How To: Safely Put Out a Grease Fire (And Prevent Them Altogether)

Safely Put Out a Grease Fire (And Prevent Them Altogether)

Hopefully you never have to deal with a grease fire, but if it happens, how you handle it is important. A grease fire isn't like a regular fire, and trying to put it out the same way can make it worse.

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Grease fires are caused by letting oil get too hot, so the best way to prevent them is to never leave your kitchen unattended. Oil smokes before it burns, so if you see your pan start to smoke, take it off the heat before it has a chance to catch fire.

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If you're outside grilling, you can add a layer of cat litter to the bottom of your grill to prevent grease fires from happening. To prevent them in the oven when broiling, add a few slices of bread to your drip pan.

It's hard not to panic when you see flames in your kitchen, but if you do end up with a grease fire, there's a good chance you can put it out yourself if you know what to do.

How to Put Out a Small Grease Fire on Your Stove

When your pan catches fire, you don't want to burn yourself with scorching hot handles or splashing oil, so don't try to move it or pick it up. Also, do NOT try to extinguish it with water. You'll just spread the fire across your kitchen.

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Just turn off the burner immediately and put a heavy metal lid on it. Cutting off the heat and the oxygen should put out the fire pretty fast.

Image by A1C Brittain Crolley/Wikimedia Commons

Remember to never use a glass lid as it will shatter and give you even more to clean up. If you don't have a metal lid that's large enough to cover the pan, you can try using a baking sheet instead. If you have a Class B dry chemical fire extinguisher, you can use it as well.

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You can also put out a grease fire with baking soda or salt. Keep in mind that it takes a lot, so it only works for small fires. But make sure you don't grab anything else by mistake—baking powder and flour will both make the fire even worse.

Image by Yumi Sakugawa/WonderHowTo

Also, I have to say it again—never, ever try to put out a grease fire with water. The water can splash and spread drops of burning oil, making the fire even bigger, as you can see in the video below.

If you have a large fire, or it starts to spread, don't put yourself at risk trying to stop it. Just get out and call 911.

Have you ever had a grease fire? How did you deal with it? Share with us in the comments.

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