While a watched pot may never boil, turn your back and it will boil over! That's why stoves with electric or gas burners have drip pans underneath the heating unit to catch all those spills and drips. Unfortunately, when you combine high heat and spilled food, the food usually burns making it difficult to remove.
We have tested three methods for cleaning drip pans—from those with a small, fresh spill to the ones that don't look salvageable—using just a few household cleaning products.
How Often to Clean Stove Drip Pans
Ideally, drip pans should be cleaned after each time you use a stovetop burner. By tackling spills and splatters when they are fresh, the drip pans are easier to clean. Realistically, if you prepare food daily, give the drip pans a good cleaning weekly or as needed when you see stains. Allowing food particles and grease to build-up on drip pans can cause smoking and even fires.
Before You Begin
When cleaning any type of drip pan or stovetop components, always allow the burners to cool down completely before removing any parts. Pay attention to how the components fit so that they can be replaced in the correct order.
Equipment / Tools
- Sink or bucket
- Plastic scouring pad
- Microfiber cloth
- Rubber gloves (optional)
- Dishwashing liquid with degreaser
- Distilled white vinegar
- Baking soda
- Household ammonia
- Melamine sponge (Mr. Clean Eraser)
- One-gallon resealable plastic bags
How to Clean Drip Pans With Dishwashing Liquid
This method works well for fresh spills and splatters.
Drip pans and removable chrome trim rings that are only lightly soiled can be cleaned by placing them on the top rack of an automatic dishwasher.
Remove Drip Pans and Components
When a spill happens, remove the drip pan and any separate decorative rings.
Create a Cleaning Solution
Fill a sink with hot water and add a few drops of a good dishwashing detergent that includes a grease-cutting ingredient.
Soak, Wipe, Rinse, and Dry
Place the drip pans and other removable components in the soapy water. Allow them to soak for at least 10 minutes. Wipe down with a sponge or dishcloth. If there are tough to remove spots, use a melamine sponge (Mr. Clean Eraser) to lightly scrub away the food.
Rinse the drip pan in hot water and dry with a microfiber cloth.
Reinstall the Drip Pans
Replace the drip pans under the burners making sure that they are fitted smoothly in place.
How to Clean Drip Pans With Vinegar and Baking Soda
Use this method if soapy water just won't cut through the food build-up.
Remove the Drip Pans and Components
When the stovetop is cool, remove the drip pans. Shake them over a trashcan to remove any loose burned particles. This is a good time to check if food spills have overflowed onto the stovetop. It probably needs cleaning, as well.
Soak in Hot, Soapy Water
Fill a sink or bucket with enough hot water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid to completely cover the drip pans. Allow them to soak for 15 minutes.
Soak in Vinegar
Drain or empty the hot soapy water. Add enough distilled white vinegar to completely cover the drip pans and allow them to soak for 30 minutes.
Scrub with Baking Soda
Sprinkle the solution with a generous amount of baking soda. There will be a bit of fizzing as the baking soda reacts with the acid of the vinegar. Let the mixture work for at least 15 minutes. Use a plastic scrubber to scour the pans sprinkling on additional baking soda on areas with hard to remove stains.
Rinse, Dry, and Replace
Rinse the drip pans with hot water and dry with a microfiber cloth. Replace all of the components on the stovetop.
How to Clean Drip Pans with Household Ammonia
Household ammonia is a very strong cleaner and should always be used in a well-ventilated space. This method takes the longest but is the most effective on greasy drip pans with heavily burned-on food. If you have sensitive skin, wearing rubber gloves is recommended.
Bag the Drip Pans
When the drip pans are completely cool, place each drip pan in a separate one-gallon resealable plastic bag.
Add the Ammonia
Pour one-fourth cup of household ammonia into each bag. The cleaner is powerful enough that the drip pans do not need to be covered completely. The fumes will cut through the grease and grime.
Seal the Bags and Wait
Seal the bags and allow the ammonia to work for at least 12 hours. When it's time to open the bags, make sure that you open them away from your face. The fumes will be strong. Remove the drip pans and dispose of the ammonia and plastic bags safely.
Wash in Hot Soapy Water
Fill the sink with hot water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Wash the drip pans with a sponge and use a plastic scrubber or melamine sponge on any tough to remove spots.
Rinse, Dry, and Replace
Rinse well in hot water and dry each drip pan with a microfiber towel. Replace on the stovetop.
If the drip pans are in really bad condition, replacement and disposable drip pans are readily available online and in mass merchandisers for a reasonable price.