How can I get my beloved deep fat fryer REALLY clean?

December 10 |
frydaddyMy deep fat fryer is one of my most beloved possessions. It has graced me many a time with the comfort of egg rolls, fritters, and other foods I probably shouldn't like so much.

Sadly, my little friend is a royal pain to clean up. Although most of the cleaning goes alright there are always sticky glue-like globs of fat/oil/??? stuck to the heating element, basket, and pan. They never come off; you just spread them out by scrubbing, covering whatever utensil you're using in the process. I've ruined several packages of sponges like this.

Does anyone have any idea how I can clean this stuff off? -Laury

  1. I love a product called PBW (Powdered Brewery Wash). It's a white powder you mix with water and you can find it at homebrew shops or homebrewing websites like Northern Brewer. We primarily use it to clean our homebrewing equipment but I've also used it to sparkle up jewelry, get caked-on shmutz off of various containers (glass & plastic), and I even once soaked the lint trap of my dryer in it to remove this wad of mung/lint that had built up there.

    The only thing is that it can be corrosive to metal if left to sit too long. When I use it to clean anything metal I let it soak for a few hours or overnight and then rinse it off really well. It's amazing – I never have to scrub when I clean with it.

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    • I'm pretty sure that PBW is the same as (or very similar to) unscented oxyclean, fwiw.

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      • Yup! It's basically Oxyclean that doesn't smell like laundry.

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  2. Have you tried baking soda and vinegar? I use that for almost everything. Sprinkle baking soda all over it then slowly pour vinegar over it, and it blasts everything away. Then scrub with a sponge and rinse. I use it for burn marks on the stove, cookie sheets, etc.

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    • Worked like a charm. I covered the bottom of the fryer with baking soda, heated the vinegar up in the microwave for about 2 min first and then poured it into the fryer. After the bubble and sizzle (about 2 min) I poured it out, washed the inside with grease fighting dish soap and water. Came out clean as a whistle.

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    • I know this thread has been here a while, but I just wanted to say how wonderfully this worked! I've had my deep fryer for about 6 months and this was my first time trying to clean it. I painstakingly cleaned the tub, but decided to look for help with the caked basket. Just a quick scrubbing with a scouring pad and the use of the bristle end of a baby bottle brush and the basket looked almost like brand new! Now that I know how easy it can be I'll be cleaning my fryer a lot more often! Thanks for the tip!

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  3. I'm sure I am about to get a ton of comments about toxins, but I would recommend oven/stovetop cleaner. I use it on frying pans and gas stove top grates with years of nasty buildup and it seems to actually work. I have tried every combination of baking soda, vinegar, water, oxyclean, lemon juice, dishsoap, and several days of soaking and it never took gunk off like oven cleaner. I just am sure to clean the frying pans with soap before cooking more food in them.

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    • I saw a link once that was about cleaning really old cast iron pans using Oven Cleaner, and it talked about how oven cleaner is primarily lye, and what you could do to neutralize it afterwards. I think it was a base, so you could neutralize it with an acid like vinegar. You could always look it up if you're worried, and have chemistry on your side.

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  4. Try using fresh oil on the dried on oil.!
    I don't have a deep fat fryer, but cleaning off dribbles down the side of our oven, scrubbing with soap just wasn't doing it. I was sure the stuff was oil based and lo a comparatively painless wipe with vegetable oil got the bulk off, then another wipe with warm soapy water.
    (For the kind of chemistry explanation: choose your solvent wisely, dried on porridge comes off with water. Fatty foods become water soluble with soap, because soaps have a hydrophobic and a hydrophilic end. A lump of pure fat should be moved most easily with a hydrophobic solvent and you probably have vegetable oil on hand.)

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    • interesting. I use olive oil to get sticky stuff off my hardwood floors. I wonder if that works on the floor for the same reason. The "sticky stuff" is usually some food that a kid droped or dripped covered in dirt and dust.

