How To: Make Your Own Degreaser
Bid goodbye to stubborn grease and grime with this simple recipe for a budget-friendly, multipurpose kitchen cleanser.
The oil kicked up by cooking can cling to surfaces throughout your kitchen, defying your everyday swipes with a sponge. Virtually overnight, grease can turn to stubborn grime on countertops, the stove, even your pots and pans—not to mention vertical and overhead areas like the backsplash and range hood, which often get neglected during your weekly cleaning routine.
Commercial degreasers are pricey and often include chemicals you might not want around your food-prep areas, so why not make an all-natural spray-on degreaser that harnesses the sanitizing properties of distilled white vinegar, the degreasing powers of Castile soap, and the stain-lifting strength of baking soda. Mix up this truly sough stuff and get your kitchen sparkling again from top to bottom.
STEP 1: Start with diluted white vinegar, Castile soap, and baking soda.
Pour one cup of distilled white vinegar, one-eighth teaspoon of Castile soap, one tablespoon of baking soda, and three cups of warm water into the spray bottle. Go with an unscented castile soap if you plan to aromatize the homemade degreaser with essential oil; choose either a scented or unscented soap if you’ll be skipping the essential oil.
STEP 2: Mix in non-acidic essential oil.
If desired, add 20 drops of a pH-neutral essential oil (fresh citrus scents such as orange or lemon are popular) to the spray bottle to infuse the homemade degreaser with a mild fragrance. Avoid using acidic essential oils such as anise; these may either react with and tarnish cooktops, cookware, or utensils made of certain metals (e.g., copper, copper alloys, or aluminum), or erode countertop sealants and expose the underlying countertop material to damage.
STEP 3: Shake and store.
Secure the spray head back onto the bottle, then gently shake to combine the contents. Apply an adhesive label to the degreaser to distinguish it from your other homemade cleaners, and store in a dry location away from pets and children.
Using the Homemade Degreaser
Whenever your kitchen surfaces or kitchenware look worse for wear, put your degreaser to work. Shake well to recombine the ingredients and use it as directed below.
- Cooktops: Turn off the cooktop and allow it to cool completely. Use tongs to remove any large food chunks. Generously spray the entire cooktop, let the homemade degreaser dwell for five to 10 minutes, and then wipe the surface down with a dish sponge. If you continue to see build-up on the surface, spray more degreaser directly onto the offending spots and use a quick circular motion to loosen and lift the grime. Sop up any remaining degreaser with a dry sponge to prevent dried streaks from forming on the cooktop.
- Countertops and backsplashes: Clear the countertop surface of clutter and use a soft-bristle brush or rag to sweep away any light debris or dust on the surface. Using the techniques for the cooktop (above), first clean the backsplash and then move on to the countertops.
- Range hood: With the exhaust fan and/or light on the range hood shut off, spray a liberal amount of homemade degreaser to the exterior and the interior rim of the hood (avoid spraying the fan or light assembly directly, as this could cause a short-circuit and damage the components or produce a spark). Allow adequate dwell time and then wipe down the sprayed areas with a microfiber cloth. Allow to air-dry or wipe up any remaining liquid with a soft cloth.
- Pots, plates, and utensils: Use a spatula to discard large food chunks from pots, pans, plates, and utensils. Generously spray the degreaser onto these items, let it dwell for at least 15 minutes (or overnight for pots or plates with particularly stubborn grime), and then use a dish sponge saturated with hot water to lift the loosened grime. Give the clean items a final rinse under warm water and hand dry with a dish towel or air dry on a dish rack.
- Oven door: With the oven turned off and cooled completely, spray the homemade degreaser onto the entire exterior of the oven door. Pay particular attention to the perimeter of the door when spraying, as fumes emanating from the oven tend to settle and harden on this area. Let the degreaser dwell for 15 to 30 minutes, and then wipe with a microfiber cloth before air-drying it. Finish up by cleaning the oven racks, walls, and oven door interior using our homemade oven cleaner recipe, and your whole kitchen should look spic and span!