Quick Tip: The Best Way to Clean Oil Splatters

Sure, my stove might look clean, but peer a little closer and the picture changes.

All those specks on the vent above the microwave? Those are tiny droplets of oil that have built up whenever I pan-fried something.



It’s even worse on top of the microwave, where dust has mixed with aerated oil to make a thin film of gunk that’s really tough to clean.



See all those rolled up balls of dust? That is what happens when you try and wipe away the oily dust with a dry rag.

What is the solution? Fight oil with oil.

It will take a lot of soap and water (or any other type of cleaner) to get rid of oil splatters or oily dust. Instead, put a couple drops of mineral oil on a paper towel. Wipe the paper towel over the dirty surface, and watch the gunk come right off.

Nice and clean.

When you are done cleaning, simply wipe down the surfaces one more time with a new paper towel. This leaves the surface coated lightly in oil, which makes future oil splatters much, much easier to clean up.

Mineral oil is a neutral oil used to treat wood products like cutting boards and salad bowls. Vegetable oil works just as well.

Updated 5/23: Although vegetable oil works fine, a chemist reader of mine explains why mineral oil is the better long-term cleaning choice.

“Short-term, vegetable oil does work just as well, for the shared common property of ‘oiliness’ that you’re taking advantage of here. Longer-term, mineral oil has the benefit, over vegetable oil, that it will not ‘yellow’ and will not get tacky or gummy, as will vegetable oil. The reason that vegetable oil is good for your diet – polyunsaturated fatty acids – is also the reason that it goes yellow and gets sticky with prolonged exposure to oxygen in the air.”

  • Sam

    I’m going to try that! 

  • Tatiana and Jim Promessi

    Just spent $8.00 on Stainless Steel cleaner for my ceramic cooktop and see the main ingredient is mineral oil. It works really well, but next time I’ll just buy mineral oil. I didn’t think of using it on other surfaces. Thanks for this great tip.

    • http://themanlyhousekeeper.com Mark Evitt

      You’re welcome! It’s so satisfying to see the dried-on crusty grease wipe right off.

  • randeegf

    An appliance installer told me to use baby oil to clean my stainless steel stove top.  Do you think that’s why?

    • http://themanlyhousekeeper.com Mark Evitt

      Yes, definitely.

  • Christina

    Cool!  I love it.  I’m really enjoying reading your site!

  • Darlazar

    Well by golly! you would be astonished at how many years i have wondered how to clean off the greasy mess from my stainless hood. I appreciate the tip and will try it this weekend. AND I’ll tell your mom how handy you are!

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  • http://www.taoofunfear.com Matt, Tao of Unfear

    I have a stainless steel tea kettle that sits on the stove, and has become caked in oil splatters from all of the pan frying I’ve done. I’m going to give this a go and see how it works.

    • http://themanlyhousekeeper.com Mark Evitt

      I used to keep my kettle on the stove (as shown in the photo) but I’ve taken to moving it when I cook because it kept getting covered in splatters, just like you describe.

      • http://www.taoofunfear.com Matt, Tao of Unfear

        Yeah, unfortunately I end up cooking and heating water at the same time. And even when I’m not, I totally forget about it until it’s too late.

        Wanted to report back on my results. The mineral oil worked on the really light stuff, but I ended up having to use a baking soda paste for the more stuck-on stuff. Of course, this works great for a tea kettle, since I can rinse it in the sink. Not so great for permanent fixtures of various kinds.

        I’m filing away the mineral oil trick for cleaning up on and around the stove.

  • Jdanver

    Thanks, I will use this tip.

    A trick my grandmother taught me was to wipe all those services with a paper towel as soon after cooking as possible.  Actually do it while you are cooking.  Just keep a paper towel in your pocket.  This pervents the problem from happening in the first place.

    • http://themanlyhousekeeper.com Mark Evitt

      Indeed! I’m more diligent about this now. After washing the dishes I do a quick wipe of the stove.

    • Earle

      Greece spatters can be avoided by buying a greece spatter cover..the mesh type doesn’t work well unless you put a paper towel on top of the mesh while frying.. .However, the more solid type of greece protector with holes to let out steam works much better… 

      • Anna Lee Buck Combs

        Please don’t be offended…I’m not one of those snooty grammar/spelling nazis or anything, but I just couldn’t help poking a bit of fun here. “Greece spatter”…it actually does look like it, yeah? 😉 Whether you intended it or not, you put a smile on my face today. So thank you! 😀

  • Carolishizeki

    will this work for the wood cabinets too?

