Cleaning drip pans
If you are not enthusiastic enough to clean your stove once everyday, the grease and grime buildup on specific areas like drip pans can get really nasty. And when you decide to clean them up, you keep rubbing for hours with soap and water.
But even for the lazy, there are smart ways to clean drip pans effortlessly without having to rub at all. Food spills contain almost all kind of chemical substances including oil, grease, proteins etc that settle on the pan and sticks. The longer it sticks, the stronger it sticks. Spills from burnt food tends to stick even stronger and better. Although we do not know the exact science behind why the food sticks so well to the stove, but we can surely tell you nice and scientific ways of getting rid of them.
Dishsoaps are not effective in cleaning stubborn grimes because they are formulated for lighter food stains and made to be soft on human skin and the cookware. To fight tougher grease patches you need a cleaning substance that has high alkalinity.
1. Baking Soda + Vinegar method
The baking soda + vinegar method is quite effective in lifting some of the most sticky grim from pans. And both of those things are completely non-toxic, so you can use them quite generously.
Here is how to do it. Put your pans aside and sprinkle dry baking soda on it. Make sure to cover the dirty parts very well with baking soda. You don’t need to pour lots of it, just enough to cover the dirt and grime.
Now take a spray bottle containing equal parts of plain white vinegar with water. Start spraying the vinegar solution the baking soda. This will instantly start a fizzing reaction. Stop spraying when all of the baking soda starts foaming.
Leave the pans for about 2 hours. Afterwards wash with dishsoap and sponge. The grease debris should fall off easily giving your shining clean pans.
When the baking soda reacts with vinegar, it produces gas which puts pressure on the grease and breaks its down. Then its easy to remove without much labor.
2. Baking Soda+dishsoap paste
Prepare a paste of baking soda+water+dishsoap. Add little water and more baking soda and about a spoon or more of dishsoap. Make sure its a creamy paste.
Apply this paste thoroughly all over the pans and let it sit for few hours or a whole day. Afterwards, clean with sponge and water and all the dirt should lift off. This method might not work on strong and very dirty pans.
3. Boil it
This method involves boiling the cleaning solution and putting the pans in it. The heat enhances and speeds up the cleaning process lifting even tough stains and gunk.
Take a container and prepare a solution of water + quarter cup baking soda + 1 teaspoon dishsoap. Put this solution and heat and let it boil. Then turn of the heat and put the drip pans in it and let them rest for a few hours. The grease and dirt should start floating up on the water.
Besides baking soda you can also use plain vinegar. Mix about 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water and boil the solution. Then put the pans in it and let the solution do its work till it cools down. All the dirt on the pan should lift off.
When using hot vinegar, make sure that the pans are either steel or porcelain coated. Do not try this method on raw cast iron or aluminium pans or electric stove pans. The acid in the vinegar would react.
Use the boiling method only if the pans are just too dirty and the baking soda+vinegar method failed to work.
4. Ammonia method – “Powerful”
Ammonia is a very powerful cleaning agent for greasy grimes, and can do wonders for your drip pans, grates and burners. You should always first try the baking soda and vinegar method first, since its easy and requires little preparation.
For the ammonia method you will need zip lock bags (ZipLoc) to put the pans inside. First take a bag and put the pan inside it. Next pour in about quarter(1/4) cup liquid ammonia in it and seal the bag. Let the bag rest for a whole day.
Next day, take out the pans from the bag and clean with a sponge and soap. All the grease and dirt would just fall off the pans without any effort.
Ammonia is a strong alkaline substance and it gives out fumes that do the cleaning job. You do not need to soak the pans in ammonia, the fumes do the cleaning job. When using ammonia, make sure its the regular household ammonia and not any other variant.
However, keep in mind that you should never inhale ammonia as the fumes are not very human friendly. So when working with ammonia, make sure the place is well ventilated. Open up the windows.
Note – When using ammonia, make sure that the pans are NOT made of aluminium. Ammonia reacts with aluminium and corrodes it.
3. The expensive method
The expensive method is the easiest of all methods. Just get a new set of pans!!
If the polish of the pans is etched badly and the underlying metal has been exposed in many places, the pan would catch dirt again and would become increasingly difficult to clean. You may want to consider replacing them with a new set.
Another effective cleaning technique is to use a paste made of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. It works well on the not-so-sticky grease stains. Prepare a paste in a bowl and use a sponge to apply and rub it over the grease.
The above shown methods are to be used with simple non-electric drip pans. For electric pans check the manufacturer’s instructions on cleaning.
When ever cleaning kitchen tools, try to use non toxic and natural cleaners. Or just use some suitable commercial cleaning product.
Happy cleaning! and let us know what you use to clean your pans.