Cleaning

The Ultimate Guide to a Clean Stove (So Good, You Might Actually Do It)

The stove is the workhorse of the kitchen, burners dutifully heating up on command to prepare meals at all times of day, season after season. It works hard, and that work shows: in a splotch of tomato sauce from Monday, some sauteed greens from Tuesday, bits of fried rice from Wednesday. After days of cooking, the stove can come to be a map for solving The Mystery of What We Ate This Past Week. After a month of cooking, the stove can take on a golden-brown patina of oil and grime that looks anything but appetizing.

A stove should be kept clean for your physical health—bacteria builds up in those chunks of minced garlic that never made it into the pan or the bean broth that spilled over the side of the pot—and also for your mental health. A gleaming stove is inspiring, inviting you to cook your next meal with excitement and ambition. A clean stove is a point of pride, an indication of your respect for your kitchen and the work that you do there. And a sparkling stove is contagious (in a good way!), a motivation for washing up those last few spoons in the sink or wiping down the counters one more time.

The key to cleaning your stove depends on the type of stove you’ve got, whether it’s gas, electric, or induction. Whatever kind of stove you’re working with, here are the best ways to clean it.

How Often Should You Clean Your Stove?

To keep your stove clean, it’s best practice to clean it after every use. If you’re starting with an already-clean stove, this can mean as little as wiping down surfaces with a damp cloth or a soapy sponge. The more often you do the “small clean” on your stovetop, the less often you’ll have to do the “big clean.” But if it’s been a while and the big clean is what’s needed...

How to Clean a Gas Stove

A gas stove usually has four main components that require cleaning: 1. the grate (the part that pots and pans sit on when cooking), 2. the burner caps (the removable disks that distribute flames from the burners), 3. the burner heads (which are attached to the stovetop and are where the fire comes from), and 4. the stovetop surface itself.

1. & 2. Cleaning Gas Stove Grates and Burner Caps

The first step in cleaning a gas stove is cleaning the stove grates and burner caps. Remove the grates from the stovetop and the burner caps from the burner heads by lifting them off, then awkwardly pile them in the sink. Depending on the size of your grates and the size of your sink, this step may have to be done in batches.

If your grates and burners are fairly clean already: Soap up a non-abrasive sponge (you don’t want to strip off any enamel or coating) and give the grates and burners a thorough washing; you may have to rinse and repeat as necessary. You’ll know they’re clean by the way they look (they should have no grimy or filmy stains) and feel (they shouldn’t be greasy or tacky to the touch).

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“To it, I'd like to add that the best way I've found to clean stainless steel appliances including range tops is either an ammonia-containing window spray cleaner for light duty, or isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol on a good scrubby rag. Previously, I manufactured stainless fridge-sized equipment, and the alcohol was our go-to cleaning technique for removing masking adhesive, grease, and welding residue. For really baked on stuff or scratch removal, Scotch-Brite can be used, but be careful to only brush it in the direction of the finish grain lines so they blend in.”
— BakerBren
Comment

If your grates and burners are solidly dirty: Don’t worry; we’ve all been there. To remove seriously baked-on grease, give the grates and burners an initial wash with a soapy sponge, then mix up your miracle paste. Combine 1 part vinegar with 2 parts baking soda, add a few drops of dish soap, and cake the mixture on. Let the mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then wash it off with a soapy sponge and a little elbow grease.

Or try the ammonia method: Jill Nystul of the blog One Good Thing recommends a totally hands-off method for cleaning stove grates and burner caps—though this method only works for smaller grates that cover individual burners. “Pour a splash of ammonia into a ziplock bag,” she says. A gallon freezer bag works well for this. “Then place one of your stove parts into the bag and seal it, and repeat until all the parts you want to clean are sealed up in bags...Leave the bags on your countertop overnight. In the morning, pull the parts out of the bag and use a soapy sponge to wipe away the grease and grime.” No sweat!

Once the grates and burner heads are clean, dry them off really well. Unpaper Kitchen Cloths are an ideal tool for the job: They’re super absorbent, lint-free, and won’t leave any scratches.