    • http://themanlyhousekeeper.com Mark Evitt

      Yes, it will. It might be a bit harder to clean, depending on how deep the grain of the wood is and how smoothly the cabinets are finished. 

  • kkduffey@gmail.com

    There is a product called “Krazy Cloth” that is infused with mineral oil. It works GREAT on almost everything. The cloth itself lasts a long time and improves with age until it finally disintegrates. I know you can order Krazy Cloth online. I also occasionally see it at Safeway. I’m sure that Home Depot would have it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mrdoering Mark Doering

    I could have easily saved myself 5 hours in the last three years with this tip.  The house we just sold had a stainless GE profile range and hood.  My wife’s favorite vegetable is a pan-seared asparagus I make which coincidentally is about the messiest thing I make oil wise… I’ll have to keep this trick in mind!

  • http://anjyils-home.tumblr.com/ Anjyil

    Do you have any ideas for another method?  I currently live in the middle of no-where in Japan, so things like Mineral Oil is really hard to get a hold of.

    • http://themanlyhousekeeper.com Mark Evitt

      As I note at the end of the post, any cooking oil will do. Mineral oil is just the best because it won’t spoil or leave a sticky residue.

      • http://anjyils-home.tumblr.com/ Anjyil

         Yeah,  I saw the note, I was just hoping there was another option ^_^  Thank you.

        • http://www.facebook.com/carol.woolbright.1 Carol Woolbright

          baby oil is usually just mineral oil. If you have that in Japan, just check the ingredients to be sure.

          • http://anjyils-home.tumblr.com/ Anjyil

            Thanks! I will check into that and see what they got here ^_^ I may have to ask my husband what the kanji is for mineral oil ^_^

    • http://www.facebook.com/ronda.barnhurst Ronda Barnhurst

      If you can’t find mineral oil, baby oil is just that, with a fragrance added.

    • Rel

      Murphy’s oil soap is also very good.

  • Hellie

    Noticed you have a black gas stove. Any suggestions on cleaning the built up oil/grease in the wells. Have tried everything including oven cleaner which I don’t leave on long, afraid it will damage the painted surface.

  • maritza

    U r the perfect man. Thanks 4 the mineral oil insight; I will try on the stove back-splash, it’s painted wall. I hope it works.

  • http://www.facebook.com/patricia.rezzonico Patricia Rezzonico

    Will you marry me?

  • http://www.facebook.com/peggy.d.doran Peggy Dreher Doran

    Hello, thanks so much for the tips. Are you on Pinterest?

  • Johnscreekmom

    I use mineral oil to remove lip gloss… The long lasting kind.

  • Kimmy

    It works….last time I cleaned this it took me all afternoon of soaking and scrubbing….love this…5minutes DONE :)

  • Dwayne

    how about cleaning a glass top range

  • Alice Brown

    Can I use mineral oil on a white appliances?


  • Diana

    Can you use coconut oil?

  • homemaidsimple

    I am going to have to try this! I hate that oily gunk that seems to get everywhere!

  • chrispy

    giving this a bump- i had this type of build up on the tops of my upper cabinets… i used goo gone, let it sit for a few min and it came right up. it also worked well on the stove top and stainless, made it nice and shiny, but not ideal. i look forward to trying mineral oil.

  • Carlene Fisher

    Where can i buy mineral oil? I live in Cape Town South Africa.

    • Grumpygirl73

      Food-grade mineral oil is used as a laxative. It should be available wherever you get prescription medication. It will either be over the counter or behind, and then you would have to ask the pharmacist for it.

  • Maria

    I find that wiping my stove down with a green cleaning dish soap works really well. At least for day to day maintenance.

  • CindyB57

    OneGoodThing by Jillee just told me about your site! Look forward to reading more.

    Thanks for the info. The electric stove in this house is glass but has a wire grid texture to the top. It has been a nightmare to clean!

    I tried to sign up for your newsletter but the submit button is not responding for me. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

  • Jake

    I clean my stainless appliances with pledge

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