Cleaning · Cooktops

Stove top cleaning tips

candy-stove-mess

It’s that magical time of year when you’re cooking twice and much and inviting people into your home to witness the aftermath of that.

Luckily, returning your stove top or cooktop to looking like new isn’t that hard; it just takes a little know-how.

Follow my tips and you’ll never flounder with soap and water again. Cuz ain’t got time for that!

If you have porcelain-coated stove top or grates

gas-stove-top-cleaning-tipsNo. 1 Enemy: Clean up spills containing acids, such as vinegar and tomato, as soon as the surface is cool enough as they could affect the finish.

Tool: Nonabrasive plastic scrubbing pad and cooktop cleaner. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser saves a lot of elbow grease.

Timesaver: Throw grates in the dishwasher on the most powerful cycle you have. It’s recommended to give it a good bath in the sink first, but if you have a great Warner Stellian dishwasher like I do, no prerinsing necessary!

DO NOT: put caps on the dishwasher or reassemble caps on burners while they are wet. Unless you like struggling to ignite your burners.

If you have a ceramic or glass top stove, i.e. electric:

how-to-clean-ceramic-stove-top

No. 1 Enemy: Sugary spills (jellies, candy, syrup). Tis the season!

Tool: Cooktop Scraper or a razor blade. Clean while the cooktop is still warm, wearing oven mitts if necessary.

Culprit: Heavy soil, dark streaks, specks, and discoloration

Tool: Cooktop Polishing Cream or soap and water (if you have aggression you need to work out). Do like Mr. Miyagi taught you: wax on, wax off until white film disappears and takes mess with it.

Culprit: Burned-on soil

Tool: Cooktop Cleaner and Cooktop Scraper (or razor blade). First apply cleaner. Then scrape surface keeping blade as flat as possible. Finish polishing cooktop until film disappears.

Culprit: Overboiling residue

Tool: Overboiling was a special skill of mine when I was first learning how to cook, which took place on the unforgivably hot surface of an electric stovetop. I learned that a melamine sponge (aka Mr. Clean Magic Eraser) eliminated the evidence quite well.

If you have cast-iron grates

cleaning cast iron grates

Read this existing post. HOW TO: clean cast iron grates.

how to clean stainless steel cooktop

You might have a full stainless steel stove top under your grates. First try stainless steel cleaner. For tougher messes, try a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Always go with the grain for best results.

Best · Cleaning · Dishwashers · Energy Efficiency

Frigidaire Gallery dishwasher’s crazy rotating spray arm adds 4x the water coverage

This Frigidaire Gallery dishwasher promises to clean better, get your dishes completely dry and do so quietly.

There’s a reason that the most-read posts on this blog are about dishwashers.

They’re frustrating.

Half the time the dishes come out still needing to be dried — or worse — washed. Can’t they just get it right the first time?

And if your dishwasher does do the job, it probably makes its presence well known to anyone in earshot.

Sound familiar?

Frigidaire is making a big deal out of the Frigidaire Gallery dishwasher they’re selling that addresses each of these issues.

1. The OrbitClean technology, aka satellite-action lower spray arm, works independent of the upper and middle spray arms and covers 4x more area with concentrated soap and water.

Instead of drawing the same pattern of water over and over again, the OrbitClean rotates on the spray arm as it turns in circles at the base of the dishwasher. Watch the video. It’s pretty crazy.

2. The fan-assisted dry (“SaharaDry”) eliminates the need for toweling off your glasses while unloading.

3. The alternating wash arms that improved the wash action of the dishwasher also lessen the noise output. But the four-sided sound insulation wrap further ensures that this Frigidaire Gallery dishwasher is the quietest in its class (aka for the money; it retails at $599 at Warner Stellian).

PLUS, you’ll receive a free one-year extended warranty if you buy one before August 2012.

If you buy this dishwasher, Frigidaire is saying they get it right the first time; so no do-overs in terms of dishwashing. But if you share another do-over you’d LIKE to do, you can win the dishwasher.

Cleaning · HOW TO · Microwave

Microwave odor? How to get smell out of microwave

You know how sometimes you microwave food and it ends up smelling like something you made last week?

No one wants broccoli vaguely reminiscent of burnt popcorn or that super greasy pizza.

But as much as you clean it, you just can’t get rid of that darn stinky odor in the microwave.

Until now.

Frigidaire passed along this odor-removing solution that requires little more than pushing buttons.

