The Pink Stuff review: Is it the miracle all-purpose cleaner TikTok says it is?

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Jolie Kerr/CNN Underscored
Jolie Kerr/CNN Underscored

The Pink Stuff, an abrasive cleaning paste, is everywhere these days. It was launched into popularity by TikTok and Instagram, where videos show creators using The Pink Stuff to scrub and scour grime off every hard surface you can imagine. It’s a visually arresting product (thanks to its irresistible pink color and cutesy packaging), but is it the miracle all-purpose cleaner it claims to be?

To find out, we put The Pink Stuff to the test, using it to clean pots and pans battered from years of use, rust stains on concrete and stainless steel, kitchen appliances and bathroom surfaces. We also tested The Pink Stuff Miracle Scrubber Kit, a small electric scrub brush set, to see how it stacks up against other cleaning tools we recommend.

Stardrops The Pink Stuff Miracle All-Purpose Cleaning Paste


The Pink Stuff is a cleaning paste formulated for use on hard surfaces. It is highly abrasive and alkaline, so it has limited uses, but it is a standout product for restoring cookware and removing rust stains.

Stardrops The Pink Stuff Miracle Scrubber Kit


The Pink Stuff Miracle Scrubber Kit is a handheld, motorized scrub brush designed to be used with The Pink Stuff cleaning paste and the brand's other products. The battery-operated tool comes with four attachments: a large brush head, a medium brush head, a soft brush head and a firm cone brush head.

$21 at Amazon

What I liked about it

It’s excellent on stainless steel and enameled cast-iron cookware

The Pink Stuff quickly and easily restored stainless steel pans and an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven that were stained from years of use. I have never had particular luck with Bar Keepers Friend, a scouring powder often recommended by experts for its ability to restore stained and discolored pots, pans and other cookware, so I was thrilled to discover that The Pink Stuff does the job that Bar Keepers Friend has never quite managed to pull off (for me at least).

To test The Pink Stuff on stainless steel, I used it with a Scrub Daddy sponge to scour the bottom of a nonstick pan that darkened due to use; the pink paste left the pan looking practically new. However, it should not be used to clean nonstick surfaces, as it is too abrasive for the delicate material.

Then, to make sure that The Pink Stuff was doing the work that could be rightfully attributed to a sponge, I cleaned one half of a Dutch oven with The Pink Stuff and a regular scrub sponge, and the other half with The Pink Stuff and a Scrub Mommy sponge. The results were impressive: Both sponges performed equally well, lifting a significant amount of staining from my 20-plus-year-old pot.

It’s a great rust stain remover

The Pink Stuff handily removed a rust stain in my stainless steel sink left behind by a metal planter, as well as a rust stain on concrete. Rust stains can be tricky to remove, often requiring a specialty cleaner to get the job done right, so finding a good multipurpose cleaning agent that is effective at removing them is a win.

When paired with a Scrub Daddy sponge, the cleaning paste also quickly removed a stubborn mineral deposit ring in the toilet that other toilet bowl cleaners and tools hadn’t successfully removed.

Curiously, though, The Pink Stuff was not at all effective at eliminating hard water stains in a stainless steel sink and on nickel fixtures. And in the case of the nickel, it caused scratching during spot testing.

It’s a good choice for deep cleaning glass cooktops and glass oven doors

I used The Pink Stuff to clean my glass stovetop and the glass door to my oven. It was excellent at quickly and easily scouring baked-on oil, grease and food splatters from both surfaces.

However, when using The Pink Stuff on glass cooktops, it is important to test it first to ensure it doesn’t scratch the surface. And, even on cooktops that can withstand The Pink Stuff’s abrasiveness, I would only recommend it for deep-cleaning jobs, limiting its use to two to four times a year, to avoid micro-scratches and other damage over time.

To put it another way: The Pink Stuff is not a product I would recommend for daily or weekly cleaning, because of both its abrasiveness and its tendency to cause scratches, and because it is messy and hard to use (more on that below).

Low price and small packaging footprint

A tub of The Pink Stuff costs about $6 and, because a little goes a long way, you’ll get a lot of cleaning power for your money. As with virtually every cleaning product, it does have a shelf life — each tub is printed with a batch code so users can track the product’s expiration — but because it is a low-water formula, its shelf life is on the long side at three years.

To preserve the product and ensure it doesn’t dry out, wipe the rim of the tub well before replacing its lid, and make sure the lid is firmly in place. Store The Pink Stuff in a cool, dry place, and if it is a product you won’t use often, consider putting a layer of plastic wrap over the paste before putting the lid back on.

For people who lack storage space or don’t want to clutter their homes with lots of cleaning products, The Pink Stuff is also an attractive buy because the tub itself is small and easy to store.

Jolie Kerr/CNN Underscored
Jolie Kerr/CNN Underscored

What I didn’t like about it

It will scratch many surfaces — and don’t even think about using it on marble, granite and other natural stones

While I do recommend The Pink Stuff for certain cleaning jobs, I do so with several strong reservations. Before getting into the specific drawbacks and product warnings, here is some general guidance to bear in mind about using The Pink Stuff: Despite what social media shows, The Pink Stuff is not an all-purpose cleaner, it is not a miracle product and it is not a product I recommend for use in all homes or for all things.

If that sounds harsh, well, it’s meant to! The Pink Stuff is very good at a limited number of cleaning jobs, but it can also cause a lot of damage to your home and your belongings. Before using it you must — must, must, must! — test it to ensure it will not scratch or otherwise damage hard surfaces.

