How to Clean Grease Off Tile Backsplash

Cleaning grease off tile backsplashes can seem like an intimidating task. Grease and grime can build up over time, leaving your backsplash looking dirty and dingy. However, with the right techniques and cleaning solutions, you can get your tile backsplash shining like new again.

Why Grease Builds Up on Tile Backsplashes

Kitchen backsplashes are especially prone to grease buildup for a few key reasons:

  • Cooking Oil and Grease – Frying foods, sautéing, broiling, and other stovetop cooking techniques often lead to oil splatters on nearby surfaces. Over time, these small spatters accumulate and turn into layers of sticky grease.
  • Lack of Cleaning – Many homeowners don’t realize that backsplashes need regular cleaning. Infrequent cleaning gives grease too much time to really cake on.
  • Texture – The texture of tile provides plenty of nooks and crannies for grease to grab onto. Smooth tile may make grease removal a bit easier.
  • Porosity – More porous tiles like natural stone have microscopic pores that can trap grease over time. Less porous tiles like ceramic and glass tend to resist stains.

Regular cleaning is key to preventing excessive grease buildup on backsplashes. But even with frequent cleaning, grease removal is an inevitable part of tile backsplash maintenance.

Supplies for Removing Grease from Tile Backsplashes

Grease-cutting requires the right tools and cleaners. Here is a list of recommended supplies:

  • Dish soap – An excellent grease-cutting detergent for an initial cleaning. Look for brands designed for “tough” grease.
  • Baking soda – A gentle abrasive that can lift some grease when made into a paste.
  • White vinegar – Helps dissolve grease and cuts through grime. Often used with baking soda.
  • All-purpose cleaner – For moderate grease buildup, try a versatile cleaner made to cut through oil.
  • Degreaser – Heavy-duty cleaner specifically designed to dissolve caked-on grease.
  • Scrub brush – A brush with stiff bristles is ideal for scrubbing off greasy gunk.
  • Microfiber cloths – Great for buffing away grease after scrubbing without leaving lint.
  • Sponge – For applying cleaners and doing general wipe-downs. Look for an abrasive kitchen sponge.
  • Single-edge razor – To scrape off any extremely stubborn grease deposits.
  • Rubbing alcohol – Can be used for extra grease-cutting power if other cleaners don’t cut it.
  • Protective gloves – Keep hands safe from harsh cleaners and hot water.

With the right grease-fighting products, you can break down even the toughest oil buildup on tile backsplashes.

Cleaning Methods for Greasy Backsplash Tile

There are a few techniques for tackling backsplash grease, depending on how bad the buildup is:

For Light Grease

If you stay on top of cleaning your backsplash, you may only have minor grease buildup. Here’s how to clean off light grease:

  • Mix a solution of warm water and a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle. Dish soap is designed to cut through kitchen grease.
  • Liberally spray the greasy areas of the backsplash and let it sit for 2-3 minutes. This gives the soap time to penetrate the grease.
  • Use a sponge or scrub brush to gently scrub the greasy tile in circular motions. Apply light pressure.
  • Rinse the backsplash with clean water and dry with a lint-free microfiber cloth.

Repeat as needed for any lingering greasy spots. The soap and water should dissolve light grease with minimal effort.

For Moderate Grease

If grease has built up over time, try upgrading to a stronger all-purpose cleaner:

  • Spray an all-purpose cleaner meant for cutting through oil directly onto greasy areas. Look for cleaners marketed as “kitchen degreasers.”
  • Let the cleaner soak for 5-10 minutes so it can fully break down the grease.
  • Use a stiff scrub brush or abrasive sponge to vigorously scrub the tile. Apply firm pressure.
  • Rinse the backsplash with clean water and dry thoroughly with microfiber cloths.

Check if any grease remains. Repeat the process on stubborn spots as needed. The longer you let the cleaner soak, the better.

For Heavy Grease Buildup

Really caked-on grease may require the power of a dedicated degreaser:

  • Apply a thick layer of a heavy-duty degreasing cleaner directly onto the tile. Let it soak for 10-15 minutes.
  • Use a scrub brush to scrub the greasy tile vigorously, applying heavy pressure.
  • Spray white vinegar onto the tile and let sit for 5 more minutes. The acid in vinegar helps cut grease.
  • Scrub again with the brush to remove any remaining oil residue.
  • Rinse very thoroughly with clean water and dry the tile. Check for any remaining grease spots.
  • For extremely stubborn grease, use a plastic single-edge razor blade to gently scrape it off before scrubbing again.

Repeat as needed until all traces of grease are gone. Degreasing cleaners use powerful solvents to dissolve even the toughest buildup.

Steam Cleaning for Grease

Another option for removing caked-on grease from tile backsplashes is using a steam cleaner:

  • Fill a steam cleaner with distilled water according to manufacturer directions.
  • Turn the steam cleaner to its highest setting. Hold the nozzle very close to the greasy tile.
  • Slowly move the nozzle across the tile, letting the super-heated steam liquefy the grease.
  • Use a sponge or microfiber cloth to wipe away the dissolved grease residue.
  • For tough spots, hold the nozzle directly over them for 30 seconds before wiping.

