Cleaning tips: How to clean a stove

Not sure how to regain a clean stove after all that Thanksgiving cooking? Cleaning stove tops can be a pain, but consider that dirty cooking surfaces don’t reflect heat as well, meaning that you waste energy and compromise performance when using a messy stove.

Instead, try these useful stove cleaning tips that have worked for me.

When cleaning a smooth top stove, first use a razor blade (yes, I’m serious) to gently scrape off any burnt on food residue. Sometimes smooth top stoves burners discolor with time, but I’ve found that Mr. Clean Magic Eraser works well to fade dark stains. Apply cooktop cleaner (which we sell for about $5 at all Warners’ Stellian stores) with a soft rag or paper towel for general cleaning. Cooktop cleaner also gives a nice, smooth finish to glass- and ceran-top stoves you can’t get from soap and water, sorry!

To clean a gas stove top — like I have at home — remove all grates and burner caps to the sink and simply use soap and water to clean. I scrub off all the food residue that ends up around the burners by sprinkling on some Barkeeper’s Friend and rubbing it off with a moistened towel. Again, the discolorations (I have a white stove) are removed by Magic Eraser and some elbow grease.

The most important tip I have for cleaning gas stoves, though, is properly replacing the now-clean burner caps, as misplacement could cause stove lighting issues.

Any other good tips on how to clean a stove top?

What to Do if Gas Stove Won’t Light

Despite a general dislike for most of the appliances I inherited with my first house, I feel lucky to have a gas stove (or range, as in appliance jargon).

I love cooking, so I appreciate the power and responsiveness of gas.

However, unlike their electric counterpart, gas ranges can’t just be dialed on; their burners must be ignited.

I occasionally struggle with lighting my burners – and I know I’m not alone – so here’s what to check if you’re struggling.

Burner cap
A lot of ignition problems and uneven flames result from food spills and related dirtiness. Routine cleaning and general unslobbiness will avoid this.

After a spill, use a nonabrasive plastic scrubbing pad and mildly abrasive cleanser or soap  to thoroughly clean the cap.

Make sure the cap is completely dry before replacing it over the burner. Take care that alignment pins are lined up with with the cap.

(I know I usually would never say this, but) Don’t put them in the dishwasher.

Burner ports
Burner flames should be about 1″-1.5.” The flame should be blue, not yellow.

If these aren’t the case, your burner ports could be clogged, so you should clean it, following these steps:

  1. Make sure all the controls are off and the stove is cool. Don’t use oven cleaners, bleach or rust remover.
  2. Clean the burner cap as instructed above..
  3. Clean the gas tube opening with a damp cloth.
  4. Clean clogged burner ports with a straight pin. Do not enlarge or distort the port. Do not use a wooden toothpick. If the burner needs to be adjusted, call appliance service.
  5. Replace the burner cap.
  6. Turn on the burner. If the burner does not light, check cap alignment. If the burner still does not light, call appliance service.

Knobs
(This one falls under the “duh” category, but you never know…) Push in the burner knob before turning to light to ensure that it’s set correctly.

Easy Oven Cleaning Tips

Time to clean your oven? Try these handy tricks.
Photo credit – las_intially

If your oven is setting off the smoke alarm every time you make a pizza, it might be time to give it a good cleaning.

Self-clean ovens have a setting that allows it to reach very high temperatures and burn leftover food mess into ashes. Do NOT use oven cleaners on self-clean ranges. And be sure to take out the racks before you start a cleaning cycle, so that they continue to glide well.

If you don’t have a setting for cleaning your oven, you’ll have to manually clean it of course. (Cue the voice Jim Warner, who started Warners’ Stellian, with a joke about manual-clean ovens ALL fitting under ‘self-clean’: “Of course it is…you clean it yourself!”)

To manually clean your oven:

1. Allow the cavity to properly cool down. We don’t need any heroes on our hands.

2. Remove the oven racks. These can be cleaned with steel wool, water and dish soap. To clean trickier messes, put the racks in a garbage bag with a cup of ammonia overnight in the backyard and rinse with the garden hose in the morning.

