5 Nerdy-but-Brilliant Cleaning Tips from the People Behind The Pink Stuff

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Pink Stuff used to clean oven door

Believe it or not, The Pink Stuff — the British-based all-purpose cleaning paste — has been around since 1938, but it only surged in popularity just recently. “Ten or 15 years ago, people surprisingly perceived it as having no specific purpose,” says Henrik Pade, joint owner of StarBrands, the company that makes The Pink Stuff. “Now, it’s turned into the opposite. People want to use it for everything.” 

In fact, #PinkPower went viral and mesmerized TikTokers all over the globe. One look, and you’ll see countless videos showing how people are using the bubblegum pink paste to clean burnt-on oven grime, soap scum on bathtubs, and even dirty white sneakers. We wanted to get the very top tips for using The Pink Stuff. So we spoke with Pade and a scientist who works there. Here’s what they had to suggest.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

1. Use it to clean your oven.

Tired of smelly, caustic oven cleaners, but worried a baking soda mixture alone won’t do the trick? The Pink Stuff is a great happy medium for the inside of your oven, says Gosia Bilska, a scientist at StarBrands. It contains vegetable soap (which softens gunk), and silica (which is an abrasive, so it’s great on stubborn stains, including burned-on bits in your oven). Plus, The Pink Stuff contains d-Limonene, which acts as a citrus degreaser.

Unlike traditional oven cleaners, Bilska says you don’t have to let it sit for a certain amount of time. Just coat the surface (including your oven racks) in The Pink Stuff, then scrub away. Fun fact: Our own Executive Lifestyle Director, Lisa Freedman, tried out a tub on her own oven door with great success!

2. Try it out on your glass cooktop.

Normally, abrasives aren’t great for delicate surfaces, like glass. But Bilska says The Pink Stuff is different: The abrasive silica is ground extremely fine and in just the right shape, so it’s unlikely to scratch glass if you use light pressure. So go ahead and use a dab to scrub tough, burnt-on pasta sauce from your glass cooktop — just keep in mind it’ll leave a light chalky residue, which you’ll want to rinse afterward. 

Credit: Amelia Lawrence/Kitchn

3. Wipe your stone counters with it.

Stone counters often require specialty cleaners because limestone and marble, for example, have high concentrations of calcite. Even a little bit of acid can eventually eat away at calcite’s surface. The good news is, The Pink Stuff doesn’t contain any acidic ingredients — in fact, it actually has sodium bicarbonate in it (aka baking soda), which is alkaline (the opposite of acidic). Bilska says that’s why The Pink Stuff is totally safe for lifting stains from granite, marble, or quartz countertops — just remember to use a soft sponge or rag. 

4. Be careful if you use it to clean your microwave.

While The Pink Stuff’s ingredients are meant to be gentle, Bilska and Pade emphasize they’re also powerful — so you shouldn’t use it on certain surfaces (especially combined with heavy pressure or an abrasive cleaning tool). Take your microwave, for instance. While The Pink Stuff is perfect for grease and grime inside the appliance, be careful while you use it on the outside. Bilska says she recently heard from a customer that the paste removed the numbers from the microwave buttons. Lesson learned — be sure to spot test before going at it! And clean gently.

5. Remove coffee or tea stains with it.

One of Pade’s favorite uses for The Pink Stuff is removing tea and coffee residue from the inside of cups or mugs. The combo of vegetable soap and the mild-but-gritty abrasive, he says, is just right for lifting stubborn, days-old stains. Pade likes to apply the paste before giving the mug a proper wash — just use a wet cloth or sponge to spread the paste around, rinse, and then place it in the dishwasher. And if you’re working on a white mug, don’t worry: Bilska says the pink dye is mild and won’t leave any traces of color behind. 

Do you have surprising uses for The Pink Stuff? Tell us in the comments below.

Ashley Abramson

Contributor

Ashley Abramson is a writer-mom hybrid in Minneapolis, MN. Her work, mostly focused on health, psychology, and parenting, has been featured in the Washington Post, New York Times, Allure, and more. She lives in the Minneapolis suburbs with her husband and two young sons.

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