Learn how to tackle even the toughest stains to keep your kitchen oil-free.
After cleaning up a meal like fried chicken or stir-fry, you’ve likely noticed oil splatter on your stovetop, counters, cookware, and even on your kitchen backsplash. Not only can this mess feel impossible to clean, but it may convince you that cooking messy meals isn’t worth the hassle.
Luckily, we’ve got you covered with a handful of cleaning methods that will keep your kitchen in great shape, no matter how messy your meal.
Knowing what causes oil splatter in the first place can be an effective way to keep it from happening (or at least reduce the amount of cleanup needed). Cooking oil (like grapeseed, olive, or canola) doesn’t pop or cause splatter on its own—that occurs when water droplets from food are mixed in.
When moisture from food meets a hot, oily pan, the water molecules evaporate into steam, expand, and displace the oil. This is why oil splattering happens with foods that introduce lots of water or moisture to a pan, like pre-washed vegetables, meat, or tofu.
Because of this, there’s no way to completely prevent oil splatter, but there are a few things you can try to help cut down on the amount of oil produced by your cooking.
Now that you know what causes oil splatter, here are some effective methods to clean it up.Water and Dish Soap
With easy-clean pans like Non Stick, oil splatters can be easily cleaned with some hot water, mild dish soap, and the soft side of a dish sponge. Dish soap usually is specially formulated to help combat oil, so it will help cut through these stains and release them from your pans.
Despite making a delicious salad dressing, oil and vinegar do not mix. Therefore, this combination can be especially helpful if you have pesky oil stains that just don’t want to come out of your beloved Stainless Clad Pan or kitchen counter.
Vinegar is a natural solvent, and can be used as a household degreaser and all purpose cleaner. This makes it ideal for cleaning the more stubborn oil splatter on your Cookware, stovetop, counters, or backsplash. You can do this two different ways.
Let's say you have some excess oil splatter on your Carbon Steel Frying Pan, but you understandably don’t want to strip your hard-earned seasoning. In that case, vegetable oil and salt are the way to go.
When combined, vinegar and baking soda produce a chemical reaction that results in further penetration into oil splatter. This helps to really cleave the oil molecules from your surfaces.
Citrus fruits like lemons contain a naturally occurring acid called (you guessed it) citric acid. This acid typically has a pH level of 2–3, and in lemons is actually closer to 2.2–2.6. This is quite acidic while still being gentle on your stomach and your Cookware, and helpful as a way to clean oil or fat molecules from surfaces.
Note: Since lemons are acidic, if you use this method on Carbon Steel Cookware we recommend reseasoning it afterwards.
If you’ve tried everything and nothing is cutting those pesky stains, you may need to turn to a Degreaser. This by far will give you the best results with minimal effort, but isn’t necessarily ideal for surfaces that you place food on directly, like a Pan, as degreaser is chemical-heavy. These chemicals are not safe to consume, so please proceed with caution and use only on backsplashes and other surfaces that your food isn’t coming into direct contact with.
When you think of degreasing spray, you may think of WD-40® or Easy-Off, both of which are great for cleaning the interiors of your ovens and microwaves. They work by using a hydrophobic chain which has one hydrophilic end, which attracts water, and a hydrophobic end which attracts the oil and grease. Similar to vinegar, the chemical compound will help release the oil molecules from the surface you’re trying to clean and hold it in the degreaser.
To use this, we recommend consulting the instructions on whichever spray you choose, but typically you just need to mildly saturate the affected area with degreaser and let it sit for 3-5 minutes. After that 3-5 minutes, be sure to rinse well with hot water and mild dish soap, then dry well.
Now that you know how to clean oil splatter in your kitchen, you can cook confidently knowing that the possibility of a mess can’t hold you back from creating something great.