Drip Pan and Burner Cleaning Using Household Ammonia

One of my pet peeves is seeing my grungy burner drip pans and knowing I have to make a trip to the store and shell out $14 for four drip pans.  I first clean them the best way I can but eventually, they look horrible and I have to pay for new ones.  I have been doing this several times a year.

24 hours, three ingredients and very little elbow grease took my grungy burner drip pans from ugly to super clean the easy way. Find out how at thegardeningcook.com/easy-drip-pan-and-burner-cleaningUntil today that is.  I’ve heard about cleaning the burners with household ammonia but the fumes always got to me and I never could do it for long.  The trick is to let the fumes work for you, not against you.  And this takes a bit of time, so it is a project for when you won’t be cooking on the stove top for about a day.

You’ll need these simple three supplies:

Household ammonia cleans drip pans beautifully.That’s right.  Some ammonia, a gallon zip lock bag for each drip pan and a Scotch bright sponge with a non stick pad on the back.  If you can’t find them locally, Amazon.com has these supplies available online.

These were my burners before I started:

Dirty drip pansI use two main burners the most often but all of them were bad.  These were the worst two (right side of the stove front and back.)

dirty burner drip pansI placed each of the burners in a large gallon zip lock bag, and added 1/4 cup of ammonia to each bag, and then sealed the bag.  I left them for about 24 hours.  When I opened up the first bag, I was VERY disappointed.  This is what I saw:

dirty burner drip panNot a lot of difference, right?  I almost tossed it in the trash can in disgust.  But then I took my scotch bright pad and wiped over it.  The dirtiest spots needed the scourer but not with any real elbow grease.  The lighter spots just wiped off with the sponge.  I was amazed.

This is the burner drip pan after wiping and a bit of scouring:

clean burner.Totally amazing!    I simply could not believe it.  Three of the four cleaned up extremely easily. The worst one took a bit more scouring but it was still night and day compared to the work that I put into cleaning them on previous attempts.

The reason the fourth burner drip pan was hard to clean was because the it had been previously cleaned with steel wool, so the surface had been damaged and gave the gunk a key to hold on to. I’ll probably replace it so that the ammonia will work more easily on it next time.

My stove top after is like night and day from the before picture above.

Burners and drip pans after cleaning with ammonia.And a close up of the drip pans:

Burner dip pans after cleaning with ammonia.I know it is hard to believe, but try it and see for yourself.  I will update this article once I have cleaned them a few times to see how easily it is after they’ve been cleaned several times.  The ease with which they cleaned up makes me believe I may not be shelling out for new burner drip pans in future!

These three ingredients are all you need for effortless burner drip pan cleaning. Find out how at thegardeningcook.com/easy-drip-pan-and-burner-cleaningTotal cost to me was about $1.25.  Far cry from $14 for four burner drip pans!

NOTES on the cleaning process:  

  1. These burners pans were new and had never been cleaned before.
  2. Subsequent cleaning worked okay but not as well as the first time especially in the drip area.
  3. The dirtier the pans are, the more you may need to scrub, so I would recommend doing this fairly often, so as not to get them too dirty
  4. If you use a metal scourer, it will leave grooves in the metal which will make subsequent cleaning far less effective.

So my recommendation is to do the cleaning fairly often, and if they pans have been cleaned and scoured previously and are really dirty, it is time to get a new set, as this will not work well. But for the first cleaning on moderate dirt, even baked on, it worked just as I showed above.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

  33 comments for “Drip Pan and Burner Cleaning Using Household Ammonia

  1. 08/11/2014 at 11:43 am

    I normally don’t like using toxic chemicals, but I’m with you… I’d rather give it a try than to pay money for new ones every few months!

    • admin
      08/11/2014 at 12:12 pm

      Hi Becca. I am the same. I figure that the ammonia is contained in a zip lock bag, so it’s not so bad. Those things are expensive! Carol

      • mary
        09/15/2014 at 10:33 pm

        Can u do this on black ones?

        • admin
          09/16/2014 at 12:30 am

          hi Mary, I have never tried this on the black enamel drip pans but I believe I have seen it used by others who have done so. I can’t guarantee that it won’t hurt the enamel though, since I have not tried it myself. It worked perfectly on stainless steel. Carol

  2. Jen
    09/14/2014 at 3:31 pm

    This works on oven racks also. Put them in a black plastic garbage bag with ammonia, and place in the hot sun for a few hours. Gunk wipes right off! Just don’t let the rack pierce a hole in the bag. I usually put in on my driveway so when they’re done, I can open up the bag and rinse the ammonia away with a hose.

    • admin
      09/14/2014 at 5:36 pm

      hi Jen. Thanks for the tip. Good to know that it works well. Carol

  3. Nan Ten Sparks
    10/15/2014 at 2:36 am

    Thanks for the info. I would love to know what the canisters with cats on them are used for! Very nice.

