Cleaning up Oil – Kitchen Messes 101


Yeah, I know, another cleaning post!  Y’all might think I’m a cleaning fanatic and my house is spotless.  I can assure you that is definitely not the case.  I’m more of a knowledge fanatic.  I like to read and learn, so when I find things that work, I like to share.  Oil is something that most people use to cook with, the type of oil used is not always the same, but cleaning up oil can be a pain.  I’ve found some ways to handle oily kitchen messes and thought I’d share it with you today.  Hope you’re ready for some “oily” knowledge!

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Types of Cooking Oil

There are many, many kinds of cooking oils in the world and you can find out more about them here.  These are some that I use in my kitchen and what I use them for.

  • Olive Oil
    • Sauteing veggies
    • Cooking eggs
    • Mix it with real butter for an excellent grilled cheese
    • Put it in a spray bottle and keep in the shower.  Spray yourself down before drying for moisturized skin.
  • Coconut Oil (organic)
    • Sauteing anything
    • Deep frying
    • Hand moisturizer
    • Greasing cake pans
    • Baking – in place of Crisco
  • Sesame Oil
    • Stir fry
    • Dressings
  • Vegetable Oil
    • Deep frying – I’m slowly replacing this with coconut oil because it’s healthier.

As you can see, coconut oil is very versatile.  Yes, it costs more than vegetable oil and if you like to fry things (hello South GA!) it can seem like too much.  I think of it like this:

~>~> It costs more, so I’ll fry things less often, which is healthier for my family and me.

In our area, Sam’s Club has the best prices for coconut oil that I have seen.  Walmart is a close second.

Cleaning Up an Oily Mess

After you’ve fried you up some nice crispy tater tots (so good) and finished eating them, you’re left with a big pot of oil that needs to be cleaned up.

I reuse oil that has been used to fry vegetables and dispose of oil that was used to fry meat.  After the oil is cooled, this is what I do:

  • Oil to be reused ~ I usually hold the sieve over the funnel in the jar to keep from messing up another dish.
    •  pour through a sieve to strain out leftover bits
    • funnel back into empty oil container or mason jar

~>~> Update 1/17/2017:  Please note!  A subscriber has left valuable information about disposing of liquids in containers!  You need to add an absorbent material to the oil before disposing, such as sand or old clothing.  See comment below for more information.  Thank you Angel! <~<~ 

  • Oil to be disposed of ~
    • funnel into old container – for example an empty milk jug
    • keep under the sink until half full
    • close lid and put in the trash

~>~> If you used coconut oil, don’t wait for it to cool completely if you are reusing because it will solidify.

Make sure to scrap the pot to get up as much excess oil as possible.  I like to use the scraper that came with my pizza stone.

Cleaning Up the Pot

Once you’ve removed as much oil as possible, there’s still an oily residue left.  You could just throw in some hot water and soap, but don’t!  Although soap make break up the grease, when you pour it out, it’s still going down your drain.  If you’ve every replaced a sink trap (I have), you’ll know things accumulate in this area.  Things can get smelly and backed up before you know it.  So what to do?  Meet my friend – Mr. Baking Soda!

I buy baking soda by the 13 lb bag at Sam’s and divide it into mason jars to keep in the bathroom, laundry room, and kitchen.  I’m going to show you how to use it to clean out an empty olive oil bottle too, so it can be repurposed.

  • Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda in the pot – leave any greasy spoons and such in there too.
  • Use a funnel to put baking soda into the bottle and roll it around to coat the sides.

Once everything’s coated, let it set for 2 or 3 minutes.  The baking soda will absorb the oil.  Then it can be scraped up and disposed of!

Use a metal skewer to scrape the bottom of the bottle.  I use these things for everything but shish kabobs!

Some Extra Help

Once you’ve gotten rid of the excess baking soda, grab my other friend – Mrs. Vinegar!

When these two get together, magic happens!  You can see the mark on the bottle for how far the fizzies came up after I poured the vinegar in.  Just swirl it around to get all the baking soda on the sides.  I did cover the top with my hand but be careful because it will shoot out when you take your hand off.  Do not put a lid on it!

Once I swished the vinegar around, I poured it out and rinsed the bottle with hot water.  Sparkling clean, no soap needed!

I will wash my pot and utensils with soap and water after rinsing.  Things are sometimes stuck to them and take a little more elbow grease!

Do y’all have any tips for dealing with messes in the kitchen?  Please leave me some knowledge below in the comments!

That’s all for today!  I have the day off from school, so I’m going to my work space to see what I can get into!



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  1. Angel Gray says:

    Love the idea of the baking soda and vinegar..will definitely try it!!

    Just a FYI, because it’s my profession, please use caution with pouring oils into jugs and then tossing them into the trash. The oil in those jugs will burst when put under the pressure of the trash truck, and leach out from the seals on the truck, causing damage that causes the seals to stop working. I have seen many trash collectors in my office asking for environmental PSA’s to alert citizens to the effects improper disposal puts on our costs, and our environment. The proper way to dispose of your oil or any other liquid is to add an absorbent to the liquid…. I practice this with every liquid… my absorbent is mostly sand and I keep a bag of unwanted clothing like t-shirts,socks etc… which act sufficiently for absorbing oils, paints, really any liquid…. GREAT POST Kristie….

    • Kristie Cook says:

      Thank you so much for that valuable information! I had no idea that could happen. I have updated the post to include this information. Thank you again!

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