The intense heat of the steam loosens even concrete-like grease buildup. Wipe as you go to prevent the grease from re-hardening. Be cautious not to overheat grout during steaming.

Homemade Backsplash Degreasers

For DIY-ers who prefer more natural cleaning solutions, you can make effective backsplash degreasers using pantry staples:

Baking Soda and Vinegar Degreaser

  • Sprinkle baking soda liberally over greasy tile and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Spray vinegar over the baking soda. The mixture will bubble and fizz.
  • Let the fizzing reaction sit for 10-15 minutes to allow deep cleaning.
  • Scrub with a stiff brush and rinse.

Lemon Juice Grease Remover

  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice onto greasy tile until coated.
  • Let lemon juice soak for 10 minutes. The acid cuts grease.
  • Scrub with a brush or sponge.
  • Rinse thoroughly.

Borax Degreasing Paste

  • Mix borax powder with just enough water to form a thick paste.
  • Spread the paste onto greasy tile with a spatula or brush.
  • Let the paste sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing.

Use elbow grease when scrubbing to really work these pastes into the tile. The natural acids in these homemade cleaners help dissolve grease without harsh chemicals.

Grease- resistant Backsplash Options

If your current backsplash just seems to attract too much greasy grime no matter what, it may be time for a replacement.

Choose a backsplash surface that naturally resists grease buildup:

  • Stainless steel – The smoothest option with a non-porous surface. Easy to keep clean.
  • Glass tile – Non-porous and very smooth. Glass doesn’t absorb stains.
  • Porcelain – Denser and less porous than ceramic tile. The shiny glaze helps resist grease.
  • Mosaic tile – Small grout lines make mosaics easy to keep clean. Opt for glass or ceramic.
  • Quartz – Solid slabs of stain-resistant engineered stone. Easier to clean than natural stone.
  • Laminate – Glossy laminate backsplashes have seamless surfaces that don’t trap grease.

Do some prep work like sealing grout before installing these backsplashes. Proper sealing prevents stains from sinking into grout over time.

Grease-Cleaning Tips and Tricks

  • Clean backsplashes regularly to prevent heavy grease buildup from developing. Quick wipe-downs make grease removal much easier.
  • Always use soft, non-abrasive scrubbers on tile. Abrasive pads can damage the tile surface over time.
  • Change the water frequently when rinsing. This prevents transferred grease from being redeposited onto the tile.
  • Reseal grout every 1-2 years to keep it stain-resistant. Sealing prevents grease from being absorbed into pores.
  • Let degreasers soak into tile instead of immediately scrubbing. Give the cleaners time to fully break down oil.
  • Try steam cleaning for old, baked-on grease. The intense heat melts away grime traditional cleaners may miss.
  • Microwave lemons for 15 seconds before squeezing to maximize grease-cutting citric acid.
  • Opt for grease-resistant backsplash materials like stainless steel if your current tile attracts too much gunk.

With some elbow grease and the right degreasing techniques, you can have your backsplash looking like new again. Don’t let grease ruin the look of your kitchen tile!

Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Grease Off Tile Backsplashes

What is the fastest way to clean really greasy tile?

For speedy grease removal, a steam cleaner is your best bet. The super-heated steam can melt off years of caked-on greasy gunk in a matter of minutes. Hold the steam cleaner nozzle directly on greasy spots to liquefy the grime immediately.

What should I avoid putting on my tile backsplash?

Avoid any abrasive cleaners or scrubbers on tile backsplashes. Products with harsh grit and chemicals can damage the tile surface. Steer clear of bristle brushes, scouring pads, and abrasive powders. Stick to soft cloth scrubbers and mild detergents.

How can I make DIY degreasers safe for tile?

When making homemade degreasers, it’s best to use gentle ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, and borax powder. These natural cleaners get the job done without any risks of harming tile surfaces. Avoid any harsh acids or alkaline ingredients.

Why does my tile backsplash look cloudy after cleaning grease?

If your formerly shiny tiles look cloudy post-cleaning, residue likely built up. Hard water scum, leftover cleaner film, and calcified grease deposits can all leave backsplashes looking hazy. Use white vinegar or rubbing alcohol to remove any residue.

How often should I clean the tile backsplash?

Backsplashes accumulate grease quickly, so frequent cleaning is a must. Wipe down the backsplash at least once a week with hot, soapy water. Degrease heavily soiled areas as needed. Deep clean the entire backsplash every 1-2 months. Staying on top of cleaning prevents heavy grease buildup.


Neglected backsplashes often end up coated in a thick layer of sticky grease residue. Removing baked-on grease from tile can seem daunting, but is very doable with some elbow grease and the right products. Use heavy-duty degreasers and tools like scrub brushes, steam cleaners, and razor blades to break down even severe buildup. Prevent the problem in the first place by cleaning backsplashes thoroughly and frequently. With some diligence, you can easily keep your tile backsplash sparkling clean and grease-free for years to come.