Cleaning Greasy Stovetop Grates

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Hi everyone! Happy JULY!

Here’s a recent exchange we had on our Facebook page

Maura

I was wondering if you can tell me how to clean grease build up on my gas stove top. I have tried degreasers but still with no success. I even ran it in the dish washer in the high heat wash and nada. so I was wondering if you can help me out with this and I will forever be grateful.

Clean My Space

Hi Maura, I’m going to post something on our blog about a few things you can try, this is a good question! Can you just clarify for me one thing: it is your gas stove top burners (like the iron grates) that you need to degrease? Thanks!

Maura

Hi there. Thanks for responding. Yes, its for the stove top burners including the iron gates and the burner base. the previous tenants obviously fried a lot of food and didn’t clean the base and the gates. It bothers me and I just need to get it cleaned. Please help. Thanks!

Okey Dokey.

The issue is clear. Degreasing is what is going to solve Maura’s frustrations.  I have two suggestions for her to try..

The first is to use a degreaser.

Now you may think that Maura already stated she used a degreaser so why try again?  Now I don’t know from Maura’s post if she actually let the product sit for a while or not which is why I’d be remiss not to recommend it.  Huh?

You see, we are made to believe that powerful degreasers cut through grease and grime with one spray and one wipe (so says the commercials we see anyway) but that’s really not the case.  Degreasers do work, but as the saying goes ‘knowing is half the battle’ and many of us just don’t know how to use a degreaser properly.  What we are not overtly told (i.e. read the fine print if you dare), is that a degreaser needs to sit wet on a surface for a period of time before it actually works.  Your grease and grime isn’t any different from your neighbour’s who claims the same product works for them.  It comes down to the methodology of use!

Let me give you a comparison.  Think about an onion; we don’t cut it open and toss it in a greased skilled for 30 seconds, stir it around a couple of times and expect to have beautifully caramelized onions.   We know it’s a process, things need to happen and time needs to pass before we get our tasty onion reward.  The same goes for a degreaser, it takes time and proper technique to effectively get the job done.  So what does this look like?  Well, if you have a particularly greasy stove top, be very generous, spray the area liberally and ensure it’s wet for the duration of the soak time. If you do notice it starts to dry up, grab that bottle and re-spray the area.

The heavier the build-up, the more time the product needs to physically deteriorate the bond the grease and carbonized chunks have with the surface.  I recommend leaving it for at least 15 minute and don’t be shy, if you want to leave it on for 30 minutes go for it.

I know I have a habit of rambling, sorry, but I just want to make sure the degreaser situation has been clarified.

So having said that, my first recommendation would be to spray a degreaser on the grates and let them sit for at least 30 minutes, soaking wet, before scrubbing clean with a superfine steel wool pad (assuming the grates are enamelled or iron).  Superfine steel wool or a non-scratching scrub sponge actually, either is fine.  The key word here is non-scratching. If you don’t heed my warning you’ll see ‘spiderwebbing’, those very fine scratch marks that show up on surfaces from using an abrasive product.

If you want to use a store-bought degreaser the you can try any brand you fancy, I know the brands with citrus additives (i.e. orange or lemon oils) are the ones that I find to be particularly good with degreasing.  I’ve heard brands like Soft Scrub, Bam, Dawn and even some generic brand degreasers work.   If you want to make your own, I’ve got a video here on how to make your own cleaning products and I’ve got a super awesome degreaser recipe included. I love it!


You can use the degreaser on both the burners and the grates.

The second option is to use ammonia.

Full disclosure, I don’t like using ammonia because I feel like anything that comes with a health warning isn’t a good option for a recovering hypochondriac like me (‘OMG it touched me, is my arm going to burn? Will it get into my blood stream via osmosis? What if I inhale it, will it burn my lungs? etc.).  But I can’t argue the fact that it does work.  So if you are mentally braver than I, here’s what to do.

Firstly, you’ll need an outdoor space like a balcony or a garage.  With grates and burner covers in hand, take a garbage bag and place them in the garbage bag.  We are using the garbage bag to contain the smell of the ammonia.  Pour a half cup of ammonia into the bag and tie it up (to keep the fumes in).  It’s those fumes that somehow magically loosen the grease, so let them do their thing.  Leave it be overnight and then next morning give them a good rinse under cool water (wear rubber gloves when handling for protection) and towel dry.  They should come out nice and clean.  Dispose of the bag safely.  Keep in mind that anyone who is chemically sensitive or pregnant shouldn’t inhale ammonia (I’m sure there are other warnings too).

