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rojo's avatar

Do you have any suggestions for a great grease cutting agent?

Asked by rojo (24025points) August 1st, 2017

Cleaning up a rental. The tenants were really into fried and wokked foods. Grease coating everywhere. Cabinets, walls, fixtures, appliances, everything and dust has become embedded in the grease. Ceiling fan blades are half black from the greasy/dust buildup.
Even Goo Gone won’t cut it.
Any suggestions welcomed.

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11 Answers

si3tech's avatar

@rojo IMHO liquid Dawn is what they used to save wild birds after oil spills. That says a lot!

Soubresaut's avatar

Ammonia cuts grease well. I take household strength ammonia and dilute it in water, but I only ever eyeball it, so I don’t know the proportions…. and of course I haven’t cut grease as thick as the stuff you’re having to tackle.

I’d start with a fairly diluted ammonia cleaner-water solution, and if it’s not enough, then I’d slowly add more ammonia into the solution until I get just enough to get the job done. (I tend to use warm water, since I figure helps soften the grease, but I don’t know if that matters.)

And this goes without saying, but don’t bring the ammonia in contact with bleach.

Wisegeek has some additional info on the stuff, including what surfaces to avoid using it on (i.e., what surfaces it might damage).

kritiper's avatar

Using lots of ventilation, and no sparking sources, and plastic gloves, try paint thinner, lacquer thinner, enamel thinner, available at hardware stores. Apply, let soak, scrub, absorb excess with paper towels. Discard towels in a metal container, not plastic.

jca's avatar

I asked a professional painter friend once, when i was going to help another friend paint her greasy cabinets. He recommended TSP – Trisodium Phosphate. I googled it and it’s about 5 bucks in Walmart, Lowes, etc.

Here’s what it is:

jca's avatar

I wanted to add that if you use dish detergent, like Dawn (as suggested above), you’re going to have a hell of a time getting rid of all the suds and soap film.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Simple green, cheap, safe and effective.

jca's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me: It sounds like he needs something heavy duty.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Yeah, I use simple green to clean motorcycle chains instead of kerosene.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Simple Green (the gallon jug not the spray bottle) is heavy duty. Normally it is diluted with water, 1:1 or even weaker.

snowberry's avatar

Use baking soda on a wet toothbrush for the nooks and crannies. It will never scratch, and It’s great for detailing plastic surfaces. that would be damaged by harsher cleaners such as ammonia (ammonia will dissolve many plastics). Baking soda also details polished stainless steel. Whatever you use, be sure you do an online search for safety if your chemicals might be inadvertently combined. For example, bleach and ammonia produce extremely toxic gasses if combined.

Baking soda is about as good and far cheaper than Mr Clean Eraser. And it also works well on painted surfaces. It rinses off with plain water.

For any surfaces that can handle it, paint remover is an option. I’ve used it on a grate for a gas stovetop. But be careful! Many chemicals will damage stainless steel, aluminum, etc.

For any metal items small enough to fit in a pot, you can use automatic dish detergent to clean everything from burned on food residue to dried on grease. You put your item in, add a tablespoon or two of automatic dish detergent, fill your pot with water, and bring to a simmer, and let it cook for 20 minutes or so. The grease will float to the top, and everything else will soften up. Then remove your item with tongs and while it is still hot, scrub it with an SOS pad to remove anything left. I have used this method to clean grates from a gas stovetop. They usually don’t fit all the way in so I put them in vertically, clean one side and then turn it around and clean the other.

And for any chemical, always always read the entire label. It could save you a lot of grief.

2davidc8's avatar

I second what @Soubresaut suggests. I had a similar situation with a rental, and Parson’s Ammonia was the best thing ever for your purposes. However, be sure to read the label, it may not be safe for the finish on the cabinets.

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