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup water
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • grated lemon peel
  • several whole cloves

Combine all ingredients together in a glass measuring cup and boil for several minutes in the microwave on full power. Allow the hot mixture to sit in the microwave until cool (this is when the magic happens).

Wipe interior with a soft cloth.

Voila!

 

Cleaning · Cooktops · FAQ · HOW TO · Ranges

HOW TO: clean stove drip pans

OK, stop acting like you're having fun. Cleaning the stove is NOT fun. Especially with that spray; you'll be scrubbin' all night.

Cleaning my stove top reminds me of making the bed: even if I do it today, I’m still going to have to do it tomorrow, too.

If you have an electric coil stove you have drip pans, which — by name — catch drips. Even if you clean your range top often, it’s a mess the next time you cook.

So the clean up should be quick and easy, or it won’t get done, right?

The method I’ve suggested before is cleaning stove drip pans with a paste. But no matter how wonderful, applying the paste and rinsing the pans is still more than some of us have time for on a nightly basis.

And this applies to gas stove tops like mine, too. Lots of drips land on the burner caps and below the grates.

The fastest, easiest — and perhaps even most effective way to clean the surface — Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, or a generic version of this melamine foam sponge.

It looks like an ordinary sponge, but because it’s melamine, it actually has little microscrubbers that can remove discoloration and baked on mess with minimal elbow grease.

That being said, it is abrasive in nature so it can scratch or dull surfaces if you’re not careful (Bon-Ami is a great alternative in this case). ‘

If you’re like me, you get so excited about the sudden ease of cleaning your seemingly impossible stove top that you move on to those marks on the floor, that mildew in the shower grout…

Best · Cleaning · Cooktops · customer service · Dishwashers · DIY · FAQ · HOW TO · Refrigerator · Remodel · Washer

7 most popular appliance blog posts of 2011

A post on cleaning the dishwasher was a top dog.

Though not the most-read posts of all time on the Warners’ Stellian Appliance blog, these next 7 posts garnered the most views of those written this year.

7. HOW TO: clean a dishwasher

With more states banning phosphates in dishwashers without consumers possibly noticing, dishwashers got white film.

But a regular maintenance cleaning is always a good idea.

6. HOW TO: clean cast iron grates

If you’re lucky enough to have cast iron grates, you’re unlucky enough to handle cleaning them. The experts at Wolf Range weighed in.

5. DIY Network ‘Rehab Addict’ Nicole Curtis talks appliances

Old house lover/rehabber Nicole Curtis invited us into her “Minnehaha House” in Minneapolis for tips on fixing up kitchens and buying the right appliances.

4. Stove drip pans cleaning tips

Is there anything worse than the grime that builds up on the burner pans on your stove top? Not only do I include a deep-cleaning method, but I offer up the secret ingredient to easily keeping those drip pans shiny on a weekly basis.

3. How long does a dishwasher last?

2. How long does a refrigerator last?

1. How long does a washer last?

No, you’re right; they don’t make ’em like they used to. (But believe me, that’s not all bad!) Unfortunately, gone are the days when you could expect your appliances to last a decade and a half. Find the new lifespans in each post above.

Cleaning · cooking · Ovens · Ranges

Don’t put foil in the oven

Maybe your grandma used to use tinfoil to line her oven floor to aid clean up.

But times have changed; tinfoil is no longer made of tin. The stuff you use to shield your ham is actually aluminum foil, which has a lower heat tolerance.

The high temperatures of your oven floor can actually cause the foil to melt right onto that oven surface.

And you can’t clean it off.

We’ve had Warners’ Stellian Appliance customers spend hundreds of dollars replacing the oven floor on relatively new ranges because of this well-intentioned mistake.

Instead, aluminum foil-makers suggest you line the oven rack you’re using with aluminum foil rather than lining the oven itself.

Cleaning · Ovens · Ranges

Get your oven ready for the holidays

Just like you might get an oil change before going on a road trip, you might have considered cleaning your oven before hosting a holiday party.

Here’s some advice:

Don’t.

Every holiday we get a panicked call from a well-meaning customer who ran the self-clean on her oven and afterwards, the oven didn’t unlock (in this cautionary tale, Northland Service was able to unlock the oven in the nick of time). Of course, this isn’t what’s supposed to happen; the self-clean mode should just work like a charm.

But we all know that things don’t always turn out as they should, and if it’s going to malfunction, Murphy’s Law dictates that it will be right before your in-laws show up.

Instead, follow my tips on how to clean your oven manually. You don’t even need oven cleaner.

And then you can use your self-clean function AFTER the holidays.