Vintage cleaning products that deserve a closer look 

When it comes to cleaning products, sometimes it’s best to stick with the classics. From Ajax to Murphy Oil Soap, many of the tried-and-true originals from yesteryear still work wonders in 2021. 

Not only can old school cleaners do as good a job (if not better) than newer ones that feature the latest and greatest formulas, but most cost a fraction of what the fancier cleaner du jour costs. Some are even less abrasive and as easy on the environment as they are on the pocketbook. 

Here’s our list of old school cleaning products that are worth a closer look. 

Bon Ami 

The Bon Ami formula hasn’t changed since it first arrived on the market in the late 1880s and for good reason: it works. We recommend Bon Ami for everyday cleaning for your stovetop, but it’s also fantastic for bathtubs, countertops and on other surfaces you want to get clean without worrying about scratches.

Because Bon Ami uses feldspar and not quartz as its main ingredient, it’s less abrasive, so it’s ideal to use every day. You can even use it on your glass shower doors to remove hard water spots and soap grind. 


This old go-to cleaner costs a lot less than others, but it delivers the same top-notch results. Free from phosphates, Ajax is safe to use throughout the home, but we think it works especially well in the bathroom to remove soap scum, especially those annoying rings around the tub. 

You can also use Ajax on walls to remove fingerprints and grime, and it’s safe for cleaning countertops, and stainless steel cookware. Another great benefit is that it can eliminate bacteria. We recommend using it to clean trash bins and mildew off bathroom walls. 

SOS pads 

You know those little brown stains that accumulate around your stove’s burners? You can get rid of them quickly with SOS pads. Back in the 1950s (and even earlier) these rough scouring pads were in almost every kitchen. Over the decades, their popularity declined. But lately they’ve been making a comeback. 

Have SOS pads around for your stainless steel cookware (and stove), outdoor grills, and even your tires. One tip: wear gloves when using these pads. They’re scratchy. Trust us: your hands will be grateful! 

Murphy Oil Soap 

If you had hardwood floors growing up, you probably remember the smell of Murphy Oil Soap. This oil-based soap has been used in homes since the early 1900s, most often on hardwood flooring and wood furniture. 

There are a few big reasons to choose Murphy Oil Soap today for your hardwood floors. First, it’s one of the most budget friendly wood floor cleaners out there, it’s also made from just a few ingredients so it’s easy on wood, and it can even help eliminate bacteria. 

You can also use Murphy Oil Soap as a gentle bathroom cleaner, as a stain remover and even on leather. 

Bar Keepers Friend

Remember the golden olden days? As in 2019 when you could go to a bar and unwind with friends without wearing a mask? Those bars require serious upkeep. In fact, bartenders clean surfaces about as much as they serve drinks, and for decades, Bar  Keepers Friend has been their go-to. 

But it’s also an excellent cleaning product for your home. Here’s why: 

Bar Keepers Friend contains powerful ingredients including feldspar and oxalic acid, a reducing agent that can eliminate rust and tarnish. Between feldspar and oxalic acid, Bar Keepers Friend can work wonders on everything from kitchen surfaces, stainless steel appliances, and even on tire rims. 


Brasso was all the rage back in the early 1900s, when most homes had plenty of metal fixtures and appliances. Although times have changed (IKEA, anyone?), Brasso’s formula hasn’t. Made from oxalic acid, ethanol, limestone, pumice, and ammonium hydroxide, it’s still an excellent solution for removing tarnish from metal.  

You can use Brasso on everything from copper to chrome, stainless steel to aluminum. It’s an excellent cleaning choice for pots and pans, and for that copper tea kettle that’s gotten grimy and discolored from years of sitting on the stovetop. 

Don’t worry, all of the products above are safe for your plumbing and are plumber approved. We at Allied Reddi-Rooter are always happy to help our Cincinnati customers save a few bucks while keeping your home spic and span (another great “old school” product, by the way!) 


Have an issue with your plumbing?  Call or Contact the plumbing experts of Allied Reddi-Rooter, at 513-396-5300.  We always come highly recommended and have earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau for our expert quality of service.  You can follow us on Facebook, @Allied Reddi-Rooter for the latest tips or to ask us a question.