You don't need fancy products to de-gunk your kitchen this spring — simply raid your pantry for hardworking items that get the job done.

By Kelsey Ogletree
April 01, 2021
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No matter how clean of a cook you think you are, your kitchen is inevitably going to get a little greasy. Blame it on the butter, the olive oil, the non-stick spray — over time, those little particles of grease can build up everywhere from your cabinets to your range top to your microwave handle, countertops, canisters and more. There's no better time than spring to do a thorough deep clean of your kitchen, including de-funking all that gunk. We talked with cleaning experts to get a handle on the basics of degreasing your kitchen. The great news? You don't have to do a massive cleaning product haul — many of these tips require simple ingredients you likely already have on hand.

So, why should you care about degreasing your kitchen, anyway? One major reason is that, hopefully, you'll feel more inspired to whip up something delicious. "A clean kitchen is everything. No one likes to cook in a kitchen with grease everywhere," says Val Oliveria, owner of Val's Services, a cleaning company in Chicago. That's why, she extols, great degreasers can actually save your life.

Before You Degrease

If the surface you wish to clean has crumbs, dirt, or grime combined with grease, you should clean the surface first before attempting to remove all the grease, says Marilee Nelson, a Texas-based cleaning expert and co-founder of Branch Basics. Do this with a clean cloth and a simple mix of soap and hot water, then rinse. This is an especially important step to kill germs, especially on surfaces like countertops and cutting boards.

Female arms only cleaning the outside of an oven.
Credit: izusek/Getty Images

Types of Degreasers

Whether you use cleaning products from a store or make your own, both can get the kitchen degreasing job done. Here's what to know.

All-purpose degreaser: One of Oliveria's go-to products is Krud Kutter Degreaser. She says you can substitute this multi-purpose, eco-friendly cleaner for about 90 percent of your other cleaning products, and it's safe for people and pets, too. To use, simply spray it onto any greasy area, let it sit for five minutes (don't rush this!) and then wipe off using a gentle cloth. If the area's really greasy, let the solution sit for about 10 minutes before wiping clean.

DIY degreasers: If you're in a pinch and don't have time to get a new product, work with what you have. Oliveria suggests a few options for natural cleaners you can make with pantry ingredients that work great for degreasing your kitchen:

  1. Mix 1 cup of vinegar with four cups of water in a bowl, then decant the mixture into a spray bottle. To use, spray the solution on your surface and let it sit for 10 minutes before wiping off. This option works best for grease or stains that are fresh.
  2. For tougher grease that's been there a while, you'll need to mix up something a little stronger. Mix 1 cup vinegar with 3 cups of water, 1 cup of baking soda and ½ cup of dish soap in a bowl. This solution is best used right from the bowl, so dip a clean cloth into the bowl to apply the degreaser, then use the cloth to scrub the greasy surface. Be sure to rinse afterward and wipe the surface again to finish.
  3. Believe it or not, you can actually cut grease with oil! Simply take a spray bottle filled with olive oil (a cheaper brand here is fine; don't waste your high-quality EVOO!), spray it on your surface that needs cleaning, and let it sit for 10 minutes before wiping off. You'll notice that the oil will loosen up the grease.
Person spraying cleaning spray on table
Credit: BrianAJackson/Getty Images

Degreasing Problem Areas

Your range, countertops, sink and cabinets can be among the biggest collectors of grease in your kitchen. Here's how to degrease each area.

Degreasing your range and countertops:

Whether you have a gas or electric range, this spot can be among the worst in your kitchen when it comes to grease buildup. Liberally spray an all-purpose cleaning soap and let it sit for five minutes, then wipe clean with a microfiber cloth damp with hot water. "The combination of dwell time and a hot microfiber cloth will end your grease woes," says Nelson. If any grease still remains, use another cloth wetted with vinegar for final cleanup. You can follow this same method for cleaning greasy countertops, too.

Degreasing your sink:

Your sink gets greasy from greasy things you leave in it, such as dirty pots and pans. First, clean the area (including pots and pans) with hot water and dish soap. Then, you can sprinkle baking soda on a sponge and scrub away any remaining greasy surfaces. A word of caution: Baking soda can be slightly abrasive, so take care to not damage your sink's surface, says Nelson.

Degreasing your cabinets:

If you have cabinets above your range, it's easy for grease from cooking to build up there over time. And because they're vertical, it's not easy to spray a liquid and let it sit, as it will simply run off the cabinets. To clean greasy cabinets, go for a simple solution of dish soap and a microfiber cloth wetted with hot water. It may take repeated wipes, but it usually does the trick. One thing to take into consideration when degreasing cabinets is the finish. If you are using a product other than soap, always test it first on a discreet area to ensure it won't wear down the finish of your cabinets, says Nelson. "Usually, finishes or sealers on wood kitchen cabinets are fairly durable," she adds, "but they certainly can't take the scrubbing action you'd use on a granite countertop."

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