How to Remove Grease From Metal for Guaranteed Results

Vinegar Is Surprisingly a Powerful Degreaser

vinegar as an inexpensive grease cleaner

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 mins - 1 hr
  • Total Time: 15 mins - 1 hr
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5 to $10

Grease can accumulate on metal surfaces in the kitchen through cooking splatters and even airborne particles. It can settle on your stove hood, in your sink with dirty cookware, and more. Fortunately, removing grease from metal does not require expensive or unusual cleaning products. Follow these methods to remove grease from metal using dish soap, vinegar, and isopropyl alcohol.

How Often to Remove Grease From Metal

Obvious splatters on the stovetop and other surfaces should be cleaned right away to prevent grease buildup. At least weekly, clean frequently touched metal surfaces in the kitchen, such as the exteriors of the refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, and small appliances. Oven and dishwasher interiors should be cleaned at least monthly to remove grease.

Why Vinegar Works as a Grease Remover

Vinegar is an effective all-purpose household cleaner. The acetic acid in vinegar is relatively mild, so it won't damage your metal surfaces. It's also nonabrasive. But it will still cut through grease and grime, dissolving it from the surface rather than just smearing it around as you wipe. In addition:

  • It deodorizes, and its smell dissipates quickly.
  • It's safe for use around children and pets.
  • It's inexpensive.

Tip

If you have a big grease spill, sprinkle the mess with lots of flour. The flour will absorb the oil quickly and prevent it from spreading. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then brush or wipe it away into a trash bin.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Sink or container
  • 2 sponges or soft cloths
  • 1 microfiber cloth
  • Measuring cups and spoons

Materials

  • Hot water
  • Dish soap
  • Baking soda (optional)
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Lemon (optional)
  • Isopropyl alcohol

Instructions

Overhead view of materials needed to clean grease off of metal

The Spruce / Almar Creative

How to Remove Grease From Metal With Dish Soap

  1. Mix the Cleaning Solution

    In a sink or container, add 1 tablespoon of dish soap to 1 gallon of hot water.

    Note that to successfully remove greasy residue, you must use hot water. Cold water will cause the grease to solidify, making it harder to wash it away completely.

    Tip

    Select a dish soap that includes a degreasing agent. Most degreasing agents are surfactants that help to keep grease molecules suspended in water, so they don't redeposit on surfaces.

    Mixing a cleaning solution in a plastic container

    The Spruce / Almar Creative

  2. Wipe Away the Grease

    Dip a sponge or soft cloth into the solution, and wring until it's not dripping. Wipe away the grease following a grid pattern or the grain of the metal, so you won't miss any areas. Rinse the sponge in the cleaning solution frequently to prevent redepositing the grease.

    Preparing to wipe away the grease from the metal

    The Spruce / Almar Creative

  3. Tackle Burnt Food

    If there is burnt food mixed with the grease that doesn't come off easily, try sprinkling some baking soda on your damp sponge or cloth and then wiping. It will act as a mild abrasive.

    Using baking soda to clean off burnt food

    The Spruce / Almar Creative

  4. Rinse and Dry

    Once the surface no longer feels greasy, use a clean sponge or cloth dipped in plain warm water to rinse the metal. Finally, use a microfiber cloth to dry the metal.

    Drying off the cleaned metal

    The Spruce / Almar Creative

How to Remove Grease From Metal With Vinegar

  1. Mix the Cleaning Solution

    In a sink or container, mix a 1-to-1 solution of distilled white vinegar and hot water.

    To amplify the vinegar's acidic cleaning power, you also can add the juice of one lemon per every cup of vinegar if you want.

    Tip

    If you mix the solution in a spray bottle, you can save it for later use to remove grime from other surfaces as a green cleaner.

    Mixing a cleaning solution in a spray bottle

    The Spruce / Almar Creative

  2. Wipe the Grease

    Dip a sponge or soft cloth in the cleaning solution (or spray the surface with the solution if you're using a spray bottle). Then, wipe away the grease.

    Spraying the degreasing cleaner onto a metal spoon rest

    The Spruce / Almar Creative

  3. Rinse and Dry

    Rinse the area with a clean sponge or cloth dipped in plain water, and dry the metal with a microfiber cloth.

    Drying off the metal

    The Spruce / Almar Creative

How to Remove Grease With Isopropyl Alcohol

  1. Mix the Cleaning Solution

    Mix equal parts hot water and isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol in a sink or container. The alcohol will work as a solvent to cut through the grease.

    Mixing a rubbing alcohol cleaning solution

    The Spruce / Almar Creative

  2. Wipe the Grease

    Dip a clean sponge or soft cloth into the solution, and wipe away the grease.

    Using a sponge dipped in rubbing alcohol solution to clean a metal bowl

    The Spruce / Almar Creative

  3. Rinse and Dry

    Dip a fresh sponge or cloth in plain warm water, and rinse the area. Use a microfiber cloth to dry the metal.

    Drying a metal bowl with a microfiber cloth

    The Spruce / Almar Creative

Tips to Keep Metal Surfaces Grease-Free Longer

  • Use splatter guards or lids when cooking greasy foods on a stovetop.
  • Cook foods at lower temperatures to prevent grease splatters and in the correct size pan to prevent boil-overs.
  • Cover foods in the microwave to prevent splatters.
  • Clean or change kitchen exhaust filters frequently.
  • When using oil-based cooking sprays, spray cookware and bakeware outside or over an open dishwasher to prevent droplets from settling on metal surfaces that are more difficult to clean.
Originally written by
Erin Huffstetler
Erin Huffstetler is a frugal living expert who has been writing for over 10 years about easy ways to save money at home. She's covered money-saving advice and tricks for numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Forbes, among others. She is the owner of "My Frugal Home," a money-saving, frugal living how-to guide.
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