The stove is one of the most oft-used appliances in the home, but cleaning the stove is rarely on the top of anyone’s list - here’s how to clean your stove like a pro
There is some debate as to how often you should clean a stove. Is it acceptable to let it build up a little grease or should you treat it with kid gloves and scour your beloved range after each use? Most manufacturers will agree, cleaning a dirty stove isn’t a daily process - rather, it should be done often enough that you don’t see food debris or grease buildup on the interior panels of the stove or on the top surface of the gas or electric cooktop. You should clean your stove for two reasons. First, it will prolong the life of the appliance, and second… it is a safety concern if grease or food particles build up to the point where they may become flammable. So now that you know that you both can and should clean your stove, keep an eye on the following best practices for cleaning your trusted appliance.
Disassemble what you can: Resist the urge to cut corners when cleaning your stovetop. Take apart the top of the unit by pulling off the burner grates, knobs, burner caps, and any other loose items. Anything with an electrical wire should stay put, but remove the other pieces and let them relax in a soapy, warm water bath. Gas stove tops should be inspected frequently, especially the burner holes. If you see any clogging of these gas orifices, simply use a knitting needle or pin to clear any blockages. Gas burners on the cooking surface of the stove often come apart quite easily, but what about electric variants that aren’t as easy to take apart?
In this case, try to avoid any exposed electrical connections while wiping down the coils themselves with a dampened cloth and a little dish soap. Use just a touch of soap to minimize the mess, then inspect the coils for any areas that need further attention. If you notice that grease is still clinging to some of the coils, create a natural cleaning paste using baking soda and water. Simply combine to a paste-like consistency, spread it on the affected areas, let sit for a half an hour, then wipe clean.
Many electric cooktops feature a lift-away top section that makes cleaning under the grates a simple affair. Instead of trying to wiggle a cleaning rag through the tiny spaces between grates and cooktop, simple lift up the hood and you’ll have easy access to any grease or food particles that may have traveled past the grates themselves.
Some higher-end stoves feature ceramic or glass cooktops, which require a subtler approach to cleaning. They should be managed more closely, with any spills wiped up right away. If a spill remains and becomes tough to remove, use a suitable scraping tool to remove the residue - then use the baking soda mixture described above to clean the surface.
Even if your stove features a self-cleaning mode, this is more of an extra helping hand versus the answer to your cleaning woes. To clean the inside of your oven, start by removing your racks and soak them just like you would the gas stove top components. Then, create the baking soda and water paste and use it to attack the inside surfaces of the oven. You can often remove electric heating elements from the bottom floor of the oven to make cleaning easier - just make sure that no one has used the oven in several hours and that it is cool to the touch.
If you have the time, a popular oven cleaning practice is to leave a large cup of ammonia in a room-temperature oven for at least ten hours - or overnight for convenience. Then, simply wipe off the walls of the oven and you’ll be in good shape - in an all-natural manner. Anything to avoid the dreaded “chemical cloud” will be appreciated by residents and guests alike.
Spills can and will happen, so if you see a spill inside the oven and it is too hot to immediately clean the surface, turn off the heating element and immediately pour salt on the spill. The salt absorbs the spilled substance and will make cleaning much easier after you’ve finished cooking.
Cleaning your stove will keep it looking great and performing well for years, and the fact that you can enhance the safety and comfort of your family at the same time presents a compelling case for routine stove cleanings.