In my testing, it caused significant scratching to a plastic microwave display panel and nickel faucets. It is highly abrasive and not a pH-neutral cleaner (more on that below), so it should not be used to clean any surfaces that call for mild detergents or that cannot tolerate abrasives. It will scratch plastic, and care should be taken when using it on glass, as well as painted wood or drywall.

Mixed results on stains and in the bathroom

As a stain remover, The Pink Stuff fell surprisingly flat, with the notable exception of rust stains. It didn’t remove stains, soap scum and other buildup in a bathtub, even when paired with Stardrops’ electric scrub brush and a Scrub Daddy. It left hard water spots in a stainless steel sink. It made an absolute mess of grout, leaving pink blobs, splatters and smears that took an inordinate amount of rinsing to remove.

Given the damage it can cause, and the rather lackluster results, I would not recommend The Pink Stuff for cleaning bathrooms; there are better — and gentler — options out there.

It’s messy and harder to use than other products

One of the biggest mistakes people make when cleaning is using too much product. The popularity of cleaning videos on TikTok has exacerbated this problem — but in reality, using excessive amounts of any cleaning agent will leave you rinsing for days. Additionally, overusing cleaning products will almost certainly leave behind residue, which will give surfaces a dull appearance and will attract and trap more grime, leaving them dirtier over time.

Of all the problems I had with The Pink Stuff, the one that I find most bothersome is how difficult and messy this product is to use. It’s very easy to overuse, and it’s highly prone to leaving a chalky film on surfaces — even after plenty of rinsing and buffing. It’s such a hard thing to quantify, and your mileage, as they say, may vary — but I found it incredibly frustrating to use.

For best results while using The Pink Stuff, follow these instructions:

  • Step 1: Test The Pink Stuff in an inconspicuous area to determine if it is safe to use on the surface you want to clean. It is recommended that you wear rubber household gloves while working with The Pink Stuff, as it is harsh and can cause skin irritation or dryness.

  • Step 2: Apply a small amount of the cleaning paste to a sponge, cleaning cloth, scrub brush or other cleaning tool. Use the paste sparingly to avoid excessive rinsing time and prevent it from leaving a film.

  • Step 3: Working in a circular motion, apply The Pink Stuff to the surface in need of cleaning. For deeper cleaning, allow the cleaning paste to sit on the surface for 10 to 20 minutes to penetrate and break down buildup.

  • Step 4: Use a soft cloth or sponge to wipe The Pink Stuff off of the surface, rinsing the cloth or sponge frequently with clean water as you work. It will take several passes to remove the thick, chalky paste, so take care not to overuse the product.

  • Step 5: Use a dry cloth or paper towel to dry the surface and buff away any residue.

It’s drying, and quite harsh on skin

The Pink Stuff is an alkaline cleaning agent; according to its Safety Data Sheet, it has a pH of 9.5 to 10.5 when diluted. Alkaline, or high pH, substances are drying to skin. So when working with The Pink Stuff, it is a good idea to wear rubber household gloves to protect your hands.

Due to its alkalinity, as well as its abrasiveness, The Pink Stuff should not be used to clean any materials or surfaces that call for mild detergents. Mild detergents are pH neutral and do not contain any abrasives, making them safe for scratch- and damage-prone surfaces, including nonstick and cast-iron cookware, natural stones like marble and granite, painted walls and more.

The motorized scrub brush is loud and so messy

Jolie Kerr/CNN Underscored
Jolie Kerr/CNN Underscored

We’re big fans of electric scrub brushes at Underscored, and our readers are too, so we were particularly keen to test Stardrops’ small, short-handled electric scrub brush kit. Unfortunately, the Miracle Scrubber was a fun idea that didn’t turn out to be all that useful, and in some cases, it made more of a mess than the original mess in need of cleaning.

The scrub brush was so loud; I wasn’t expecting that much noise to come out of such a small tool. It also made a huge mess, flinging The Pink Stuff all over and leaving tiny pink splatters everywhere. You can cut back on the splatter effect by using a very sparing amount of paste and only turning the motor on once the brush is in the place you want to clean — but requiring extra work to prevent an even bigger mess is an unreasonable ask for a cleaning tool.

If you’re in the market for a nonmanual scrub brush, we’d recommend sticking with a Drillbrush or, for people who need to clean hard-to-reach places, the Voweek Electric Spin Scrubber.

Bottom line

The Pink Stuff has some standout uses, notably as a rust stain remover and for restoring stainless steel and enameled cast-iron cookware battered by years of use. Its low price and small footprint make it an attractive multipurpose cleaning agent for homes of all sizes.

But it’s not the miracle cleaner it claims to be, and it should not be used to clean many household surfaces because its abrasiveness and alkalinity can cause significant scratching and other damage. Additionally, The Pink Stuff should only be used sparingly and, even when used correctly, is prone to leaving a chalky film on surfaces after cleaning.

Overall, the way The Pink Stuff performed in our testing serves as an important reminder that cleaning content on TikTok and other social media platforms is entertaining to watch because it’s exactly that: entertainment. But when it comes to actual cleaning advice, be wary of the products and methods you see going viral, do your own research and always — always! — be sure to test any new cleaning product before using it to ensure it won’t damage your home or belongings.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailers' listed price at the time of publication.

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