If you’ve ever struggled to clean gunked up and caked on grease, here’s how to clean burnt on grease from Pyrex – with one easy trick!
Looking back through my Instagram photos, it looks like my most recent vintage Pyrex purchase happened 11-ish weeks ago. (I have a memory like a sieve, so I need visual aids.) 15 weeks ago I traded some of my Butterfly Gold Pyrex to snag some pink Gooseberry pieces for my Mom’s pink Pyrex collection), 16 weeks ago I found a lid for Mom, 17 weeks ago I found a piece at the dump, and 20 weeks ago I found a flamingo pie plate:
I guess what I found recently is the motherload, comparatively: two brown fridgies (part of the town and country set, I think) and two flamingo bake ware pieces. The flamingo colour was produced 1952-1956 and, for some reason, it’s not terribly popular among collectors. Most turquoise bake ware was only produced for one year (1956) and these pieces have become very popular. Since selling 30 pieces in a flash vintage Pyrex sale on Instagram, I find myself with some room for these…
The two flamingo pieces are especially neat because they were made in Canada! I’m not sure Canadians got a handle on Pyrex manufacturing because we only produced it between 1947-1954 (in Ontario!) Look at the uneven paint application on the piece below; you can see the colour sort of fade away and become more sheer. It’s not dishwasher damage, the application even feels rough there – like they ran out of paint.
Also, the logo was applied backwards, how it would be on a clear piece – so it’s readable from the top, through the glass, as opposed to flipping it over and reading the bottom. I’m not sure if this was intentional or not, but it caught me off guard.
When I found these, they were very dirty. You know that burnt on, caked on, un-scrubbable grease and grime that some thrift store kitchen wares have? A simple soak and elbow grease doesn’t always do the trick on the stuff that’s been burnt on for decades. Fellow Pyrex collectors have suggested many fixes: a Coke soak, Barkeeper’s Friend, Mr. Clean magic eraser. I tried some of these methods and wrote about how to clean vintage Pyrex here. This will be an addendum to that post because I tried something else – suggested by Instagram Pyrex friends and people who commented on the post – and it worked like a charm: oven cleaner! That’s right – oven cleaner is the secret if you want to know how to clean burnt on grease from Pyrex.
Here’s the before:
I put the pieces in a plastic bag, opened a window (phew!), sprayed a liberal application of foaming oven cleaner right onto the grime, then tied the bag shut. I waited an afternoon and then rinsed off the oven cleaner. The grime and baked on grease had softened and slid right off, like butter, without damaging the finish. Then I gave both pieces a thorough wash in hot, soapy water to make sure I removed the last of the goo and also the cleaner.
Look at them now! So shiny and calling out for some brownie or banana bread batter.
Hopefully this helps anyone else struggling with how to clean burnt on grease from Pyrex. If you’re looking for more tips on how to clean Pyrex, don’t forget to check out this post all about how to clean Pyrex and how to temporarily restore dishwasher dead vintage Pyrex!
EDIT: Although oven cleaner has been generally recommended by Pyrex collectors, I have recently heard from one gal who said it left a hazy film on her Pyrex. She thinks it might have been because she used extra strength cleaner. Regardless, it’s good to know! If you’re going to try this method, only use it on a piece that’s far gone – as a last resort – just in case.