We’ve all had trouble with food and oil splatter when cleaning. As usual, with cleaning, “A good defense is a good offense.” Prepare your cooking area in advance to avoid splattering food or oil to begin with.
Also remember, messes are always easiest to clean up right away – unless perhaps you are soaking a pan to remove burned-on food. That hot liquid splatter that wipes off so easily right after it lands on the counter will dry to a hard crust, if left long enough, and not all surfaces are made to tolerate heavy scrubbing.
When cooking something especially messy, as spaghetti sauce tends to be, it’s best to be prepared. Otherwise, that sauce can really go flying, ending up in tight-fit or hard to reach corners. One ends up searching for all of the splatter before it dries, all while trying to get dinner served at the same time!
So, keep in mind that almost anything that you can imagine doing in the kitchen has an associated product these days, whether it’s available through a specialty chef boutique or your local grocer.
One great tool for avoiding splatter with a mess magnet like fried food is the aptly named “splatter screen,” also called a “splatter guard”. One common version of this is placed over the pan; it has a handle so that it can be easily lifted, then put back in place. Word on the street is that it works like a champ, keeping the oil off you and your surroundings.
Another version of this device is an actual three-sided, physical barrier that surrounds the rear and both sides of your pot, containing the mess to a small surface area – and of course, to the splatter guard itself.
Tired of seeing food splatter all over the inside of your microwave? It shows up better than one might think through that glass window in the door! There’s a food splatter screen available to solve exactly this problem. It even folds up for easy storage.
Sometimes I’ll set out newspaper or paper towels, when I know I’ll be doing something especially messy. At least they’ll soak up part of the mess – even if it’s oily.
Splattered oil is a special problem when cleaning, because it can be difficult to remove. Even when washing oily pans, you can feel the way it clings before you douse it in soap.
And if you absolutely can’t avoid oil splatter – and if the surface you’re cleaning allows it – one great trick is to make a paste from cornstarch and water, or to apply cornstarch to a wet cloth. Try this first on a hidden part of the surface, one where you don’t mind a little visible damage, just in case!
If the surface permits, rub at the oil spots with the cloth; or, if using a paste, the paste can be painted over the oil splatter and as the paste dries, it draws out the oil, hopefully leaving the surface like new!