3. Cleaning Gas Stove Burner Heads

Worst case scenario: It’s been so long since you’ve cleaned your gas stove that the burners are clogged with built-up grease. Making sure that the stove is firmly off (basic, but worth double-checking), wipe the burner heads with a damp (not wet) cloth to remove any crumbs. Then use the pointy end of a paper clip or safety pin to scrape any narrow notches and gently poke into the clogged ignition port or burner holes, which is where the gas comes out. Wipe the burner heads again with the damp cloth, then gently scrub with vinegar, which should remove any grease and stains.

4. Cleaning a Gas Stovetop

This is where all of the previous techniques come together. To clean the surface of your stove, first wipe it down with a damp cloth to collect any bits of food. Then wash with a non-abrasive soapy sponge to get rid of any greasy spots. If the grease has really solidified, whip out that 1:2 vinegar:baking soda mixture and spread it on, then let the mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes before gently scrubbing it off with a soapy sponge. Dry the stovetop with a clean cloth, replace the burner heads and the grates, and smile proudly.

How to Clean an Electric or Induction Stove

Electric stoves come in two varieties—metal coil burners and glass-topped—and both are easy to clean if you know what to do. Induction stoves have a glass-ceramic top, and can be cleaned using the same method as a glass-topped electric stove.

Cleaning Electric Stoves with Metal Coil Burners and Drip Pans

A metal coil electric stove usually has four main components that require cleaning: 1. the coils (which transmit the heat), 2. the drip pans (those metal bowls that hold the coils), 3. the underside of the stovetop, and 4. the stovetop surface itself.

If your coils and drip pans are fairly clean already: Electric coil burners can get very dirty, but they’re also (more or less) self-cleaning. Give the coils a quick wipe with a damp cloth, then turn the burners to high for about 3 minutes. Any accumulated grime will burn right off...though depending how dirty they are, you might want to open a window. Turn the burners off and let them fully cool, then wipe them down again.

If your coils and drip pans are solidly dirty: Heat the coils on high for a few minutes to burn off any residue, let them cool completely, then roll up your sleeves and pull the coils out of the stove with a gentle lift; they should pop out easily. Lift out the drip pans as well. Wash the drip pans with warm soapy water, then cake them in a mixture of 1 part vinegar and 2 parts baking soda, with a few drops of dish soap mixed in. Let the drip pans sit with their frosting for 10 to 15 minutes.

While the drip pans are resting, clean the coils. Lay out a few sheets of newspaper and grab a dry toothbrush. Gently scrub the coils to scrape off anything that’s crusted-on; it should flake off onto the newspaper. Then wipe the coils off with a damp cloth, dry them well with a dry cloth, and head back to the sink.

Wash the baking soda mixture off the drip pans and give them a final wash in warm soapy water, dry them well with a lint-free cloth, and look at your funhouse mirror reflection for a while.

Cleaning Under an Electric Stove

Sometimes an electric stove can give off a smell of burning when you turn it on. This is usually a sign that you need to clean under your stovetop. Lift the front of your stove like a car hood; it should prop open in the same way. Use a damp sponge to wipe out the underside to remove any stray bits of food that might have gotten caught and a soapy sponge for any necessary scrubbing—or do like Jen Jones of IHeart Cleaning does and use a vacuum to suck everything up!

For tougher spills and stuck-on food, liberally dust the underside of the stove with baking soda, then spray (or carefully drip) vinegar on top. The mixture should foam up, which is your entertainment while you clean. Let the baking soda and vinegar sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then scrub the surface with a non-abrasive scrubber to get all the nasty bits. Dry well with a lint-free cloth—and don’t forget to to give the top of the “hood” a wipe-down, too!

Cleaning an Electric Stovetop

To clean an electric stovetop, start by wiping it down with a damp cloth to collect any bits of food, then wash off any grease with a soapy sponge. For tough stains and built-up spills, spread the 1:2 vinegar:baking soda mixture on the stovetop surface, then let the mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes before gently scrubbing it off. Dry the stovetop with a clean cloth, place the metal coils back in the drip pans, and the drip pans back in the stove, and rejoice.

