The workhorse of your kitchen — your stove — deserves a spa day. Here’s how you can show it a little extra attention.
Get rid of the grime on your stovetop and oven. Best of all, it won’t take long — not with these oven cleaning tips from Dan Montgomery, an advanced diagnostics specialist with Sears in Round Rock, Texas.
Cleaning burner grates and oven racks
Sure, we all know it’s best to clean burner grates and racks as soon as possible after a spill — but most of the time, getting dinner on the table takes priority. Now you’re left with the sad reality of hardened gunk.
Try plain, old dish soap and water first. If that doesn’t work, spray the grates with oven cleaner and place them in a plastic bag. Tie the bag and let the grates sit overnight. After 24 hours, wash them again with soap and water to make sure no oven-cleaner residue remains.
Can’t stand the fumes? You can also put your grates in a resealable baggie with a ¼ cup of ammonia. A 50/50 solution of water and ammonia works, too.
Keep in mind that ammonia should never be mixed with bleach, though, and you should always wear gloves when working with these materials.
Most burner grates and racks are dishwasher-safe, so they can be washed in the dishwasher as well.
Cleaning drip bowls
Ah, last week’s chili, we meet again. For light soil, simply wash the drip bowls in hot, soapy water or in the dishwasher. For heavy soil, like that dried-on chili, soak the drip bowls for 20 minutes in lightly diluted liquid cleanser, or a solution of ammonia and water (¼ cup ammonia to 1 gallon of water). You can use a nylon scrubber after soaking, but never use abrasive cleaners like steel wool.
Cleaning the oven door
Most oven windows are double-walled, meaning there’s the outer and inner portions, which are easy to tidy up with glass cleaner. But there’s also space between the two. Montgomery doesn’t recommend deep-cleaning this yourself, though, because the oven door has to be removed and disassembled. That’s a job for a qualified technician.
Cleaning the gasket
Spill something on the seal that runs along the edge of your oven? That’s called the gasket, and you should never scrub it, as it helps keep heat inside your oven. Instead, wipe gently with a soapy cloth. If that doesn’t do the trick, you can always replace your gasket.
Cleaning the bottom of an oven cavity
Again, we know we should do this immediately after a spill, but who wants to spend time cleaning up the cheese that dripped from the pizza you just pulled out of the oven? To clean hardened gunk off the bottom of the oven cavity, take a plastic scraper or putty knife and scrape the spill off.
To help soften the spill, take a rag soaked in a 50/50 solution of water and ammonia. Place the rag on the spill and allow the solution to soak in overnight. Once the spill has softened, scrape it off and wipe it clean with a damp cloth.
Save the self-clean feature for serious spills or annual cleaning. It shouldn’t be used frequently — the extremely high temps (over 1,000º F!) can damage parts of the oven.