I Tried 5 Ways to Get Grease Stains off a Glass Baking Dish — And the Winner Got My Pyrex Nice and Clean

published Jan 14, 2023
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We’re knee-deep in casserole season here in the Midwest, which means you can find a glass baking dish soaking in just about every sink on the block. Soaking pans in warm water and dish soap helps loosen baked-on foods and grease, and makes for lighter work when it comes to scrubbing. But no matter how long you let it sit, there almost always seems to be a certain amount of grease splatter that just won’t budge.

If you find yourself without scouring pads, or are worried about scratching your dishes, there are other ways to get them clean! I put five popular methods to the test to see which one was the best at removing grease stains. Here are my findings.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk; Design: The Kitchn

How I Tested the Methods for Cleaning Grease Stains off Glass Baking Dishes

To start, I looked around to see what people had to suggest. I looked at other websites, reader letters and comments, and cleaning forums. Once I picked the five methods, I dirtied up five glass baking dishes. I filled them with some cream of mushroom soup and baked them until I had a mess on my hands. (Some insider food styling info for you!) Then, we got to cleaning.

The ratings: Each method received a rating; a one was given to the least effective method, and a five went to the most effective. Along with the rating you’ll find notes on how easy or difficult the method was, how much I liked or disliked it in general, and how much time it took to do its thing. 

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

Glass Baking Dish Cleaning Method: Dish Soap and Water 

  • Total time: N/A
  • Rating: 1/5

The method: Take a warm, wet sponge to the stains with a few drops of dish soap. If stain persists, use a mild abrasive such as baking soda. 

How it went: This process took so long, I finally gave up because my fingers were starting to hurt from all the intense scrubbing. (Hence the “N/A” for total time; I never finished!) I love Dawn for all sorts of grease-removing projects — just not this one, it turns out. The stains just wouldn’t budge … not even in the slightest. The sponge was too soft; even when using dish soap in combination with baking soda, it just couldn’t get any traction to chip away at the stains. There was zero improvement in the way of stains, but the other parts of the dish got very shiny!

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

Glass Baking Dish Cleaning Method: Bar Keepers Friend 

  • Total time: 3 minutes
  • Rating: 2/5

The method: Sprinkle the cleanser on the stains, then scrub with a damp sponge and rinse. 

How it went: It took a significant while, but I started seeing results within about a minute or so of intense scrubbing. Once again, the sponge was pretty useless, but the active ingredient in Bar Keepers Friend (oxalic acid) is just a bit more abrasive than baking soda, so with some major elbow grease, I was able to get about half of the stains off. I also tried making a paste with Bar Keepers Friend and water, and then let it sit on the stains for a few minutes, and it seemed to come off a bit easier. 

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

Glass Baking Dish Cleaning Method: Toothpaste 

  • Total time: 2 minutes
  • Rating: 3/5

The method: Apply toothpaste to the stained area, scrub with a toothbrush, and rinse well with soap and water. 

How it went: First things got messy (and minty!), but then the stains started coming off. It was nice to have a handle to hold onto (the toothbrush!) while scrubbing the difficult-to-reach areas. I wasn’t able to get all of the stains off, but was very impressed with the progress I did make. The dish definitely smelled like mint afterwards, so it’s important to thoroughly clean the dish before using it. 

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

Glass Baking Dish Cleaning Method: Magic Eraser 

  • Total time: 1 minute
  • Rating: 4/5

The method: Soak the dish in warm water, then scrub the stained areas with a Magic Eraser. Then, rinse well with soap and water. 

How it went: Magic Erasers are dense, so I had to really push down when I went over the baked-on stains. (I ended up using my thumbnail to press down.) But I’m happy to report that it worked really well. I was a little hesitant to use the Magic Eraser on my baking dish, because in our home we only use it on things that won’t come into contact with food, but the company’s website says it’s totally safe to use the Magic Eraser on pots and pans. In fact, the website recommends it! (Just don’t use it on nonstick pans, as the sponge will scratch and ruin the finish.) I started seeing results within a few seconds of vigorous scrubbing. I will 10/10 do this method again and I was ready to call it the winner until I tried this final method …

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

Glass Baking Dish Cleaning Method: Cornstarch and Vinegar 

  • Total time: 1 minute
  • Rating: 5/5

The method: Add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to equal parts vinegar and water. Scrub with a wet nylon or mesh scrubber

How it went: I wasn’t too sure what was going to happen with this all-natural homemade cleaner, but a few seconds into scrubbing it was apparent that this was definitely a winning combination. Cornstarch and vinegar are always great for stain removal, but I think the real weapon here was the scrubber. The solution helped, but when I tried it with a damp sponge it wasn’t nearly effective.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

A Final Note

While most of my tested methods worked on some level, it was made clear that what I used to scrub the dish with was even more important than the solution I used to clean it. Just for kicks, I tried using my trusty scouring pad with nothing more than water and lots of elbow grease — and it was more effective than all the other methods besides the Magic Eraser. It was a lot of effort, though: I call this method “rage scrubbing” and save it for an evening when I need to let off some steam. Considering what we’ve all been through this year, I might recommend this method over all the others!