I Tried 3 Methods For Cleaning My Stove’s Drip Pans and Instead, I’m Never Cooking Again

published Apr 14, 2020
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Credit: Tara Bellucci
Proof I'm a disgusting human.

Hi, everyone. How’s your quarantine going? I’ve been mostly okay; I work from home normally and leaving the house has never been my favorite, so I thought this would be relatively easy. Things are getting weird, though. Like this morning, I had a near breakdown over my electric stove’s drip pans.

Background: I’m not someone who’s “good” at or “thorough” about cleaning; I live alone with two cats and I’m mostly fine with my general level of mess. A few weeks ago, I volunteered to test out three different methods for cleaning drip pans, because surprise surprise, mine were disgusting (plus I’m out of episodes of “Tiger King” to watch). I’ve lived in my apartment for over three years and have only once half-heartedly attempted this before—I didn’t even know drip pans were a thing you could clean until recently. I left the task until today, when Asana told me this story was due. Oops.

I turned to Google to find some different cleaning techniques for this particularly grimy task and went with some of the top results. I also found a weird tip in an old housekeeping book from 1993. Here are the methods I decided to test:

  1. A 1:1 paste made of dish soap and baking soda, via Savor + Savvy.
  2. A sequence of soaking involving hot water, then vinegar, then baking soda, via AARP.
  3. Acetone, from “Yankee Home Hints.”

Some disclaimers: I did each step for the minimum amount of time suggested (see: procrastination). Where scrubbing was required, I used crumpled leftover aluminum foil. My drip pans also started at differing levels of disgusting because I’m not a robot, but a real human with a penchant for my front right burner.

Let’s look at how it went, shall we?

Credit: Tara Bellucci
WAS IT WORTH IT?? IS ANYTHING WORTH IT??????

3. Acetone: Didn’t nail it

Sorry to Yankee Magazine and Earl Proulx, but this didn’t do much. Of course, that could be because “Home Hints” suggested “full strength” acetone, but it’s a global pandemic outside and all I had on hand was acetone-based nail polish remover. But I figured if it can take off my incredibly tough glitter mani, stove spills should be fine. Spoiler: it was not. I sort of splashed the acetone around in the pan and then scrubbed with my nob o’ foil, and some bits came off but most stayed in place. Save this one for your self care night because it’s not the next cleaning superstar.

2. Sequence of Soaking: S.O.S.

I was looking forward to this method because in my cleaning rule book, the more you can soak, the less you have to scrub. AARP recommends a 10 minute soak in very hot water, followed by a 30 minute soak in white vinegar, then topping the vinegar with baking soda and soaking for 15 more minutes before rinsing and scrubbing with more baking soda. This sounded promising, but in practice, I had so many timers set, even Alexa was confused.

Also, anyone who ever made a volcano in science class knows that when you add baking soda to vinegar it just bubbles everywhere. Thankfully, that happened inside my sink, but I’m not sure that part was necessary when I was going to have to scrub with baking soda after that soak anyway. There were a lot of steps, and I put my worst drip pan through it, and while it came out cleaner, it’s nowhere near spotless. Plus, did I mention I still had to scrub after all that elaborate soaking choreography? Rude.

1. Baking soda + dish soap: Scrub until you’re broken inside

This one is the “winner,” I guess. Making a paste of equal parts dish soap and baking soda was easy. Glopping it on the drip pan and letting it sit for an hour was easy. Scrubbing was still hard. I really wanted one of these methods to produce a spotless drip pan, because it felt like my sanity and will to live depended on it. So I scrubbed. And scrubbed. And while this one looks most improved, I am very much not.

Perhaps it would’ve been easier if I had some heavy duty Dawn on hand, but all I had was some “green” dish soap and honestly, drip pans are no place for green anything. They will break you down and kill your spirit.

Was it worth it? Nope. Is anything worth it??? Debatable. I did the best I could with what I had on hand, and honestly, who’s going to see my drip pans other than me right now? Though, when we can leave the house again, I’m planning on buying new drip pans, which is what I should’ve done in the first place. Here’s hoping your quarantine cleaning journey is going better than mine! And if you’re ready to move onto the rest of your stove, check out these tips.