The average electric stove will last 17 years, and a gas one, 19. If you are only cleaning every week, that is around 1,000 cleanings. Help your stove live a long, clean life with the following tips for how to clean a stove.
Stop before it starts.
- Prevent as many boil-overs as possible.
- Use pots and pans which are deep enough to contain boiling.
- Reduce spattering by using appropriate lids.
Pick up the habit.
By wiping down the stove each time you use it, you will keep the stove top shining like new for decades. You will also avoid the need for heavy duty scrubbing, which eventually damages the stove top.
Burn it off.
If the spill is big, when the burner cools, blot as much of the spill off the burner as possible. Then, burn off the remainder.
While trying to get dried-on spills off the stove with an abrasive cleanser may seem like a no-brainer…do not.
Abrasives, like Comet® and Ajax® powders, will scratch the enamel on the stove top. Instead, use either dishwashing liquid in warm water or a 50/50 mix of vinegar and warm water. Both will cut grease and not scratch the enamel.
All purpose cleaners, like Formula 409® and Fantastik® will lend some extra muscle to your cleaning without scratching.
Lift the cooktop.
Most stoves have a pop-top cooktop. Read your owners manual on how to lift your cooktop. Use a sponge to clean the interior beneath the cooktop of all spills with warm, soapy water or a 50/50 mix of vinegar and warm water. Dry and replace the cooktop.
Scrape gently with the right tool.
If you spill something which cooks or dries on the stove top or the burners, scrape it off with a plastic or nylon scraper. Use a pot or ice scraper. If you use something metal, you will scratch the surface or damage the burner.
Is the enamel on your stove top chipped? Touch it up with a porcelain enamel patch/repair kit. Kits are available at most hardware stores. It is best to fix chips immediately, before the stove top has a chance to rust. Rust will shorten the life of your stove measurably.
The Pieces Parts
Every other month, clean the stove parts:
- Remove the burner pans. Wash them by hand or in the dishwasher (if they are dishwasher safe).
- Remove knobs (they usually pull straight off). Clean where the knob covered.
- Soak the knobs in hot, soapy water.
- Rinse and dry them before replacing.
- Do not run these through the dishwasher.
Many have either markings or padding which will not fare well in the dishwasher.
Beyond All Hope
Burner pans are designed to reflect heat upward to increase the efficiency of the stove. If yours are stained and grimy, you are costing yourself money (extra electricity or gas) and shortening your stove’s life.
Shine burner pans with a paste of cream of tartar and vinegar. If they will not shine, replace them with new pans from an appliance store who sells parts for your brand. A perfect fit, accomplished best when using the manufacturer’s replacement parts, will save you money on power and a new stove.
See, cleaning the stove is worth something!
How old is your stove? Have you had to repair chips? What product did you use? Have you ever cleaned under the cooktop?
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2008-2011
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