How to Clean Those Dirty Electric Cookstove Burner Drip Pans

The drip pans in your electric stove catch the spills and crumbs that drip down between the coils. In theory, it helps keep your stove cleaner, but you still have to clean the stove drip pans to keep your cook top looking neat. If you keep up with the cleaning regularly, it's easier to keep the pans looking shiny. Built-up food and grease takes a little more cleaning power to remove.

electric heating element on stove
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The drip pans in your electric stove catch the spills and crumbs that drip down between the coils.

Disassemble Your Cook Top

The easiest way to clean stove drip pans is to remove them from your electric cook top. Always wait until your burner and drip pans are completely cool before removing them. Coil burners pull out from the socket easily.

Once it's removed, you can pick up the drip pan. Shake out the loose crumbs and food debris into the trash before you start cleaning.

Soak the Drip Pans

A soak in hot water helps loosen the cooked-on food. Fill your sink with the hottest water your faucet can produce. Submerge the drip pans completely in the water. You can add some dish washing detergent to the water to help break up the grease.

Let the drip pans soak for at least 10 minutes. Wipe the pans to see if the food debris comes off easily. If not, move on to a tougher cleaning option.

Clean Stove Drip Pans With Baking Soda

Baking soda gives you just enough scrubbing power to help remove junk from drip pans without scratching the metal. Mix equal parts of baking soda and liquid dish detergent to create a thick cleaning mixture. Coat the drip pans with the mixture. Scrub them with a non-abrasive pad or soft-bristle brush to loosen the food.

If the debris doesn't come off easily, leave your baking soda and dish soap mixture on the drip pans for 30 minutes to an hour. Try scrubbing the drip pans again to remove the remaining debris. Rinse them well until the drip pans no longer bubble from the dish soap.

Use Vinegar to Clean

Another trick is to soak your drip pans in distilled vinegar for 30 minutes. At the end, add a little baking soda to create the bubbling reaction. Let the pans sit another 10 to 15 minutes.

Scrub the pans to release any remaining food. Rinse the drip pans to check the results. You can add more baking soda and scrub a little more if you still see stains. Rinse the drip pans well and dry them before putting them back on the stove.

Clean With Ammonia

For especially tough stains, you can clean stove drip pans with ammonia. Slip each drip pan in a large zip-top bag with about 1/4 cup of ammonia. Seal the bag and let the pans soak for at least 12 hours. Open a window or turn on your range hood before opening the bags to help deal with the strong fumes.

Most remaining stains should wipe off easily after the ammonia treatment. Rinse the drip pans thoroughly, then dry them off.

Replace Drip Pans

If it's been years since you last tried to clean stove drip pans, it may be time for a replacement. If the cooked-on food is too hard, you may struggle to remove it all no matter how many methods you try. It's easier to simply replace the drip pans.

You can get replacement stove drip pans for $10 to $40 each. Check the sizes on your current drip pans to replace them correctly. Pull out the coil burners, remove the oil drip pans, put the new pans in place and replace the coils for an easy swap. Once you have your new drip pans in place, clean them regularly in warm, soapy water to keep them looking new.

Shelley Frost

Shelley Frost combines her love of DIY and writing in her freelance career. She has first-hand experience with tiling, painting, refinishing hardwood floors, installing lighting, roofing and many other home improvement projects. She keeps her DIY skills fresh with regular projects around the house and extensive writing work on the topic.