Cleaning Glass-Top Electric Stoves or Induction Stoves

Well aren’t you lucky, you glass-top-stove-haver. This baby could not be easier to clean—including those patches where food has burnt onto the surface.

Step 1: Wipe down the surface with a dry cloth to collect any food bits or crumbs.

Step 2: Liberally sprinkle the entire stovetop with baking soda.

Step 3: Spray (or carefully sprinkle) white vinegar all over. Enjoy the magic fizz.

Step 4: Fill a small bucket or pot or whatever you’ve got with hot water and soap so it’s foamy. Dunk a thick towel or two lighter kitchen towels in the hot soapy water, then wring the towel out so that it’s damp but not dripping wet.

Step 5: Lay the towel on top of the stove, set a timer for 15 minutes, and watch some videos while the soapy heat from the towels activates the baking soda and basically cleans your stovetop for you.

Step 6: When the timer dings, pick up the towel and use it to scrub away at the stovetop. When all of the dirty spots have been cleaned, wipe off the baking soda.

Step 7: Do one more wipe with vinegar, dry the stove with a clean towel, and you’re done!

If there are stuck-on bits that really won’t come off, you need to pull out the big guns...and by guns, we mean knives...and by knives, we mean razor blades. Holding a sharp razor blade at a 45-degree angle, carefully slide the blade under the gunk with even pressure. It’s best to do this while the stove is still damp, but make sure your hands are dry so there’s so slipping. Then vinegar again and voila. Beware that there is a risk of scratching your stovetop surface here, so use this method as an absolute last resort—and do so at your own risk.

Now that your stove is so clean you can eat off of it, make a plan to keep it that way. A quick wipedown after cooking adds mere seconds to your after-dinner clean up routine, but saves you much more time down the line. Plus, you get the added benefit of a stove (and a kitchen) you can be proud of.


What to Cook in Your Always-Clean Oven: Watch

Do you have any special tricks for cleaning your stovetop? Let us know in the comments!

22 Comments

Lockhart M. July 20, 2018
Induction: put down a big sheet of parchment paper under pots before frying. No fire, no spatter!
 
Melissa O. July 9, 2018
I would not use a knife due to scratching. A plastic pan or bowl scraper works very well for scraping a glass top electric stove.
 
RobertWilson June 29, 2018
<br /><br />Perfectly written and I would love to recommend everyone to read this out. I also want to add my suggestion regarding content, hope it helpful. that ammonia is a toxic substance and should only be used with care and adequate ventilation. Read the label on the bottle and take appropriate caution.<br />Moreover, I would also recommend one repairing service provider. We've used them to repair our stove and they did a great job. https://euappliancerepair.com/. In case, if any of you need repairing, you may consider them.<br />Once again thanks for the good content and Wish you good luck. Keep up the good work Writer Sarah :)<br />
 
Author Comment
Sarah W. June 29, 2018
Thank you!
 
Scott G. June 24, 2018
replace it they aren't that expensive
 
A.K. June 24, 2018
Roommate attempted to heat my glass kettle on an electric coil burner without removing its silicone coaster. Results, predictably noxious smell and melted silicone burner. Any advice for removing the melted silicone from my electric burner?
 
W J. June 24, 2018
Pick or scrape off as much as you can. If you have access to a handheld steam cleaner, give that a try. If not, take the unit out of doors and let it heat fully up. This will char any remaining residue. If sufficiently charred, any remaining residue should be removed carefully with a stiff brush after the unit has cooled to room temperature. As Scott Garman has pointed out, you have little to lose, in case your results are not satisfactory and you have to replace the unit.
 
