Spilled food and boil-overs wreak havoc with a stovetop, but that's why there are drip pans underneath the burners to catch it all. But they take a beating when cooking and it helps to know the methods to clean stove drip pans with burnt-on food and other messes that look impossible to remove.
What Is a Drip Pan?
A drip pan is a small metal shallow bowl that sits underneath your stove's burners to catch drips and liquids. Drip pans are removable for cleaning or replacement.
Knowing how to clean your stove's drip pans can be a challenge because high heat results in burnt-on food that's usually tough to remove. Before you ditch your dirty drip pans, read on to see how to clean drip pans on a stove using just a few household cleaning products. You'd be surprised at how many products you already have to clean your drip pans, from plain old dishwashing liquid to vinegar, baking soda, ammonia, or hydrogen peroxide. You can even try dryer sheets, WD-40, and oven cleaner. Patience is key because you may have to soak your stove drip pans overnight to see them shine again.
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 will be 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 smoke and even fires. Resist the urge to use the old method of lining removable pans with aluminum foil to catch spills and splatters. Foil can trap heat or melt and damage the pans and appliance.
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. You should also pay attention to how the components fit as you take the stove apart 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
- Mr. Clean Eraser
- One-gallon resealable plastic bags
- Hydrogen peroxide
How to Clean Drip Pans With Dishwashing Liquid
This method is among the mildest and works best for fresh spills and splatters that have yet to cake on or dry.
Remove Drip Pans and Components
When a spill happens, remove the drip pan and any separate decorative rings as soon as possible.
Create the Cleaning Solution
Fill your sink with hot water and add a few drops of dishwashing detergent that includes a grease-cutting ingredient.
Soak, Wipe, Rinse, and Dry
Place the drip pans and any other removable components in soapy water. Allow them to soak for at least 10 minutes or longer, depending on the severity of the grime. Wipe them down with a sponge or dishcloth—if there are spots that are tough to remove, use a Mr. Clean Eraser to lightly scrub away the food. Rinse the clean 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 homemade cleaning method when 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, scraping them with a dry paper towel to remove any loose or burned food particles. This is also a good time to check if food spills have overflowed onto the stovetop. If so, 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—this is normal. Let the mixture sit and work for at least an additional 15 minutes. If necessary, you can use a plastic scrubber (like a Scrub Daddy) to scour the pans, sprinkling additional baking soda onto 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 Overnight 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 throughout this process is highly 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 1/4 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, as the fumes will be strong. Remove the drip pans and dispose of the ammonia and plastic bags safely.
Dispose of the ammonia by pouring it down your drain while running cold water on full blast to dilute it. Do not dispose of the plastic bag filled with ammonia by putting it into the trash, since the fumes could combine with other materials to create a dangerous reaction.
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 stubborn spots.
Rinse, Dry, and Replace
Rinse well in hot water and dry each drip pan with a microfiber towel. Return to the stovetop.
How to Clean Drip Pans With Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda
Hydrogen peroxide, along with baking soda, has a similar fizzing reaction as vinegar and baking soda. The fizzing lifts gunk and the mess burnt on the drip pans. Hydrogen peroxide is sold in concentrations of 3 to 12 percent and even the lowest concentration will work just fine.
Sprinkle Baking Soda
Put your drip pans in a sink and liberally coat them with baking soda.
Pour on Peroxide
Pour undiluted hydrogen peroxide over the drip pans on top of the baking soda. You will begin to see fizzing action which is lifting gunk off the pans.
Let the drip pans soak like this for about 30 minutes.
After soaking, rinse the drip pans under cool water. Use a sponge to scrub away the baking soda residue. Repeat if necessary.
How do you clean stove drip pans in the oven?
Can stove drip pans go in the dishwasher?
Chrome and porcelain drip pans are dishwasher-safe. For best results, put drip pans on the top rack of your dishwasher, which is further away from the heating element of the appliance and offers a more gentle washing.
How long do stove drip pans last?