How to Dissolve Oil From Dishes

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There are several things you can do to dissolve oil from dishes.
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Cooking is an essential task as well as a relaxing hobby. When the dishes from fried foods or oily sauces get covered in a sheen of grease, it can be difficult to get those plates, pots and pans truly clean.


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Dishes that are sticky after washing can simply need another wash with warm, sudsy water. However, if grease and oil have found a solid purchase on your dinnerware, sauté pans or casserole dishes, they may need stronger cleaning solutions and techniques to rid the oily residue from the surfaces.

Cleaning Greasy Dishes With Salt

Salt works well to remove oily stains left from grease. CNET recommends using a coarse salt as an effective abrasive to remove baked-on grease from sheet pans or ceramic platters. If the dish or pan has a painted finish or another façade that can be damaged by an abrasive scrub, gently wipe the salt away with the soft side of a scrubbing sponge.


Sprinkle the salt over the pan and let it soak up any grease for at least 10 minutes. Scrub the oily dish with a damp sponge. A lemon half works well to rub the salt into the surface of the dish and the acid acts as a grease remover as well. This also works well to clean and freshen wood surfaces that have been stained with oily ingredients.

A mix of one part salt to four parts rubbing alcohol can work to eat away at oily residue on smaller items, such as utensils. Soak the utensils in the salt solution for 10 minutes before wiping down. The rubbing alcohol will quickly evaporate, leaving behind a salty powder if the utensils are left too long in the solution.


Dishes Sticky After Washing

After a run through the dishwasher or an overnight soak in a sudsy bath of warm water in the kitchen sink, dishes may still be sticky. For truly stubborn greasy layers on cookie pans and dishes, Merry Maids recommends using baking soda and a nonscratch scouring pad along with a little patience. This should cut through that final unresponsive layer of grime.

Fill the kitchen sink or an equivalently sized tub that can hold the dishes to clean with hot, not warm, water. Make a solution of ½ cup distilled white vinegar and ½ cup baking soda. Add the solution to the hot water and gently swirl to incorporate.


Submerge the sticky dish into the water and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour to loosen the baked-on patches of grease and oil. Use the nonscratch scouring pad to gently lift any leftover slicks of sticky oil. For larger pans and platters, clean the submerged half and flip it over to repeat the process on the other half. Repeat this process as necessary and clean the sink thoroughly when finished to avoid the sloughed off oil from sticking to the sides.

Avoid Oily Residue on Dishes

Liners, such as parchment paper or foil, can protect sheet pans and ceramic platters from getting caked with grease. Silicone mats work well to keep the dishes in good shape through every baked meal. After cooking, wash the dishes by hand with warm soapy water and dry well.



Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at