    • admin
      10/15/2014 at 9:47 am

      Hi. Those are called “Cats of distinction” and are made by Lennox. They hold spices. Very collectible now. I got mine in the 1970s. Carol

  4. Angi
    10/29/2014 at 3:55 pm

    I tried this & it made the drip pans worse!! It actually etched into the metal & turned them almost completely black. They started out looking similar to what yours started out as, but 24 hrs later it looked like someone threw them in a campfire. I couldn’t get any of it off. My drip pans are ruined & I had to buy new ones :'(

    • admin
      10/29/2014 at 5:08 pm

      HI Angi. Wow I am amazed that you had that experience. The photos in my article are ones that I took myself and show the results I had. I cleaned them quite a while ago and they are still looking like new. Carol

      • doris
        02/05/2018 at 1:45 pm

        I wonder were her pans aluminum? aluminum might react differently with the ammonia?? just a thought.

  5. April
    11/13/2014 at 6:44 pm

    If you only use 1/4 cup of ammonia then the pans are not submerged correct? Im wondering how it cleans them if there is barely any liquid in them?

    • admin
      11/13/2014 at 8:01 pm

      HI April. I thought exactly the same thing, but I only used the 1/4 cup. I think it is the fumes that does the job, not the liquid. Carol

  6. Crystal
    01/10/2015 at 6:46 pm

    I had the same issue Angi! I had to buy new pans. I wonder if it was just the brand of pan?

    • admin
      01/10/2015 at 7:24 pm

      That really is odd. This worked so easily for me. Were yours silver finish or enamel Crystal? Mine were the silver ones and I originally bought them at Target. Carol

  7. Donna
    01/13/2015 at 10:04 am

    Angi and Crystal had ALUMINUM drip pans.

    Your tip is one I have used for over 30 years on chrome or stainless steel as I owned a professional cleaning service.

    • admin
      01/14/2015 at 11:59 am

      Thanks Donna. That explains it then. Aluminum is much thinner than stainless steel. Thanks for the comment. Carol

  8. The Rob Morrison Team
    02/06/2015 at 10:58 am

    This is awesome! We’ll be featuring it in our Home Selling blog series this week as we help Chicago’s NW suburbs’ home sellers prepare their kitchens for showings. Feel free to drop in and say hi.

    Thanks again,

    The Rob Morrison Team

  9. Lisa
    01/24/2016 at 11:56 am

    I too am frugal & don’t want to shell out $15 for a cheaply made aluminum drip pan. Typically I soak mine in highly consented soapy water then scrub like a mad woman. So I was super excited to try this new method.
    Maybe I missed a crucial step but this didn’t seem to make a big difference. Very little crud came off even with tenacious scrubbing. And I let the pans soak over 24 hours. The instructions seemed simple enough. Any suggestions?

    • Carol
      01/24/2016 at 1:15 pm

      Hi Lisa. When I did mine, they worked just like the photos show. The drip pan liners were relatively new but fairly coated with junk. Yesterday I tried it on some old ones that were a real mess and they had been done before. It did not work as well. So my take on this was this:
      1. This works best for a one use thing, (nevr been cleaned) even if really dirty
      2. On second use, if the junk is caked on, it does not work as well.
      3. On second use, it works if the junk is moderately on.

      The inner drip area was the problem for me this time.

  10. Rochelle
    01/30/2016 at 12:46 pm

    I have white enamel drip pans and this method worked great! I previously spent a lot of time scrubbing them. I have to soak one again but very little crust is left on it.

    • Carol
      01/31/2016 at 10:42 am

      Hi Rochelle. Glad this worked well for you. Carol

  11. 04/10/2016 at 4:41 pm

    Thanks for tips!

    • Carol
      04/11/2016 at 10:59 am

      My pleasure Renee. Glad you liked them. Carol

  12. Marj
    07/03/2016 at 4:26 pm

    I scrubbed mine with Barkeepers Friend and a scrubber. It is made of rhubarb powder and does not scratch. It is the only way I could get mine clean. I have been known to cover them with aluminum foil as my landlord only replaces them at most once a year.

    • Carol
      07/03/2016 at 6:17 pm

      Thanks Marj. I have not heard of that product. I’ll look for it. Carol

  13. Haleigh
    01/03/2017 at 7:05 pm

    Hi, this sounds very easy I just want to know how much ammonia and can you put the actual burner and the drip pan in the bag?

    • Carol
      01/03/2017 at 10:10 pm

      Hi Haleigh. I put one half cup of ammonia in the bag and put it into the wells of the drip pans and sealed the bag and left it over night. I have NOT put the burners themselves into the bag to clean them so I don’t know about that. Carol

  14. Betty
    03/31/2017 at 12:10 pm

    I’ve used amonia succeessfully in the past. My ques is, how do I get the pans out of the range? My old range had a slot on the back of the pan, so they lifted right out. The new pans don’t have that slot.

    • Carol
      03/31/2017 at 2:34 pm

      Hi Betty. I am not familiar with all types or ranges. Perhaps your owners manual will give you some help on this question.

  15. Lisa melton
    06/08/2017 at 7:57 pm

    I am currently cleaning up a vintage stove I just purchased and I am going to try this on the original drip pans cause they are baaaaad! Fingers crossed I will let ya know! 🙂 thanks for the tip!

    • Carol
      06/08/2017 at 9:36 pm

      Hi Lisa. I hope it works for you. I’ve had mixed results on older drip pans. It seems the more they have been cleaned, the harder it is to get the stuff off easily. Mine were a mess but not too old. Carol

  16. Armana
    06/27/2017 at 2:04 pm

    I was also in problem when plates got black I wash it with jiff. The result was good but after a while I got tired and I arrange a new pair and got relief

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