While the grates are soaking in the ammonia bag, attack your stove top with a non-scratching sponge and some cleaner.  In terms of what to use, it depends on just how greasy the surface is.  For a moderately dirty stove top, you can make your own paste using baking soda and water (a 50/50 mix) and scrubclean  or you can try Barkeeper’s Friend (something I have yet to try but keep hearing wonderful things about).  For something greasier, find a good degreaser and treat the area per the method above.  You’ll need to invest some elbow grease in getting the dirt off, but if you use the right product and tool your job will be easier and you will get the results you are looking for.

Give your stove top a final polish, put it all back together again and voila, your stove top will look awesome.

So, give these a whirl and let us know what happens!

Have you tried either of these methods?  Which has worked?  What are your secrets for getting your gas grates and burner covers clean?

36 COMMENTS

  1. Try HDX Citrus Degreaser 32oz. Get it at Home Depot. Spray it on. Let it sit 10-15min. Wipe clean. Use a scotch brite pad for scrubbing if needed. My grates on my stove were a mess!!! This product is amazing!!

  2. I had the mammoth task of cleaning the gas stove which had been neglected for couple of years.. the knobs were sticky and gas stove grill was black due to the build up. Thanks to your 1:1 dish wash and vinegar solution and baking soda i was able to clean it to see the green paint that was hidding under the build up… a big big big thank you… while cleaning the and scribbing i used warm soapy solution along with a plastic scrubber and vola the stove and i both were happy!

  3. Melissa I love your videos and channel. Can you do a video on cleaning your patio? I have two dogs and one just won’t use the restroom in the grass. So I often scrub my patio but it still stinks off dog mess.

  4. I tried the ammonia method on my cast iron grates. They did come clean but are showing signs of rust. I wonder if I could season them as I do my cast iron skillets?

  5. Ammonia didn’t work! Ugh! I’ve been trying to clean these grates for months and thought this would do it based on the excited comments from others. I let the bag sit out overnight and it was freezing temps. The ammonia was actually frozen this morning. Could that have something to do with it? The only other thing is this was lemon scented ammonia. Thoughts?

  6. thanks for your common sense ideas all of which my grandmother showed me when i was moved into my first home.i also like to take herbs and boil them ie rosemary or rose petals i then use a 50/50 mix of that water and vinegar to mop my floors

      • i have an industrial stove that used to be in a restaurant.i take my grates outside and set them on the driveway or planks of wood.(not onyour lawn!)……spray with oven cleaner and let set for an hour….it works great.i scrub and rinse off with my hose….the whole mess is left outside.

    • I’ve put mine in big black garbage bags, close the bag tight, and put the whole thing in the slop sink in my basement. Only need about a quarter cup of ammonia. The vapors do more of the cleaning, hence the tight knotted bag…

  7. I tried the orange cleaner from a dollar store ( 3 gallons ) let them soak for a day and a half one at a time. If they were not too bad it worked fine but for the ones that were the worst it didn’t really touch them. I will try the ammonia trick next. Is there anything that you can spray on them after you get them clean to keep the grease from sticking? Iadoughgirl

  8. Melissa, I have read your comments above and will be trying the degreaser on my stove grates……but my cook top stove is stainless steel from Wolf. Will the same idea work for the few spots I have on the stainless steel? I’m afraid to use BarKeepers Friend as it may scratch even more. I also have scratch marks from moving the grates but don’t think there is anything I can so about that at this point. Thanks so much for the great cleaning tips. Hugs, Lucy

    • Lucy, I have used BarKeepers Friend for several years, on all my stainless surfaces…I have no problem with scratching the polished surfaces. When I was trained, as a professional house cleaner, I was told to sprinkle the powder directly on the surface, and then, using a moistened sponge or paper towel, to begin in a circular motion and scour the surface. I use it to remove blackened, cooked on residue from my stainless pots, as well. I do use gloves, and if you are really sensitive you can wear a mask. I also use BF to clean my porcelain sinks, it helps to remove rust (bobbie pins! and teenager razor) and hard water marks from other surfaces, too… my husband uses it to keep his car grill looking good without scratches.

  9. I was wondering if I could clean my cast iron stove top grates by putting them into my self cleaning oven during the oven’s cleaning cycle?

