Bar Keepers Friend changed my Cybertruck's finish!

Derektsla

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My Cybertruck was delivered with quite a bit of staining on a lot of the panels. It’s looked to be from rain. I tried a bunch of softer cleaners first to get off the stains. Windex, waterless wash, full soap wash, generic stainless polish, etc.

None of that worked. So I tried some bar keepers friend that many other suggested. I tried it on a small area, and it looked fine. I then tried a door with lots of staining. I let it sit for one minute and then rinsed it off. The first time I applied very lightly and it dulled the stains, but didn’t remove them. The second time I scrubbed just a little more and it completely removed all the stains and created a perfectly uniform panel.

However, The door is now lighter in color and the finish is a bit more dull / less shiny. I don’t love this effect, but it appears I’m going to have to live with it since I already started. I followed the directions, didn’t let it sit too long and didn’t scrub hard. To help others to do this well and decide if this is for them, I would love some advice or feedback from others if they saw this, or if I did something wrong.

Pic: BKF used on rear door only

Important Edit: after finishing the whole truck, I noticed that the front panel in the picture below still doesn’t match the panel in the rear. I am thinking bar keepers friend didn’t change the panel as much as I thought. When both panels were done the same way they still look different. So if my post scared you away, don’t worry too much. The truck looks amazing with all panels done and I do prefer it better now.

Tesla Cybertruck Bar Keepers Friend changed my Cybertruck's finish! IMG_7932
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HaulingAss

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True, the entire point of using Barkeeper's Friend is that it changes the appearance! It will gradually develop a patina again. The stainless steel on the Cybertruck can wear many faces, you choose how you want it to appear.

I like the more satin appearance of the rear door better, but I'm free to change my mind in the future. None of these changes are permanent. I'm surprised we haven't seen anyone polish it to a mirror finish yet! Not my cup of tea, but I would have expected someone to do it by now.
 

Mini2nut

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If you applied BKF to the front door would it look lighter and match the rear?
 

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Someone mentioned the amount of time you leave the BKF on impacts the finish you get. What if you try leaving it on for a much shorter amount of time? Don't delay taking it off once it's on and see if it comes out better?

This would be the first time I'm seeing someone say that the truck was shinier before BKF.
 

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Fascinating…. Does this make me want the stock stainless steel or a PPF wrap? 🤔 Decisions, decisions…
 


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Derektsla

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Thanks, this and the other comment are helpful. I was going to put a protectaClear finish on it after I cleaned it up to reduce fingerprints and the need for maintenance. Because of this, I may wait and see how the patina develops and how quickly new stains develop. I do like the matte finish, but I was a bit afraid I wouldn’t have a choice. So knowing it will change over time is good to know.

ProtectaClear will probably lock in the finish, so I would want to see what I’m happy with. Hopefully this post and pictures are helpful to others who are considering the same option. Outdoor picture below.
Tesla Cybertruck Bar Keepers Friend changed my Cybertruck's finish! IMG_7939
 
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Derektsla

Derektsla

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Someone mentioned the amount of time you leave the BKF on impacts the finish you get. What if you try leaving it on for a much shorter amount of time? Don't delay taking it off once it's on and see if it comes out better?

This would be the first time I'm seeing someone say that the truck was shinier before BKF.
I also didn’t see anyone saying it was less shiny. So I was a bit surprised. I was really gentle and didn’t want to scrub it to a higher polish. The bottle said to leave it on for 1 minute. Which I followed closely, but it may have been 1:30 before everything was rinsed.

Knowing this is etching the surface. I would not recommend any longer. I will probably scrub a bit more the first time and leave on for less. It is worth noting that I applied this 2 times on that panel because I either didn’t scrub hard enough, or it took more time to get the stains out. So it’s possible that also etched it more.

I am also going to try doing this outside and at the 1 minute mark, rinsing off thoroughly with a hose to neutralize the acid faster. Most videos I have seen involve people wiping it off with a wet rag, but I don’t think that neutralizes it fast enough. Once it’s rinsed off, then polish it.

last thing worth noting is I am using the liquid. (NOT the powder or the spray) that may matter as well.
 

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I also didn’t see anyone saying it was less shiny. So I was a bit surprised. I was really gentle and didn’t want to scrub it to a higher polish. The bottle said to leave it on for 1 minute. Which I followed closely, but it may have been 1:30 before everything was rinsed.

Knowing this is etching the surface. I would not recommend any longer. I will probably scrub a bit more the first time and leave on for less. It is worth noting that I applied this 2 times on that panel because I either scrub hard enough, or it took more time to get the stains out. So it’s possible that also etched it more.

I am also going to try doing this outside and at the 1 minute mark, ringing off thoroughly with a hose to neutralize the acid faster. Most videos I have seen involve people wiping it off with a wet rag, but I don’t think that neutralizes it fast enough. Once it’s rinsed off, then polish it.

last thing worth noting is I am using the liquid. (NOT the powder or the spray) that may matter as well.
I would recommend you switch to the spray. The liquid has cutting agent in it, which is adding new swirl marks to the stainless.

It also can't hurt to try leaving it on for less time. if it didn't help, then you can just do it again and wait the full minute.
 
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Derektsla

Derektsla

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Fascinating…. Does this make me want the stock stainless steel or a PPF wrap? 🤔 Decisions, decisions…
Exactly. I figured I could always wrap it later if I messed up the steel 😂.

The panels do look pretty awesome when cleaned up. Just a different sheen and color.
 

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Holy cow thanks for posting pictures, had NO idea it would change it that drastically.
 


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Derektsla

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I would recommend you switch to the spray. The liquid has cutting agent in it, which is adding new swirl marks to the stainless.

It also can't hurt to try leaving it on for less time. if it didn't help, then you can just do it again and wait the full minute.
Thanks, a couple thoughts on your advice…
  1. I will probably continue with the liquid to get a uniform finish this time. I’d rather have the same look all over than panels that look different.
  2. I think if I started over I would start with the spray to see what it does first. The goal is to remove the stains, not change the polish. I will use the spray next time as I don’t want to keep polishing it every time.
  3. The truck came with some pretty obvious swirl marks all over from the factory. However, I can’t really see any of swirl marks unless it’s in dim light. I didn’t notice them when I took delivery. I don’t think the abrasive made it any worse. If anything, it made it more uniform than it was. Also, for whatever reason, swirl marks are not bothering me like they would in a shiny paint. The thought “I’m driving a steel tank” makes swirl marks seem more like a feature! 😂
 

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From a video I saw, they said that the BKF is like an acid, so you need to neutralize it and they said use windex. Afterwards, they used denatured alcohol to finish. You can always wrap it, if all fails.
 
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Derektsla

Derektsla

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From a video I saw, they said that the BKF is like an acid, so you need to neutralize it and they said use windex. Afterwards, they used denatured alcohol to finish. You can always wrap it, if all fails.
Good point, maybe I need to neutralize faster. Windex is only a PH of 9, so I can't imagine it would neutralize much faster than water.

Anyone know if I could use 100% IPA alcohol instead of denatured? I know they are not the same, but I am wondering if a very strong IPA will do the same thing they expect denatured to do? I ask because I already have a bunch of it.
 

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Good point, maybe water does not neutralize fast enough. I didn't realize this, but windex is a strong base, so will neutralize much faster. That may have been part of the cause. BKF should really tell people to do that.

Anyone know if I could use 100% IPA alcohol instead of denatured? I know they are not the same, but I am wondering if a very strong IPA will do the same thing they expect denatured to do?
Protectaclear said above 97% IPA works, which I was happy to hear after thinking I'd need denatured instead. I have plenty of 99% around the shop.
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