Easy Off Heavy Duty Oven Cleaner Caused Stainless Steel Discoloration
Below quite a few readers have shared their experiences with Easy Off heavy duty oven cleaner (the one in the yellow can).
What started off as just one story from a reader has grown and transformed into a LOT of similar experiences, all specifically complaining about how Easy Off, mainly the one in the yellow can, but also sometimes the one in the blue can, have harmed their stainless steel surfaces in their kitchen.
This is unfortunate, because there is a lot of stainless steel in the kitchen, such as many sinks which have been harmed because people have laid oven racks in there to spray, or otherwise accidentally oversprayed onto something stainless steel, like an oven handle, certain racks, or the top or side of the stove or refrigerator.
It's especially infuriating as well, because the instructions on the can of oven cleaner specifically say it's safe for use on stainless steel. But apparently it's not.
What follows are quite a few stories from readers, some with pictures they've sent in to show their damage, and as you go further down on the page (and into the comments) also discussions of various ways people have tried to fix the damage that often appears to be irreparable.
So, without further ado, here is the story from a reader that started this whole article, and then scroll on down the page for even more stories and experiences with this oven cleaner and people's stainless steel surfaces.
I read on the back of the Easy Off yellow can that I could use it on stainless steel appliances so I tried in on my stainless steel fridge.
It totally discolored the handles!! And I am trying to sell my house with the appliances
and now I don't think the buyers would want the fridge now!
Vicki, I am so sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with Easy Off oven cleaner.
There are, of course, several versions of Easy Off, and the yellow can is the more heavy duty version of it. I looked myself at the instructions, to see what they said, and it did indeed say that it is "Ideal for cleaning ovens/oven doors, BBQ grills, broilers/broiler pans and stainless steel surfaces."
The only thing I can think, based on your description, is that perhaps the handles on the refrigerator were not stainless steel like the face of it, since it sounds likes it didn't hurt the face of it, just the handles. That, of course, is little comfort to you now, and I don't know for sure it is even true, just a guess really.
In the future, for just cleaning light dirt and soil of stainless steel items (not burned on gunk like you need oven cleaner for), I would suggest using one of many stainless steel cleaners on the market. (You can see reviews of several them at the link.)
I would suggest calling the manufacturer, Easy Off, to complain about the damage to your refrigerator handles. They may have a suggestion for fixing the damage. (Typically there is a customer service number listed on the can.)
***Update: I also got this suggestion for Vicki shared by a reader, Hikingagain, who stated:
I bet you can purchase new handles. If you still have the book that came with the fridge, call the customer service number to find out.
I would also love to hear from others, sharing if they have had a problem with Easy Off Heavy Duty Oven Cleaner on their stainless steel surfaces, or otherwise what your experiences are with the yellow canned product. You can share your own oven cleaner review here, for this or any other brand, or you can read other reviews already submitted.
Easy Off Heavy Duty Oven Cleaner In Yellow Can Also Ruined My Stainless Steel Surface
by Mrs. Nettles
Where the Easy Off Heavy Duty stained the back of the stove.
Close up view of the panels/handles.
Against a glass splash - stained stainless steel looks awful.
This is what it looked like before using the yellow can of Easy Off.
I received this story from Mrs. Nettles, who also used the yellow can of Easy Off Heavy Duty oven cleaner to try to clean her stainless steel surfaces, in this case the outside of her stove. She also provided several photos of what happened to her stove when she did this.
I previously received a story from Vicki (see above) who used the product to clean her stainless steel refrigerator, and it caused damage to some of the stainless steel surface. Read the story above for full details, and my response to Vicki, so that Mrs. Nettles subsequent story makes sense.
From these two stories I would now caution everyone not to use this product to clean stainless steel surfaces, just to be on the safe side. The problem though is that the product, when you read the instructions, says you can use it on stainless steel surfaces which means I'm afraid damage like this will continue to occur.
Mrs. Nettles says:
Per Taylor's response to Vicki I called the customer service number and got absolutely nowhere.
