Cleaning grease off a wall
January 13, 2008 12:21 PM   Subscribe

How do I clean grease off a kitchen wall?

My New York apartment's stove is situated next a regular painted white wall. I've noticed lately that I haven't done such a great job cleaning off the grease that splatters from the stove (and I cook really often). If it's been there for a while, how do I get it off? I've tried soap and water, regular surface cleaners, and Goo Gone. None have worked that well.
posted by lackutrol to Home & Garden (27 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried an oven cleaner or a degreaser?
posted by MaryDellamorte at 12:23 PM on January 13, 2008

Hot water + some kind of de-greaser like Simple Green + lots of scrubbing.
posted by fshgrl at 12:24 PM on January 13, 2008

Wall Cleaner, from Consumer Reports:
1 part chlorine bleach
3 parts water
2 teaspoons of TSP (trisodium phosphate)

Do a test patch first. Clean from the bottom up. Rinse with clean, warm water. I haven't tried it, but it's in their How to Clean Practically Anything.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:24 PM on January 13, 2008

Those Mr. Clean magic erasers work unbelievably well and so, I'm happy to report, do the generic versions, or at least the generic version I got at my local grocery store. Okay, they are probably made by child slaves out of toxic chemicals that are denuding the rainforest and melting the polar icecaps even as we type, but they work and one or two swipes will take the grease off your wall. Sometimes, you just have to destroy the planet. Note of caution: they will also do less than wonderful things to your skin, so wear gloves.
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:28 PM on January 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

:) Gumption... I'm seriously thinking about marrying that stuff one day. SO says he understands.
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 12:37 PM on January 13, 2008

Barbecues pose a similar problem. I clean mine using ammonia - works like a charm. You'd need to check the effect on the wall finish first however.
posted by Neiltupper at 12:39 PM on January 13, 2008

Situate a kettle near it. Do a little swipe every time you make tea. That has sorted the problem here with very little effort.
posted by kmennie at 12:47 PM on January 13, 2008

A word of caution on the (otherwise awesome) Mr. Clean Magic Erasers: they can noticeably take paint off of the walls. Do a test before you start on a part of the wall that you don't care about, like near the baseboards or something. I learned this "trick" the hard way.
posted by k8lin at 12:56 PM on January 13, 2008

A good quality microfiber cloth and very warm water will do wonders on grease. I hardly use cleansers anymore since I discovered microfiber cloths. If the grease is too old, though, you might need to break out the big guns.
posted by i_like_camels at 1:02 PM on January 13, 2008

they are probably made by child slaves out of toxic chemicals that are denuding the rainforest and melting the polar icecaps even as we type

My strategy to clean grease off painted walls is to first use Simple Green and a sponge dampened with very hot water to cut through the "top" layer(s) of grease. Then, I take a Magic Eraser to any last bits that are stuck in any wall texture. However, if your wall has texture, too much Magic Eraser use will leave you with a shiny spot (because it's abrasive). You can get the job done with hot water, a Simple Green, and elbow grease, but Magic Erasers can be helpful for any extremely stubborn parts. (Upon preview, what k8lin said.)
posted by korres at 1:03 PM on January 13, 2008

2nd trisodium phosphate. Cheap and effective.
posted by Rumple at 1:22 PM on January 13, 2008

Seconding Simple Green. Not only do I use it to clean my kitchen, but I also use it to clean grease based inks off things at my studio.

It's pretty cheap too (I buy it by the gallon and dilute it to half strength with water).
posted by bradbane at 1:35 PM on January 13, 2008

I'm also going with the Magic Eraser or similar. No matter how many times someone explains how they work, I can only think, this is magic made real.
posted by advicepig at 1:44 PM on January 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

i'm going to go ahead and 17th Simple green.. You can use it straight or waterdowned (even the spray bottles are actually concentrated... every commercial kitchen i worled in used it...

Also every home depot carries an extensive line of cleaning products by the company "Zep" they make a terrific degreaser and also a terrific bathroom cleaner which we use in the kitchen!
posted by chasles at 2:01 PM on January 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Sugar soap.
posted by Wilder at 2:59 PM on January 13, 2008

Thanks for the suggestions. Simple Green seems to be quite a favorite and I've never used the stuff, so I might try that. I am also intrigued by the corpse's Consumer Reports suggestion. I'll report back when I've been able to run by the hardware store.
posted by lackutrol at 3:09 PM on January 13, 2008

I've had excellent results with Krud Kutter, although it smells awful and is probably denuding the aforementioned rainforest, etc.
posted by chihiro at 3:14 PM on January 13, 2008

leftover beer.
posted by icollectpurses at 3:18 PM on January 13, 2008

One more recommendation for Simple Green. That stuff cleans almost anything.
posted by MsMolly at 3:53 PM on January 13, 2008

would a vinegar solution work? Its pretty much all thats in glass cleaner....maybe try lemon juice in a pot of boiling water next to the wall? Thats what they suggest for microwaves, a little water/lemon juice in a mug/bowl.
posted by legotech at 3:58 PM on January 13, 2008

I've had really good luck cleaning up aged sticky kitchen grease with good old baking soda; I just sprinkle a bunch on the scrubby side of a damp dish sponge, and have it. Might be worth giving it a try, before running out to the hardware store (assuming you have some baking soda sitting around).
posted by Kat Allison at 4:11 PM on January 13, 2008

I had the same mess on my wall when I moved into my house. Simple Green didn't work, Magic Eraser didn't work, but an industrial-strength degreaser from Home Depot did. Good luck - I think I will have to strip the paint down & repaint because it's still tacky although clean-looking.
posted by dreaming in stereo at 7:07 PM on January 13, 2008

Sugar Soap is where it's at. Caustic stuff reacts with the grease to form soap, which washes off. Much more effective than plain old detergent that just allows grease and water to mix a little, plus the result of the reaction... is a detergent!

Do not get it on your hands though or it will turn the fat in/under your skin to soap and you don't need that.
posted by polyglot at 7:18 PM on January 13, 2008

TSP. I'll bet most industrial strength degreasers are just branded containers of the stuff. Its awesome and dirt cheap.
posted by Chuckles at 9:51 PM on January 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm double seconding Trisodium phosphate. I've used it often. It used to be deliciously river-polluting because of all the phosphate but the PC Police made mfrs. convert it to eco-friendly (so thus probably a bit less powerful now). So buy your TSP (preferably the river-killing type) and use it. It is the easiest, simplest, and fastest way to clean grease off walls and floors. Follow directions; it must be diluted. Also, if your wall feels slippery after using it, rinse the wall with clear water. "Corpse in Library" says put a little bleach in. I wouldn't do that except for last ditch method. See what happens without such additives.
posted by yazi at 12:27 AM on January 14, 2008

they can noticeably take paint off of the walls.

Vigorous scrubbing can do the same. If you have a matte finish, it can end up glossy in the place you're trying to clean.
posted by smackfu at 8:43 AM on January 14, 2008

In college (and now!) we use alcohol on a soft rag. Higher proof/clearer liquors works better. There's little need to scrub, but afterward use a regular cleaner (409 or such) to get out the alcohol smell.
posted by holyrood at 11:10 AM on January 14, 2008

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