Cleaning Showdown: We Tried 5 Popular Ways to Clean a Greasy Backsplash and the Winner Might Just Surprise You
If you cook at home, looking up from time to time and spotting a greasy backsplash is inevitable. Sure, there are ways to minimize splattering when cooking greasy foods: You can deal with it at the source by adding a bit of water to bacon so the fat renders in water and doesn’t splatter as much, or you can cook with lower heat, or you can use a splatter guard.
But while these mitigation measures do cut down on the amount of overall splattering while you cook, you’re still going to have to clean the backsplash that surrounds your stove eventually. And if you cook without worrying about splatters, you’re going to have to clean your backsplash even more often. And when you do finally clean it, not only are you dealing with a greasy mess, but also a dried-on greasy mess, which is a whole different animal all together.
A tried-and-true method of cleaning a greasy backsplash involves using a dish soap solution and then bringing out the baking soda paste and vinegar spray if stubborn grease spots persist. Knowing that I tend to put off chores that involve several steps or extra actions like mixing solutions, I wondered if I could cut down this process but get the same result (a clean backsplash).
So I set out to try five methods for cleaning my own greasy backsplash. To run my experiment, I spent a couple of weeks purposely cooking food on my back burners and not doing anything to minimize splattering. These cooking sessions included a few rounds of bacon, some potstickers, more than one quesadilla-making session, and several fried eggs.
I let this grease sit on my backsplash for a few days before I did any cleaning. When it was time to clean, I divided my backsplash into five equal sections. I tested dish soap (specifically Dawn PowerWash), a vinegar spray and baking soda paste, a Magic Eraser, an all-purpose E-cloth, and Method Heavy Degreaser. I used a microfiber rag for all methods except the Magic Eraser and the E-cloth.
I rated each method on ease of use, performance, and price, for an overall score out of 5 (5 being the best). I’ve also provided my thoughts on each and have come up with a clear winner for reliable, efficient cleaning on one of the greasiest spots in our kitchens.
Greasy Backsplash Cleaning Method: Vinegar and Baking Soda Paste
- Ease of use: 3/5
- Performance: 3.5/5
- Price: Negligible
- Overall: 3.5/5
The method: I mixed a vinegar and water solution in a spray bottle, sprayed it on, didn’t let it sit too long because it was dripping, and then wiped it away.
How it went: A vinegar and water solution worked better than I expected it to. I didn’t even have to use the baking soda paste to scrub off stubborn grease. However, it wasn’t super easy to use the vinegar spray because it was really runny. I couldn’t let it sit on the surface of the backsplash. I think it’s at least partially because of this that the vinegar didn’t work that well at getting the grease splatters off. I had to scrub longer and harder to get the grease off than I thought I would. However, I didn’t need to rinse off any residue, either. The experience overall wasn’t my favorite. I felt like I was racing the dripping vinegar and then scrubbing hard. It was a bit chaotic.
Greasy Backsplash Cleaning Method: Magic Eraser
- Ease of use: 5/5
- Performance: 3/5
- Price: $5.49 for a pack of six
- Overall: 3.5/5
The method: This method was extremely straightforward. I dampened my Magic Eraser and wiped the backsplash.
How it went: Using a Magic Eraser to clean my greasy backsplash had surprising results. It lifted the grease just fine, but I noticed something that I didn’t notice with the other methods: dust! When I used my rag to wipe the backsplash in the other methods, I automatically picked up the dust that had stuck to the grease. But the Magic Eraser didn’t lift the dust. Instead, it got it damp and swirled it around so it almost felt like I was watching my backsplash get dirtier. A Magic Eraser might work fine on a darker backsplash that doesn’t show dust and dirt because it will lift the grease, but my backsplash is white and all that dirt that was left behind showed. Not satisfying.
Greasy Backsplash Cleaning Method: All-Purpose E-Cloth
- Ease of use: 4/5
- Performance: 4/5
- Price: $6.99 for one cloth
- Overall: 4/5
The method: I wet my E-cloth and wiped down the backsplash.
How it went: I’m not going to lie; I wanted to love this method the best because I’m in love with E-cloths. But when it came down to it, it didn’t melt the grease like my favorite method did. The grease came off, but I had to scrub about as hard as I had to do with the vinegar and water solution. The method was super straightforward, though. It didn’t involve mixing any solutions or even spraying anything. I’ll save my E-cloths for fresher messes, though.
Greasy Backsplash Cleaning Method: Method Heavy Degreaser
- Ease of use: 4/5
- Performance: 4/5
- Price: $4.79
- Overall: 4/5
The method: I sprayed the degreaser onto the backsplash and let it sit for three minutes, per the package instructions. Then I wiped it with the microfiber cloth.
How it went: The degreaser worked well, but it was as runny as the vinegar and water solution. I didn’t like the idea of the degreaser running down behind the stove. The degreaser smelled pleasant, but it still felt “chemical-y,” especially while working in the semi-enclosed space under the range hood. I also prefer to minimize the cleaning products I buy and store, so having this whole spray bottle specifically for degreasing wasn’t my favorite, particularly when the Dawn PowerWash worked just as well.
Greasy Backsplash Cleaning Method: Dawn PowerWash
- Ease of use: 3.5/5
- Performance: 5/5
- Price: $4.99
- Overall: 4.5/5
The method: I sprayed a portion of my backsplash with the Dawn PowerWash, let it sit for two minutes, and then wiped it with a dry microfiber rag. I followed up with a damp cloth to rinse away the soap. (Soap residue can attract more dirt.)
How it went: This method was straightforward and effective. I think a big part of the reason Dawn PowerWash works so well is that it’s foamy and sits on the backsplash without dripping. I did have to do the second step of rinsing off the backsplash so that dirt wouldn’t be attracted to any soapy residue, but the exceptional performance of the method outweighed this slight inconvenience. I also like that the Dawn PowerWash is so versatile. I use it in so many other ways around the house, so I’m not buying and storing something just for cleaning grease.
This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: We Tried 5 Popular Ways to Clean a Greasy Backsplash and the Winner Might Just Surprise You