What I was told is the cleaner is for ovens, not exterior services of ovens. Basically I was the bonehead who sprayed a toxic product on my $2,400.00 stove regardless of the suggestion that it is safe for stainless steel surfaces.
I was told to create a paste of baking soda and water and to let it sit for 10-15 min and then remove it with paper towel. I pray that this works.
I will tell you this -- I will never knowingly invest in an Easy Off product of any kind. What an awful experience.
Mrs. Nettles, I am so sorry to hear that this happened to you. Hopefully, however, now with both your and Vicki's stories more people can avoid this problem because they will know not to do this.
In addition, I know I'm just one person, but I will try to contact the company through some social media channels, to show them this page and what happened to both you and Vicki. If nothing else, it might help them change the language on their instructions so they don't say it is safe for stainless steel anymore, which would also help more people avoid this problem in the future since I know you relied on the language in using it on the outside of your stove.
Please tell me if the baking soda paste they suggested makes any difference, since other people that experience this problem will want to know (and so do I). *** Update - In the comments shared below several people wanted to know if this suggestion from Easy Off to try baking soda paste worked or not. One reader actually tried it and has reported back that unfortunately it does not work. Therefore, I'm still looking for suggestions from anyone for how to fix this problem (if there is a way), if you've also encountered it.
Several other readers shared some ideas that did help the problem, even though it didn't completely fix the problem. End Update***
I agree with you, the product instructions are misleading, in that it says it is safe for use on stainless steel. Your pictures, however, show this is not the case. (For readers, to see each picture in more detail just click on the thumbnail pic and you will see the bigger version pop up for you to see better.)
Has anyone else used the Easy Off Heavy Duty cleaner, and want to share a review of it, positive or negative? Clearly, I wouldn't use it on stainless steel, but it says it can also be used, obviously, inside ovens, and also to clean barbecue grills, etc. How has it worked in those situations for you?
Same Thing Can Happen With Easy Off Fume Free In Blue Can
After Using Easy Off Fume Free (blue can)
DO NOT USE unless you call customer service first!
That’s what I was supposed to do because the instructions and hype on the can are totally WRONG.
My experience… The can says “safe for self cleaning ovens” but that’s wrong.
My oven’s instructions specifically say do not use oven cleaners on the interior of the oven. My instructions do not say this about the racks so I removed the racks from the oven and used this product on one of them.
Note the Easy Off instructions show a picture of cleaning a rack.
Easy Off destroyed my rack by removing the coating from the steel (yes, there’s a coating).
I’m anal about following instructions and followed the 2-hour instructions. I wonder if I used the overnight method if it would have eaten through the steel!
I called customer service and I was told they recommend trying the product in an inconspicuous area hence my first sentence warning to readers about calling them first.
The can says nothing about this trial run or calling them first and as I said even shows a picture of cleaning a rack (Step3).
The customer service rep took my info and passed it along to a specialist. The specialist emailed me “…we suggest you contact the "Jenn Air" manufacturer for information concerning your specific situation.” My “specific situation” was caused by Easy Off, not Jenn Air.
Funny, Easy Off didn’t “cut through baked on grease and food spills” as the can states but ate the finish off my rack.
Easy Off product is bad and based on their avoidance to stand up and take responsibility. I will not purchase any product manufactured by Reckitt Benckiser and I’m spreading the word.
Use Easy Off at your own risk because the manufacturer won’t take any responsibility for damaged caused by their product.
I'm very sorry to hear about this Norman. I can understand how frustrating this whole experience has been for you.
When I first received stories from readers about the problems with this product and stainless steel, I assumed that it was with the heavy duty version since the first couple of readers had used the yellow can. However, clearly there is the same danger with the blue can (fume free) version as well, which is good to know (although I know it doesn't help you now.)
Thanks for sharing your experience though, since hopefully it can help someone else.
