Grease/oil buildup is one of the oldest and most common cleaning
problems. As you already know, it's no fun to remove from almost
anything - countertops, laundry, etc. I?ll try to make is as easy as
possible for you, with the least amount of side-effects (toxicity,
surface damage, etc.) I?ll give you a list of different approaches,
generally starting with the least risky, and getting stronger.
STRATEGY 101 - START WITH LESS TOXIC
Oils/grease/fats are often best dissolved by alkaline solvents, in
general, so we may be looking for one of those. The problem with
Alkaline degreasers is that they can be quite toxic (think drain
cleaner, lye...) So, it's a good idea to start less toxic and move up
as needed. Following is a spectrum of ideas that range from safe
enough to eat (baking soda) to pretty toxic (lye and other solvents.)
STRATEGY 102 - DISSOLVE, DON?T SCRUB
First, in cleaning oil-based stains (or any stains, for that matter),
dissolving is what you want to try to do. Scouring, scraping and
scrubbing are something you want to avoid - not only are they less
than entertaining activities, they're also likely to inflict damage on
your surfaces. Formica countertops and wood cabinets - the most
common kitchen surfaces - are easy to scratch, and scratches are even
harder to remove than cooking oil build-up!
There are a few non-scratch abrasives available ? including plain
baking soda and Bon Ami powder.
They are likely to be completely safe to your surfaces. But even so,
given the type of build-up you?re describing, they may not be strong
So, we're looking to dissolve as much as possible. One reason that
oily or greasy spills are hard to clean is that oil/grease are not
very soluble in the (almost) universal solvent - water. Therefore, we
need different/stronger stuff to dissolve them.
ORANGE / CITRUS BASED CLEANERS
One relatively recent addition to the category of cleaning products
has been the family of Orange or Citrus cleaners. (Despite the fact
that the name would seem to be acidic, not alkali) many people find
them very effective at cutting grease, and very safe, as well.
One specific product that has worked well for me personally has been a
line of cleaners from Orange Glo International. They have dozens of
specific products, including a degreasing foam that you spray onto
grease build-up, and let it work for a short while before wiping up.
You can buy it (and any of their other products) over the internet at
Orange Glo products are also available in stores like Target, Walmart,
Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Bed Bath and Beyond, most wholesale clubs
and many grocery stores.
Here's a fuller list of the stores that carry the Orange Glo products:
Orange Glo is not the only brand of citrus cleaner, but it is one of
the oldest and has worked the best for me, personally, (despite the
fact that it's sold on TV! )
GOJO HAND CLEANER
Linda Cobb, "The Queen of Clean" recommends GoJo Hand cleaner, even
for the grease of barbeque grills.
GoJo is often found in automotive mechanics' toolboxes - it has been
around for a long time as a grease-cutting hand cleaner. It's
relatively non-toxic, as cleaners go - it's made as a hand soap, but
it's also quite effective.
However, if the non-scratch abrasives, the citrus cleaner and the GoJo
all turn out not to be strong enough, it's on to the more powerful
alkalis. Hey - we tried the gentle way!
The website www.howtocleananything.com is always a good place to start
for cleaning advice. In cleaning grease/oil buildup, they suggest
scraping off as much as you can with something stiff - an old credit
card, etc., then using an akaline degreaser.
Another website - www.doityourself.com has a list of detergents - from
mild (dishwashing) to stronger (laundry detergent.) In general, hand
dishwashing detergent is made to be quite mild, as it's designed to
have prolonged contact with human skin. That is likely why you've had
little success with that type of detergent. But, you may find that
laundry detergent works better.
Doityourself.com also has a list of alkali cleaners/degreasers, which
range from quite mild to strong but fairly toxic. (Most of the
cleaners won't leave traces of toxins after you're done, especially if
you rinse well, but they can be toxic while you're working with them.)
This site lists alkali degreasers from baking soda all the way up to
lye and drain cleaner. From the sounds of your situation, the mildest
solvents aren't going to do it, but you can start out mild and work
your way up.
Finally, the doityourself.com website also gives a list of other
organic solvents - acetone, denatured alcohol, petroleum distillates
including kerosene, mineral spirits, naphtha, dry cleaning fluid, and
I hope that somewhere on this spectrum of solutions, you?ll find the
one that?s just strong enough for your kitchen.
(All Google Search)
Clean Cooking Oil
Queen of Clean
Orange Citrus Cleaner
How To Clean Anything