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May 16, 2011 11:24 PM

Really burned on grease on stainless steel

This is, hopefully, a legitimate cookware question though the piece is a built in outdoor gas BBQ grill. I'm doing my regular Spring "make sure it's as clean as possible" thing and am running into some very stubborn, caked-on build-up under the front edges of the grills. This is probably from significant grease build-up, and complicated by a couple of incidents of leaving a burner on overnight. Anyway................. I've tried several things, but the blackened stainless underneath the build-up is not cooperating.

I'm using a plastic scraper and every solvent I can find that says it's safe on stainless. I've seen some online material about a paste made from baking soda and vinegar but haven't tried it yet. Any ideas of what might loosen up this stuff will be much appreciated.

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  1. Oven cleaner.

    IMHO whoever suggested using baking soda and vinegar together was playing a joke on people. You'll get a lot of fizz and not much else, as the baking soda neutralizes the vinegar.

    Frankly, IMHO, if it isn't getting in the way of using the grids then don't worry about it. This kind of polymerized fatty acid is the same kind of stuff that forms the seasoning on cast iron skillets. There is nothing unhygenic about it, as you sterilize it every time you cook on it.

    OTOH, if it's really caked on to the point that it interferes with the use of the grids, and you really want to remove it, try putting the grids into a self-cleaning oven, and running its self clean cycle. That will burn off anything that can be burned off.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Wingborn

      Oven cleaner. I would not be without it. You cannot use it on aluminum, it will pit and damage the surface, stainless and most enameled surfaces can take it. I clean all of my le Creuset once or twice a year with it. It looks all shiny and new despite 25 years of use.

    2. "I've seen some online material about a paste made from baking soda"

      Baking soda is the food safe approach, but the more effective method is to bake off the the build-up or to use oven cleaners like Easy-Off -- much like Wingborn said.

      You said it is a stainless steel piece is built in to an outdoor grill, right? If it is inside the grill or if you can remove it, then you can just turn up the heat and bake the piece out. If it is outside of the grill, then try using oven cleaners.

      1. Use a metal putty knife as a scraper, not a plastic scraper. Greased Lightning, which contains lye and caustic soda, sprayed on and left for some time to soak, might also help loosen the grease so it is easier to scrape off with a metal scraper. You might also try scrubbing with a steel scrubber pad. Although I'm inclined to agree with Wingborn and just live with it.

        1. You might try something like this: They work fairly well and it's not supposed to scratch. I've used one to remove burnt on stuff on SS pans. Might try the burnt on grease remover that is advertised with it on Amazon.

          Good luck, let us know what works.

          5 Replies
          1. re: mikie

            That looks kinda like a ice scraper for car window. Have you tried it before?

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              try boiling some potato peels covered with water for 15 mins.It worked wonders on my carbon steel pan,maybe it'll work on Stainless Steel.

              1. re: petek

                I just re-read your OP and thought you were talking about a SS pot/pan.. so just go ahead and totally ignore my sugestion :D

              2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Actually, yes. I also work for the company that sells them the plastic they use to mold these. I got one when they first came out, but didn't really use it much, but then some pots got some burnt on spots and I gave it a shot and it worked fairly well. The key is that the plastic is hard, but not harder than the material you are going to clean. The plastic is about a Rockwell hardness of 124 on the R scale or 104 on the M scale. This is equivelent to about 90 or so on the E scale, which you can now compare to the C scale, only 90 on the E scale doesn't even make the C scale, knives are in the upper 50's and 60's on the C scale for comparison. Polycarbonate, the material used for the blade of most plastic ice scrapers is about 75 on the Rockwell M scale.

                1. re: mikie

                  "The key is that the plastic is hard, but not harder than the material you are going to clean"

                  Got it. Thanks.

            2. Swell Grill and oven cleaner (aerosol can), or Sokoff carbon remover are the best two grease removers I have seen. And we clean used restaurant equipment.