Once, I was helping a friend’s daughter move out of her first apartment when she graduated from college. She had worked really hard to make the whole place spotless when she left; she wanted to stay on good terms with the landlord because her friend was moving in to replace her. She had done a great job, but then I caught sight of the blackened, crusty stove top. “Oh, you’re supposed to clean that?” she said. I’m not an emotional man, but I was nearly brought to tears.
Not only can you clean your stove, but you absolutely should as frequently as possible. Not doing so can cause the excess buildup to cause a fire in your kitchen. (If that ever happens on your stove top, by the way, don’t toss water on it: Turn everything off and use baking soda to smother small flames. The buildup is made of grease, and grease fires will only spread with water.)
Let’s give the most-forgotten item to clean in your kitchen a little love. Whether you have a gas stove top that comes apart easily or an electric one that wipes clean, this is a safety hazard that should be taken care of.
How to Clean Your Stove Top
The first step is to take your stove top apart. If you have a gas range, remove the burner caps, grates, and knobs and before you begin scrubbing; just let them sit in hot, soapy water in your sink. If you have an electric burner, don’t submerge your coils, but everything else, like the drip pans, is OK.
To clean an electric coil, wipe it down with a damp cloth and mild dish soap, taking care to not get the electrical connection wet. Make a paste of baking soda and water and spread it on the toughest grease you can’t get out. Give it about 20 minutes, and then rinse it off.
When you’re cleaning an electric stove, remember: Most electric stoves lift up like the hood of a car! Clean what’s underneath that way instead of trying to clean through the holes.
While you’re cleaning a gas stove top, check out the little holes by which the flames come through. Clear out blockages with a pin.
If have a ceramic stove top, just wipe your stove off right away. If a spill happens and burns, scrape the residue off with a scraper. Use baking soda to clean the top.
Some Cleaning Hacks for Cleaning Your Stove
Sure, you can get this done with just soap, water, and patience, but it takes a great deal of time. I know many people like to use specific cleaning products for this purpose, such as a Magic Eraser. It’s pretty good, but as a frugal person, I tend to cringe at the idea of buying one separate cleaning supply for just the stove top. So here are some hacks and DIY ways to get it done:
- Using ammonia and a large plastic bag, you can clean your non-electric grates. Let them rest overnight, and then just wipe the grime away!
- Get out grease stains more easily with oil. Use vegetable oil on a paper towel and getting the grease to come off will be much easier. Once you’re done, just wipe that oil off with soap.
- To prevent stains in the future, you can actually treat your stove top with all-natural wax. Do the old standby of “wax on, wax off” and grease stains won’t go so deep anymore.
- Let’s say you’re cooking for everyone during the holidays and you have a food spill. After turning off your burners, pour salt on your spills. It will absorb the liquid and make it easier to clean later once your guests have gone.
- For your toughest, caked-on stains that seem to have become a permanent part of your stove, create a paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda and then scrub the problems away.
How to Clean Your Oven
While many ovens have a cleaning function, relying only on that is a bad idea. Every once in a while, like before the holidays, I like to do a deep clean and make sure everything is safe.
First, take out your oven racks. Like your stove drip trays, they can soak in hot, soapy water. Also remember to take out your oven thermometer and clean that, too.
You don’t have to waste money on expensive chemical oven cleaners.
- Make a paste out of baking soda and water. Coat the inside of your oven with the paste. Then, turn the oven on for about five minutes (or, if you’re nervous about doing that, just let it sit overnight). Open the oven and let it sit. Then, just wipe away the grime. Spray on vinegar and wipe it off to clean up any residue and leave the oven fresh and clean.
- Another thing I’ve seen people do is leave half of a cup of ammonia in a cold oven overnight. Like the trick with the stove grates, the ammonia will make it so you can just wipe your oven clean.