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…

Appliance Design · Ranges

How long does a stove last?

This post is the latest in the series “How long do appliances last?”

Yup, you're stuck with it for the next 16 or 17 years. So you better be sure it's the right fit for you and your family (see how I just made another baby-with-appliances pic happen?).

The average lifespan of an electric range and gas range is 16 years and 17 years, respectively, according to data published by Appliance Magazine in 2010. The life span reflects how long the first owner of a range owned it, which doesn’t necessarily mean that it broke down.

Considering your range, statistically, will be able to drive before you kick it out of the house — the longest lifespan of any appliance in this series — you should probably invest the most in it.

(Or at least that’s my rationalization. But you may borrow it.)

I love comparing appliances to cars (here, here and here just to name a few), and this reminds me of my Toyota Corolla, which I hate. I shared my feelings with my dad, who asked, “Then why did you buy it?”

Being practical, I of course bought it for the reliability.

Being wise, my dad replied, “That just means you’re going to hate it for longer.”

Dang him being right.

The good news is our sales associates do a pretty good job asking you the kind of questions that really get at what you like, don’t like and really need in a new appliance. I like to think we’re the eHarmony of appliance retailers.

Verdict: Buy a range you love, because you’re going to be loving it for a long time. Or else you’ll end up cooking on my Toyota Corolla…or something like that.


Cleaning · Cooktops · FAQ · HOW TO · Ranges

Stove drip pans cleaning tips

I've got you covered on cleaning conundrums.

Drip pans for stoves rank among the toughest cleaning jobs in the kitchen.

Grime on aluminum burner pans, which fit under the electric coils on your range, often seemed to me to be resistant to scrubbing.

And they probably are, if you’re using regular cleaners and scrubbers.

Look familiar?

But my two tricks for cleaning drip pans — one for weekly cleaning and one for deeper cleaning — will keep them looking new and thus, keep you from replacing them so often!

Bonus: Clean drip pans for your electric stove don’t just serve cosmetic purposes; keeping the surface reflective ensures the most efficient use of heat, meaning you’ll use less energy when you keep your burners and drip pans clean.

Spot cleaning burner pans

For day to day drips and stains, make sure the burner’s completely cooled and pull it up and out from the stove top (see photo below). I usually remove the drip pan to my sink to avoid peripheral messes. Wet the drip pan and sprinkle on a liberal amount of my co-favorite household cleaner, Bar Keeper’s Friend (name the other in the comments for a gold star). Use a rag to work the cleaner into a paste and polish off the mess. Rinse and dry thoroughly before replacing the pans.

Carefully remove the electric burner before cleaning its drip pan.

Deep cleaning drip pans

Pick a time when you don’t need to use your sink or stove for several hours, like right before bed or work. Again, wait until the stove is cool and remove the burners. Put each burner pan in separate gallon plastic bags. Add 1/4 cup of ammonia to each and fill the remainder with hot tap water. Close the bags and let them sit overnight (or for several hours).

Then, drain the bags and scrub off the loosened mess. Rinse well before applying any other cleaners, as ammonia can create toxic fumes when mixed. Rinse and dry thoroughly before replacing.


Let me know if you try this and how it worked for you!