I Finally Tried This Popular All-Purpose Cleaner — And Watched It Melt Grease Away

published Aug 30, 2022
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Credit: Hayley Lawrence

I bet you there are parts of your house you avoid because they’re messy. Perhaps there’s a drawer that’ll never be organized, or a corner of your pantry where Tupperware lids seem to disappear. 

For me, that part of my house is the backsplash of my stovetop. Every week, I’ll remove the grates and wipe down the surfaces, but I’ll try not to even make eye contact with the backsplash, knowing that no amount of elbow grease will remove what’s been caked on for years. At least, not until I learned about L.A.’s Totally Awesome All Purpose Cleaner

I read about L.A.’s Totally Awesome in a previous Kitchn story. The brand dates back to 1983. Along with their all-purpose cleaner, the company makes items such as laundry detergent, window cleaner, and pet shampoo. I also saw that it’s a favorite of @allisonscleanin, a professional cleaner who shared her love of the brand’s all-purpose cleaner on TikTok. 

L.A.’s Totally Awesome cleaner certainly packs value: I read in Allison’s comments that a bottle of the cleaner at a dollar store could go for anywhere between $1.25 and $3. The cleaner came in a spray bottle, but the liquid inside was a concentrate — and a powerful one at that. There are instructions on the side for how to dilute the cleaner.

Credit: Ashley Rodriguez

The dilution ratios were broken down by what surface you are cleaning — and this stuff claims to clean everything. Grease, hair dye, even blood. I’m convinced it’s impossible to run out of this stuff based on the high-dilution ratios the bottle calls for (it recommends a 1:30 ratio for some surfaces). To clean the stove, the bottle recommended a 1:5 ratio, which I mixed in a small spray bottle. 

As I opened the cleaner, the first thing that hit me was the smell. It’s hard to identify, but it’s strong. I’m not sure what the smell is because the bottle claims there’s no ammonia, acid, or bleach, but it smelled like it might burn my nostrils if I got too close. When I was mixing the dilution solution, my partner came out of his office to ask what the smell was. 

Credit: Ashley Rodriguez

I decided to tackle the beast I’ve been avoiding pretty much since I moved into my home: the stove backsplash. It’s hard to see in pictures, but it was caked in grease. I was eager to see if L.A.’s cleaner could make that all go away. 

After removing the grates, I put on my gloves and sprayed the cleaner all over the stove, paying extra attention to the backsplash, and even giving the wall next to the stove a spritz because I’m sure grease has landed there, too. I was thoroughly impressed. Using a microfiber towel to clean, I scrubbed with very little effort. All of the grease magically dissolved. 

Credit: Ashley Rodriguez

However, I was only able to keep at it for a bit before my head started hurting, and I knew I needed to walk away from the stove. I should have opened all of the windows and turned on the fan before I began. But I knew I couldn’t keep going. The smell was overwhelming, even at such a low-dilution ratio. 

Credit: Ashley Rodriguez

I waited a few hours before I returned to the kitchen, but I could still smell the remnants of the cleaner. I had to fully remove both the original and dilution bottle from my space and keep the windows open for most of the night to get the smell out. 

Credit: Ashley Rodriguez

In hindsight, this would probably be a super-effective cleaner for outdoor surfaces (sidewalks, oil spills on driveways, and air conditioning units). Here is another method for cleaning off grease, if this sounds like too much for you. Still, feeling the grease on my oven literally melt off was incredibly gratifying, and now I know in the future I need to work in a well-ventilated space and wear some sort of painter’s mask. If you’re looking for a powerful cleaner, this is definitely it!

How do you clean off your greasy backsplash? Tell us in the comments below.