  10. I use Bio Green Clean on EVERYTHING! It is made from 100 % natural sources. Great stuff! I dilute it 3:1 for regular house hold cleaning. 10:1 for glass and shiny surfaces and full strength for grease, etc. Spray, leave soak, wipe up Viola! No, I don’t have any involvement, I am just one happy customer. I even used it to take red wine out of a carpet once!

  11. Hi Melissa, i tried cleaning my plastic coated gas stove top, while I got the oven door part, which is stainless steel done following your great tips, the top is a nightmare to clean. I tried using degreaser like vinegar + dishwash liquid, or even over the counter spray for stove tops. But after I used them, I see these bubbles forming over the plastic finish, and they appear to be irreversible, so it looks really ugly right now.
    Any tips on that? Is it the acidic/corrosive part that is causing this reaction?

  12. Ammonia works by a process known as saponification. Ammonia is a medium strength alkali and turns grease into soap through chemistry. Of course soap dissolves in water and washes off easily. In fact the age old method for making soap from scratch was to mix wood ashes with leftover grease from cooking. I found that ammonia works well at removing the residue that still contains grease, but once that is gone there may still be burned-on stains that have no grease left in them. For that you will need to scrub. I use a fine grit abrasive ball that I mount in an electric drill to save my arm muscles.

  13. What about running cast iron grates through a self cleaning oven cycle. I have done this once with good results but not sure if there is any reason I should not have done so. My stove had two grates that separate so they fit nicely in the oven. After they came out of the oven I washed them in water and a brillow pad and they were good as new.

  14. I used Dawn Grill Cleaner (also sold as Dawn Power Dissolver) and it worked like a charm. Goes on thick, like a gel and is not super sudsy. After letting it sit 10 minutes or so, I used a scrubby to clean off the grease. Worked perfectly.

  15. Tried the ammonia and it took several tries putting them back in the bag and then much elbow grease with the sos after but it eventually comes off, most of it. It is not as easy as they make it sound. ,

  16. TIP = lock the grates in a sealed tupperware (or similar) container. my plastic lags leaked. I sealed in one at a time and left it in there overnight. the grease basically bubbled up and wiped right off. there were a few corners that i used a scotch-brite scrubber on but overall it worked great. remember – leave them sealed for a LONG time. this is the key if they are really funky.

  17. I used this method followed by a quick blast in the dishwasher on the highest temperature – never seen my grates so clean!

  18. I was in the habit of using Barkeeper’s friend, but developed a severe allergy. Either the paste got into the pores of my hands (I stupidly did not wear gloves) or I inhaled the powder. It either event, allergic reaction like I have to MSG and red pepper, just made me miserable. It is scary as well when your throat constricts ! Be careful with these cleaning products.

  19. my gas stoves grates are made out of cast iron with a rough texture. would it be save to let a degreaser sit on them. Or is there another method I should use for them.

    Also I have a microwave/hood combo and there is a vent on top that is super greasy grimy. I was wondering if there was a tip you could share on cleaning it. I am afraid to let a degreaser sit on it because it will drop down in the vent and not to sure what all is under the vent that could get messed up. I was thinking of some sort of paste but couldn’t find a recipe for something that would do the task.

    and help would be very much appreciated. and I am in love with you videos, help, and spunky attitude. Thank so much for helping me clean my house. Its like therapy.

    • Im in the same boat: Cast Iron Grates. I don’t want them to get wrecked…Will the degreaser and ammonia ruin them? It makes me nervous to even ‘try’

    • I suggest you go to the website or call the 8oo # for the particular brand of stove you have and they will recommend an appropriate product

  20. I love using the ammonia. As a hairstylist, the smell doesn’t bother me a bit (sit with the smell of a perm wafting up your nose for a few hours, and you will be begging for the lovely scent of ammonia instead). It works great! I actually fill a spray bottle with it, spray it all over everything greasy in my kitchen, put some gloves on, and go at it!

  21. The ammonia solution was a godsend. Our grates were so bad (=disgusting), I was about ready to just buy new ones. I tried steam cleaning, solvents, even power washing with no luck.
    This did the trick. A couple were so bad it took a couple of sessions, so do not give up…also works well with oven shelves. My only other suggestion is to clean the residue off the grates as soon as you remove from the bag, as the greasy dirt tends to harden back up quickly.

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