5 Great Ways to Clean Grease

By: Caitlin Uttley  | 

dirty stovetop
Cleaning stuck-on grease anywhere in your kitchen (or elsewhere for that matter) is a tough job. travelarium.ph/Shutterstock

Burgers in the skillet, chicken in a deep fryer, even a take-out pizza can leave a greasy mess all over your kitchen. And unless you're Samantha from "Bewitched" and can make problems disappear with just a twitch of your nose, you know a good scrub is on its way.

Water alone can't get rid of grease because water molecules don't stick to grease molecules. And elbow grease isn't always enough to tackle the baked-on gunk found in kitchens. Commercial grease cleaners can do the trick for most messes, but if you don't have any products on hand (or you'd rather use products without harsh chemicals), what else can you do?

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There are ways to fight grease using things you already have around your home. These five household solutions for eliminating kitchen grease will have you out of your cleaning gloves and back relaxing in no time.

5: Flour

bag of flour
Flour is super useful for tackling grease spills if you use it immediately. Jose A. Bernat Bacete/Getty Images

If you're cooking and have a grease spill, you can clean it up immediately before it becomes a problem later. One easy way is to sprinkle flour over the spill. Let the flour sit for a few minutes to absorb the grease and then you can easily wipe it up. This only works if the grease isn't dry. If it is, try the next method on our list.

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4: Baking Soda and Water

Baking soda and water
Baking soda and water is ideal for ridding your counters and other hard surfaces of old grease spills that are hard and dry. Maderla/Shutterstock

Baking soda's a great all-purpose cleaning solution for lots of things around the house. When it's mixed with water, you can use it to remove tarnish from copper, juice and coffee stains from countertops, discoloration on stainless steel and, you guessed it, hard-to-remove grease.

Baking soda is an alkali, which means it does a great job of dissolving grease. And because it's mild, it destroys grease without destroying the surface you're cleaning. Just mix 3 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 cup of water. Use the solution on a sponge to scrub away light grease stains from hard surfaces, like countertops, your stovetop, and even pots and pans.

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3: Dish Soap

grease stain on shirt
Not all grease stains end up in the kitchen. For those that land on your shirt, pretreat them with dish soap. Kabardins photo/Shutterstock

Grease splatters on the counters, walls and cabinets when we're cooking, but what about when it gets on your clothes? How to get it out of your favorite shirt or tablecloth? For those soft surfaces, squirt a tiny bit of dish soap directly onto the stain. Let the soap soak for about half an hour before washing the linens in cold water.

Soaps are designed to attach to grease and fat molecules and help wash them away, and dish soaps are some of the strongest grease-fighters around. So when you use a drop of dish soap to pretreat grease stains on clothes and other linens, it does a great job of releasing the grease from the fabrics.

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2: Salt and Rubbing Alcohol

scrubbing a grease stain
Scrubbing a grease stain that's landed on the carpet with salt and vinegar is a good way to release it from the fibers. Catherine McQueen/Getty Images

You know how to get grease out of your shirt, but what if it drips on the kitchen carpet or rug? Those can't just be tossed in the washing machine.

For large items things like chair cushions and other soft goods, you'll need salt and rubbing alcohol. Mix one part salt and four parts rubbing alcohol and rub the mixture hard on the stain until it lifts away. After the grease is gone and your solution dries, vacuum up the excess salt and use a damp cloth to wipe away any marks left behind.

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1: Vinegar

vinegar
Vinegar should be a go-to in your cleaning arsenal. Use it to fight grease in your oven while it's still hot to break the stains loose. gpointstudio/Shutterstock

For tough, caked-on grease stains, especially those stuck to the stove and the inside of the oven, you can spray white vinegar directly on the stain and let it soak in for about five minutes. The acid in the vinegar will help dissolve and soften the tough, crunchy parts (mostly a food-grease mixture), making it easier to scrub away with a soft sponge.

For the best results, apply the vinegar when the surface is hot. So if you need to clean your oven, do it just after use, or heat it up slightly beforehand.

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Vinegar doesn't cut grease by itself the way alkali materials do, but it can help soften up the mess and make cleaning it easier. You also can use white vinegar can also be used as a preventative grease fighter for your pots and pans.

Originally Published: May 10, 2012

Clean Grease FAQ

What will dissolve grease?
White vinegar can remove grease. Wet a rag or sponge with vinegar and saturate the greasy area. Then, wipe it up. It should cut the grease almost immediately but it’s important to only use it on glass, metal and other non-porous surfaces.
What is the best way to clean grease off kitchen walls?
Create a paste using warm water and baking soda and apply it to the wall. Let it sit for a minute and then wipe it off with a clean, damp rag.
What is the best way to clean greasy windows?
There are many ways to do it. For windows that are extremely grimy, you can use vinegar or a grease-fighting dish soap like Dawn.
How do you remove dried grease?
A mixture of dish soap, kosher salt, and baking soda can help remove dried grease. You may also want to use a mildly abrasive sponge (rather than a rag) to help lift off the grime.
How do you clean hardened grease?
Use one cup of water with three tablespoons of baking soda. Soak a sponge with the solution and get cleaning.

Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • Apartment Therapy. "How to Clean Grease from Kitchen Surfaces." (May 21, 2012). http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-green-clean-grease-from-138621
  • Editors of Reader's Digest. "Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things: 2,317 Ways to Save Money and Time." Penguin, 2007.
  • Hardage, Rachel. "10 New Uses for Baking Soda." Real Simple. (May 21, 2011). http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/10-new-uses-for-baking-soda-10000001030037/index.html
  • Herrbach, Toni. The Happy Housewife. "Removing Grease Stains from Clothes: Ask Happy." March 1, 2011. (May 21, 2012). http://thehappyhousewife.com/home-management/removing-grease-stains/
  • Shea, Taylor. Reader's Digest. "How to Get Grease Out of Clothes—And Pretty Much Everywhere Else." Aug. 13, 2021. (May 18, 2022) https://www.rd.com/list/how-to-remove-grease-stains/
  • Williams, Laura. "How to...Cut Through the Gunk." She Knows, Jan. 1, 2012. (May 18, 2022). http://www.sheknows.com/how-to/articles/847769/clean-up-grease

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