cleanser for readers of my Where Can I Find It column for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, I admit that it never occurred to me to buy it myself. I just assumed it was similar to Ajax or Comet, which I do buy. It’s not. There’s no bleach in Bar Keepers Friend, and if you want to know how it was developed by a chemist while he was cooking rhubarb, then read here.

I grabbed a can the next time I went to the store and gave it a whirl.

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Couldn’t be simpler. Sprinkle on a bit of Bar Keepers Friend, then using the scrubby side of wet sponge start rubbing off those pesky marks. As you can see just to the upper left of the powder, my first try easily got rid of the marks. Note that if you have hairline cracks on the glaze, which I do on these bowls, then Bar Keepers Friend can’t uncrack the glaze. It’s good but it’s not magic. Close, though.

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But the before and after is still amazing, and BKF added new life to dingy dishes.

I confess that not only did I have some embarrassing bowls, but I also owned a set of flatware that I loved, but some of the knives were spotted with rust, which I couldn’t remove, even using rust remover. I bought these about 20 years ago from Williams-Sonoma, and I still don’t know why they rusted. Any clue is greatly appreciated.

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You got it. I tried my new best friend, BKF, on my favorite flatware but, this time, I used the soft sponge side, not the scrubby because I didn’t want to risk scratching the steel.

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I can’t tell you how happy I am to have my knives back all sparkly and shiny.

Now, I’m on a roll and I want to get started on the grill. We’ll see how BKF does with that Herculean task. In the meantime, how do you use Bar Keepers Friend? Tips and tricks?

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The very sweet Dexter is always eager to help when I need a cute factor for a utilitarian product.