A.K. June 24, 2018
thank you WJ! Could you clarify what you mean by "If not, take the unit out of doors and let it heat fully up." I am not sure how to remove the coil or how I would have it heat up taken out of doors<br />
 
W J. June 25, 2018
Because you described the unit as "an electric coil burner," I presumed that it was portable. Thus, I suggested mechanically removing as much of the burned-on silicone coaster as possible by picking and scraping, but not so vigorously as to damage the coil further.<br /><br />My suggestion was then to take the unit out of doors, find an electrical outlet in a well ventilated place and let the unit fully heat to char and burn off any material you could not remove.<br /><br />Silicone polymers are cross-linked in the curing process and are not soluble in any organic solvent you are likely to have available. Thus the only way to recover the unit is to burn any residues off by fully allowing it to char. Then when all the smoking has stopped and no more charging is possible, let it cool completely and brush off any remaining residue.<br /><br />If this is some sort of built-in unit and it is not possible to burn off the residue indoors (not advised), then your best bet is to look up the manufacturer and try to order a replacement coil. If this is not available, then your unit is probably toast (pun intended.)
 
Jane June 24, 2018
Ammonia is a highly toxic substance and should only be used with care and adequate ventilation. Read the label on the bottle and take appropriate caution.
 
W J. June 24, 2018
Vinegar plus baking soda?? Ever had a course in Chemistry? If so, then you know what you are left with after the carbon dioxide (fizz) subsides is a dilute solution of sodium acetate. In other words, you are making at best a dilute salt solution that has no particular affinity for grease or the cross-linked coating formed from oxidized unsaturated fatty acids in oils and fats. This combo is not going to hurt anything, but chemically it is unlikely to be as effective as a truly alkaline material, such as bicarbonate or sodium carbonate or sodium or potassium hydroxide (the last three of which can cause skin burns, if not used with caution.)
 
Matt H. June 24, 2018
Right!? I don't know why people fetishise baking soda and vinegar so much. You'd be better of just pouring salt on something to clean it, cause at least you'd have some scrubbing action.
 
susieQ June 24, 2018
Done - thanks! Now, how about the inner window of the oven door? How stuff gets in there I’ll never understand, but how do I get it clean???
 
W J. June 24, 2018
Try a hand held steam cleaner. Steam the window well, then while wearing gloves wipe off the hot, slightly wet surface. This is the least likely way to avoid damage to the door and gasket material. Solvents and abrasives are likely to do more harm to the door than is preferable.
 
Smaug July 5, 2018
I believe you mean inside the door, between the panes of glass, don't you? My stove does that- I think stuff somehow sneaks in through the vents on the door. I don't see any way to get at it without disassembling the door; so far I live with it.
 
susieQ July 5, 2018
Yes, that’s what I meant. Drat! It drives me crazy! Yeah, I guess my OCD is in overdrive. 😉. Thanks.
 
Scott G. June 24, 2018
Instead of using a metal razor blade to scrape with try using plastic razor blades. They look identical to metal but won't scratch the surface. Get them at the hardware or auto parts store. There are usually 3 grades of stiffness available.
 
Elizabeth June 22, 2018
Very informative article.<br />For busy moms, caretakers, and mere humans who<br />cook, my favorite sign in my friend's kitchen:<br />"No one ever died of oven crud poisoning"
 
BerryBaby June 19, 2018
Maybe it was Home Ec class that got me on this path but I clean the stove after each use. Then all the handles on oven, microwave, fridge, dishwasher, get disinfectant wipe. Takes minutes to keep things clean. The next time I make a meal, the kitchen is ready.
 
Author Comment
Sarah W. June 19, 2018
You're an inspiration! Just another reason to bring Home Ec back into schools...
 
BakerBren June 19, 2018
Thank you, this is helpful advice. To it, I'd like to add that the best way I've found to clean stainless steel appliances including range tops is either an ammonia-containing window spray cleaner for light duty, or isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol on a good scrubby rag. Previously, I manufactured stainless fridge-sized equipment, and the alcohol was our go-to cleaning technique for removing masking adhesive, grease, and welding residue. For really baked on stuff or scratch removal, Scotch-Brite can be used, but be careful to only brush it in the direction of the finish grain lines so they blend in.
 
Author Comment
Sarah W. June 19, 2018
Such good tips, thank you!