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  5. Thanks for running the question, you lovely ladies!
    I'll give all of your suggestions a try, my fryer's due for a clean with Christmas around the corner…

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  6. This is a good cleaning regimen for when you change out your oil. I suggest cleaning the basket much and often (getting rid of basket crispies will help keep your oil clean for future uses.)
    Just after you've used it, let the oil cool to 140F or so. Pour off the oil and remove the basket.
    Wearing gloves, use a silicone pan scraper (or a nice spatula) to scrape at the sides inside the fryer. Remove what you can. When the fryer is fully cooled, wipe out with a paper towel. The idea is to scrape the caked-on stuff while it's a little warm still. Be careful not to burn yourself or scrape too hard. With the oil out, it should cool pretty quickly.
    Fill with water to the oil level and add a bit of dish soap. Turn the machine on, just enough to get the water hot and boiling. Turn off the heat, but let the hot water sit for a while. Go do your other dishes or prep your veggies. :)
    Pour out the machine, let it cool again. Sprinkle in baking soda, pour on some vinegar and let bubble. Rinse it out.

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    • We did this (but with whoa!horrible fryer specific cleaner) when I was a fry cook in school. To clean out the giant frying pan vat, we would similarly pour in soapy water, let it get bubble, scrub a bit with a scour pad on a stick, then dump and rinse with warm water/vinegar mixture.

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  7. I work in a burger joint, and we have a deep fryer. The way we clean it is to empty out the old grease, then we run white vinegar through, then several buckets of clean water. This should clean out the stuck on grease inside for the most part (you may need to get in with a handled scrubber for agitation). Make sure your fryer is still fairly warm when you do this. For cleaning off globs of grease, all you really need is steel wool, dish soap, and elbow grease. You can soak first in warm soapy water to help this process along. I hope this helps!

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  8. Has anyone put the removable steel grease pot in a self-cleaning oven? I put my wire basket in for a cycle while cleaning the oven, and the grease burnt to a crisp and I picked off most of the rest with a toothbrush. The shiny steel wire mesh lost it's shine and it looks a bit bronzed now. I was afraid to ruin my grease pot so I didn't (yet) try it in the oven.

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    • I know I am late to the game here, but I still had to comment because of my experience. I run a pizza restaurant, and we have a couple of self-contained fryers (Autofry–worst product ever invented except when your landlord disallows open frying because of upstairs apartments). I, too, thought, "hey, my self-cleaning oven heats to around 1000 degrees, so it will turn all that caked-on grease to ash, right?"

      Wrong. Before it turned anything to ash–heck, even before it got all the way up to temperature, the "dried", caked-on grease turned back into a liquid, dripped down to the bottom of the oven, and then spontaneously combusted. So, I had a nice grease fire in my oven that I was unable to extinguish myself because I was locked out. I quickly cancelled the self-clean cycle, but I was still locked out until the oven temperature reached a safe temperature, which was about 45 minutes.

      Of course, the fire was out in five minutes, but not before soot blackened everything in the oven, and smoke filled the air in my kitchen. Side note: a fire in your oven may be cause for alarm or panic, but I know from experience that 99 times out of 100, it's best just to leave the oven door closed. That will limit the supply of oxygen and the fire will extinguish itself, unless whatever is on fire is chemically supplying its own oxygen, in which case I'd probably use an ABC extinguisher or call the fire department. Also, if you have a fire and open the oven door right after you see the last of the flames die off, you could cause a conflagration, as the temperature could still be high enough to ignite given enough oxygen, of which you just supplied an unlimited amount by opening the door.

      The end result was an oven that had grease and soot everywhere, a kitchen that had to be aired out, and I still had to find a way to clean the oil pot. I did wind up manually cleaning my oven, but because there was grease in the nooks and crannies of the oven that no tool or cleaner could reach, everything I baked in the oven had a detectable flavor of a grease fire. I wound up discarding that range and purchasing a new one, mainly because I did not want to risk another fire by self-cleaning an oven with an indeterminate build-up of combustible grease.

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  9. Cellulose thinners and a pan scrub. Just ensure you wash it well after. (Auto thinners not diy paint thinner) works a charm (also great for removing adhesives) DO NOT spill on painted,varnished areas though!!!!

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