How to Remove Grease Build-Up from Stainless Steel


Jill asked: How do I remove grease from a stainless steel cooker hood? The hood is sticky with grease. It has a matt finish. What can I used to clean it without damaging the finish?

Stainless steel can tolerate a lot of cleaning, as long as the methods are not abrasive. Fortunately, there are simple household items that will cut through the grease and allow it to be removed. The methods below start with the simplest cleaning methods and continue to cleaning methods for severe build-up. Once your build-up is removed, there is no need to continue with the remaining cleaning methods.

You Will Need:

  • Dawn dish soap (bleach free)
  • Ammonia
  • Warm water
  • Soft cloths
  • Baby oil
  • Bucket

Steps to Remove the Grease Build-Up:

  1. Begin by mixing a grease-fighting dish soap, such as Dawn or Dawn Power Dissolver, with warm water in a bucket.
  2. Moisten a soft cloth with the sudsy water and wipe the grease away.
  3. For tougher areas, apply a thin layer of the soap directly to the greasy surface and massage it into the build-up with your fingers.
  4. Wash thoroughly with water and wipe away the loosened grease with a cloth.
  5. Ammonia is another common cleaning product that can cut through the grease. Mix a small amount of ammonia with warm water in a bucket.
  6. Moisten a soft cloth with the mixture and use it to wipe away the grease.
  7. If the oil remains, moisten a soft cloth with baby oil.
  8. Rub the baby oil over the grease build-up. The oil will ‘freshen’ the grease so it can be removed.
  9. Continue applying and removing the baby oil until the grease build up is removed.
  10. If the grease build-up is thick and/or old, it may require a light abrasive to remove it. While abrasives are not recommended for stainless steel, baking soda does not scratch the surface and is usually safe to use. If you are concerned that it may leave unwanted marks, test a hidden area first to check the effects.
  11. If the test area goes well, mix a small amount of water and baking soda to make a paste.
  12. Use a soft cloth to gently rub the paste over the greasy areas.
  13. Repeat with a clean cloth and more paste until the grease is removed. It will take some elbow grease, but the grease will come off.
  14. Once the grease is removed, clean the area thoroughly with soap and water.
  15. Rinse with clean water.
  16. Dry with a towel or soft cloth.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • There are special cleaning products designed for stainless steel appliances. These can be found at many department, hardware and home improvement stores.
  • Regular cleaning will make maintaining the oven hood or stainless steel surface more manageable. Add it to your weekly or bi-weekly cleaning schedule to keep the grease from building up and baking onto the surface.


  1. Gretchen says:

    Thank you so much for the tip about removing grease from the hood of a stainless steel fan with a matte finish. The Dawn/water/elbow grease technique worked magically. I would’ve thought that it would further smeared the grease around.

    Great advice!

  2. Bill says:

    I tried all kinds of caustic cleaners, including automotive brake cleaner, to remove the grease buildup from my stainless steel stove black splash… Nothing worked better than wiping it with vinegar and then a quick scrub with baking soda.

    Thanks to the tip!!!

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