Dirty Drip Pans Are A Drag-- Here Are Some Ways To Clean Them

Posted on: 2 December 2014

The drip pans on an electric stove can be your best friend -- they stop things from dripping down into the rest of the stove -- and your worst cleaning enemy. The foods they catch tend to dry on them and harden, making the drip pans look horrible. A common remedy is to line the pans with foil, but this is actually inadvisable -- the foil can reflect too much heat back onto the electric coils of the burner, thus destroying the burner. Instead, look at ways to clean the pans without leading to appliance repair.

Baking Soda

If you want to get rid of a lot of that grime -- and potentially all of it -- without releasing harsh fumes into your home, baking soda is the way to go. Wash out the drip pans to remove the looser stuff, and then whip up one of two baking soda pastes: baking soda and water, or baking soda and dish soap. The paste should be easy to spread but relatively thick -- don't make it watery. Cover the pan with the paste and put the pan in a plastic bag.

Leave it for a few hours, and then remove it from the bag and scrub it with a scouring pad meant for nonstick pan surfaces (those are gentler on the pan surface). You really will have to scrub, but eventually, the grime should start to come off. Rinse off the baking soda paste and see how the grime looks now. You might have to repeat this, but the first round should get quite a bit off.

Oven Cleaner or Ammonia

If you're not concerned about using commercial cleaners, and you have a yard or balcony, you can use oven cleaner or ammonia. Wash the pans to remove the loose grime, and then put them in a plastic bag that does not have any holes. If you're using oven cleaner, coat the pans before you put them in the bag. If you're using ammonia, put about 1/4 cup in the bag.

Do not use oven cleaner and ammonia together! One or the other only!

Close the bag, whichever method you've used, and put it outside on your patio or balcony overnight. In the morning, open the bag with the opening facing away from you -- hold your breath because the fumes will be atrocious -- and retrieve the pan. Rinse it off thoroughly, and then wash it with water and dish soap.

Throw away the bag if you used oven cleaner. If you used ammonia, dilute it with water, and pour it down a sink drain while running the faucet to dilute the ammonia even further. Ensure you've opened the windows for ventilation when you do this.

Dryer Sheets -- No, Really

Finally, a strange but potentially effective remedy involves dryer sheets. Anecdotes abound about placing the drip pan in a larger pan full of hot water and adding a couple of dryer sheets. You're supposed to let the pan and sheets soak and then scrub the pan, possibly with the dryer sheets. This is one of the more harmless options, so it can't hurt to try it. And you never know -- it could turn out to be your best option. 

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