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Q: Cleaning off dried vegetable oil ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Cleaning off dried vegetable oil
Category: Family and Home > Food and Cooking
Asked by: dnewman82-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 26 May 2004 19:34 PDT
Expires: 25 Jun 2004 19:34 PDT
Question ID: 352489
So I have a deep fryer. It's great, cheaper, easier, and generally
better than buying fast food. Question is, how in the hell can I clean
off the dried oil after disposal? It dries into this gunk, which seems
impervious to dishwashing soap (I don't have a dishwasher), and can
only be scrubbed off with my fingerails. I'm moving soon, and I'd like
to not leave splatters of dried vegetable oil in the kitchen of my
apartment. Recommend specific types of scrubbing devices and scouring
agents, preferably ones that won't leave traces of toxins.
Subject: Re: Cleaning off dried vegetable oil
Answered By: asking-ga on 26 May 2004 22:25 PDT

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.

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.)

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.

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! )

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 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 - 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.

ALKALI   DEGREASERS 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 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.

Happy moving!

Search Strategy:
(All Google Search)

Grease Cutting
Clean Cooking Oil
Queen of Clean
Orange Citrus Cleaner
GOJO Cleaner
How To Clean Anything
Subject: Re: Cleaning off dried vegetable oil
From: liner-ga on 27 May 2004 08:34 PDT
As someone who has a relatively good background in chemicals, it is
important to realize that lye and the like are what I call "short-term
toxic".  That is, they can harm you when present in high
concentrations.  The more technical term is "corrosive".  However, in
lower concentrations they cause few problems and in fact solutions of
things like dish washing detergent can be more irritating that low
concentrations of lye.

Also, lye is very water soluble, so with good rinsing it will wash
away completely.  So, while I don't recommend using "oven cleaner"
concentrations of lye from a safety standpoint, lye-based cleaners
designed for FOOD EQUIPMENT CLEANING are quite safe if you read the
directions.  Don't use drain cleaners, as they are not made with
cleaning food utensils.

Also, as an aside, if your fryer is aluminum be careful!  Lye can
dissolve aluminum although in low concentrations the rate is pretty
slow at room temperatures.
Subject: Re: Cleaning off dried vegetable oil
From: soulsister979-ga on 08 Jun 2004 16:23 PDT
Those sticky compounds are polymers which are part of the natural
breakdown of oil as a result of heating and cooling.

The standard procedure for cleaning and sanitizing a deep fat fryer is
to drain the frying oil and rinse to remove excess fat, followed by a
"boil out" with a strong caustic. Caustic or alkali cleaners contain
strong bases, such as caustic soda (Sodium Hydroxide NaOH), and
surfactant materials. The caustic cleaner saponifies residual fat, and
the combination of strong cleaner and high temperature is usually
adequate to remove polymer deposits from the walls and heating
elements of the fryer. Following the "boil out", the unit is rinsed to
remove traces of the cleaning compound. When cleaning fryers, an acid
rinse is strongly recommended to neutralize any residual caustic. If
residual caustic cleaner is not removed from the fryer walls, or the
rinse water is not drained from the entire unit, it can react with the
hot frying oil causing it to quickly degrade. Cleaning materials
usually contain metal ions such as sodium, calcium, and magnesium. The
metals react with fatty acids in the presence of water to form
alkaline soaps, such as sodium oleate. Soaps are powerful surfactant
materials, which can adversely affect frying operations in a number of
ways. They promote foaming, which can be both a worker safety issue
and can accelerate oxidation of the frying oil; they increase contact
between oil and food, which can affect the product's color, the amount
of oil it absorbs, and its overall acceptance; and they promote oil
breakdown by enhancing information of polymers and other degradation
products. Even small traces of excess soaps can have a dramatic

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