3. Try scrubbing the oven cavity with soap, water and a soft cloth or sponge. Hopefully, this will do the trick.

4. If more rigorous cleaning is needed, our customer service rep, Amy, suggests the following natural oven-cleaning remedies:

  • Mix ¼ cup ammonia and 2 cups of warm water in a bowl, pour it into your oven, and close it up tight. If you’re at home during this, you can open a few windows to ensure ample ventilation. You can clean out the dirty oven with a scrubby sponge after a few hours or overnight.
  • Fill a spray bottle with 1 tablespoon Borax (which works great as an affordable laundry detergent booster), 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, dishwashing soap and a quart of warm water. Spray the oven walls. After an hour, scrub it clean and rinse thoroughly.
  • Creating a paste of baking soda and vinegar and leaving it on the oven cavity surface could work well. But if you have a gas range, be careful to cover the holes of the gas line really, REALLY well, because if they get clogged, that’s a bad thing. If you go this route, you should be able to scrape off food mess with a spatula. Wipe out the oven thoroughly afterwards.

What tricks are we missing? Share them in the comments so we can crowdsource a great resource for anyone looking to get those ovens cleaned.

Of course, if you need to stock up, we’ve got cleaning supplies in stock, too.

10 Sneaky Ways You’re Wasting Money in the Kitchen

You bought your kitchen appliances on sale. Bonus: they’re Energy Star, so you’ll save money in water and energy costs.

But did you ever think that the way you use your appliances can really affect your utility bills?

Here are 10 energy-wasting choices to avoid:

1. Making your dishwasher heat up cold water

Run hot tap water before you run your dishwasher it doesn’t have to heat up the water as long.

2. Setting your refrigerator and freezer too cold

Your fridge section should be set at 37 degrees to 40 degrees, and your freezer section should be set at 5 degrees. A deep freeze should be set at zero degrees.

3. Using an uncovered pot to boil water

Think of all the heat  — and time — lost without a cover on  a pot of heated water. Instead, a cover traps the energy in.

4. Selecting “Heat Dry” on your dishwasher

If you don’t wash a lot of plastic dishes, or lots of dishes in general, choose the “Air Dry” setting or simply prop your dishwasher door open after the rinse cycle.

5. Leaving foods uncovered in the refrigerator

Uncovered foods release moisture, causing the compressor to work harder. Instead, cover all liquids and foods.

6. Prewashing your dishes

Not only will it decrease the effectiveness of your dishwasher detergent, prewashing your dishes is unnecessary and wastes water. Just scrape off the big pieces of food.

7. Ignoring the gasket on your refrigerator

Close your refrigerator door over a piece of paper or dollar bill so it’s half in and half out of the refrigerator. If you can pull it out easily, your door seals aren’t airtight.

Try moistening the gasket with a thin layer of Vaseline, which should create a better seal. If that doesn’t do the trick, you might need to replace the gasket altogether.

8. Cooking with dirty burners and drip pans

Clean burners and drip pans will reflect the heat better, cooking your food faster and saving you energy.

9. Placing small pans on bigger burners

Match pans to the size of the element. Otherwise, you’re using energy to heat a bigger burner only to let it escape around the sides of the smaller pot or pan.

10. Barely stocking your refrigerator

It seems backwards, but a full refrigerator holds temperature better than a poorly stocked refrigerator. Just don’t pack food so tight as to block the airflow.

How To Clean and Season a Griddle

Cast iron pans and griddles are often passed down in families, becoming more and more seasoned. And you can taste the difference in the food.

We recently learned that some Wolf appliance owners panic a little when their griddle starts turning more brown than silver. But that is what it’s supposed to look like. For a perfect season, follow this advice.

How To Season Griddle

You want to season the griddle before ever using it. Pour 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil or peanut oil (not olive oil!) per 11 inches in the center. Spread the oil with a dry paper towel.

Turn the griddle on to 350 degrees and heat the oil until it begins to smoke. Then turn off the heat, wait until the griddle is cool enough to touch and wipe the excess oil off with a paper towel.

Repeat.

How To Clean Griddle

Now, to clean the griddle, pour sparkling water on it while it’s hot. Excess oil and food scraps will bubble up and off.  Use a metal spatula to scrape everything off.

Once the griddle’s clean, pour a teaspoon of vegetable oil or peanut oil on the surface and spread it with another dry paper towel to reseason it.

What are your best seasoning tips? Share them in the comments.