***Update: I got another submission from Norman after this was first published, giving an update on the status of his problem. He says:
I didn’t expect it but Redkitt Benckiser, the makers of Easy Off, sent me a request to return the product, pics of the damage, detailed description of the problem, and a postage paid return mailer. I mailed it out today Aug. 20, 2013.
I guess we’ll see if they stand up and do the right thing by replacing my oven rack.
Luckily Easy Off only destroyed one of my Jenn Air racks; I feel for you that have damage to your stainless steel appliance surfaces (ouch!).
That's great news Norman! Hope it all works out for you.
***Update #2 from Norman: He did update me with what happened with the company, and it isn't good news. He said:
They refused to 'fix' the problem, simply stating their research shows their product will not damage stainless steel racks. They sent me two $3 off coupons as if I'll ever by a Reckitt Benckiser again. I shredded the coupons so no one else could use them either!
That stinks Norman, sorry to hear it! ***End Update
Readers Search For Ways Fix The Problems Caused By Easy Off Heavy Duty Oven Cleaner On Stainless Steel
After publishing the experiences above, shared by readers, about Easy Off oven cleaner, I found out from all the additional comments I got from readers that unfortunately these problems with stainless steel aren't uncommon at all.
Here are some additional comments I received from readers, many of them trying to fix the problems caused by using this product on stainless steel.
I used the product to clean my oven top, but droplets of the product damaged the handle and exterior surface of my 3K oven. I don't know what to do.
I am waiting to hear the results of the baking soda treatment.
I made the same horrible mistake.
I cleaned ALL of the exterior surfaces of my stainless steel stove with Easy Off and it destroyed it. Anyone try the baking soda trick to restore it???
Still waiting to hear about results or other suggestions. :(
I keep getting comments and stories from people who have experienced this problem with Easy Off harming their stainless steel surfaces.
One suggestion a reader reported that Easy Off made was to try this baking soda paste, but Ahmed has now reported it didn't work. So I'd love to hear more ideas from people who have experienced this situation to say what they tried, and if it worked to correct the problem or not.
I damaged my stainless steel stove too by using Easy Off (Yellow).
It got these large patches on the steel parts. I tried CLR and it do not work.
I am thinking to use a very fine sandpaper to remove these stains.
Any other ideas?
Tonya L. says:
Easy Off ruined my $3k stainless oven too!
I tried olive oil! It diminished most of the white spots!
Pour onto a micro fiber cloth and rub with the grain of the stainless steel! Make sure you follow the grain of the stainless steel and rub pretty hard to work it into the surface!
It won't be perfect but close!
SR101 Reader says:
I did the same thing to our fridge.
I read somewhere to try a clean rag sprayed with WD-40 or baby oil. I tried WD-40 and while it didn't fix it completely, it looks much better.
It did fix the doors, just still working on the handles.
Elayne O says:
Hi. I have also had the unfortunate situation with the Easy Off ruining our stainless steel oven.
I'm going to try and use the recommendations here that everyone has provided, I'm hopeful they will work.
I plan to contact the company on Monday to complain as the can clearly states to be used on stainless steel.
I've experienced the same as Vicki. I used the Easy Off Heavy Duty on my stainless steel oven panel and on the surface appeared some white spots.
My oven is brand new and I am thinking to sell the house.
I am looking for ways to fix this. Maybe change a new panel? It must be expensive then.
I'll never use Easy Off on any steel products. However, the lesson is costly.
Well, three readers who reported at least positive results in fixing the problem, if not completely fixing it, suggested using oil based products to basically polish the stainless steel.
I would love to hear from even more people who have either experienced this issue, and also to tell me what you tried, successfully or unsuccessfully to fix it, so hopefully we can come up with a workable solution for everyone.
Good luck, and make sure never to use the yellow can of this oven cleaner on stainless steel no matter that the directions on the package so it is safe! It obviously isn't!
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Comments for Readers Search For Ways Fix The Problems Caused By Easy Off Heavy Duty Oven Cleaner On Stainless Steel
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