How to Clean Your Range
1. Splatters on the burners and knobs
2. Charred spills on the oven's bottom
3. Greasy window in the door
1. Clean the cooktop. Full disclosure: While you won't be doing backbreaking work, there will be some grime and you'll be working in hot water, so put on rubber gloves to start. For a gas range, remove burner caps, grates, and control knobs, and put them in your sink filled with very hot water and dish soap. As these soak, dip a scrubbing sponge into the sink water, wring, and go over the stovetop, paying extra attention to any stuck-on stains around the burners. Rinse with clean water; let dry. Head to the sink and wipe down each item with your sponge (most of the gunk should glide off now). Rinse and dry the parts; reassemble the cooktop. For a coil electric stovetop, do this soaking method with the drip pans and knobs but not the burners, which shouldn't be submerged (and are self-cleaning). For a smooth electric stovetop, clean the surface with a nonabrasive scrubbing pad and a liquid cooktop cleaner. Finally, dip a sponge in hot soapy water, wring well, and wipe the controls. Rinse and let dry.
2. Zap oven spills. Burned-on blobs welded to the bottom of your oven can give off odors and smoke. If you have time to run a self-cleaning cycle — even a short two-hour one — it's your best bet (and you can go do something else while it works). If not, just focus on the worst stains. Take a metal spatula and gently chip off any loose pieces — with any luck, this alone might do the trick. If not, liberally spritz with full-strength ammonia from a spray bottle. Leave it for at least five minutes, then sprinkle on enough baking soda to completely cover the stain; add just a few drops of white vinegar. Let it bubble for a minute or two, then whisk away the grime with a scrub sponge. Rinse with a clean, wet, regular sponge.
3. Clear up the glass. To soften any baked-on film, spray the inside of the window with the same full-strength ammonia; let it soak. After a few minutes, rub down the glass with a nonabrasive scrubbing pad. Rinse with a wet sponge, and dry with a paper towel or microfiber cloth. Give the glass on the outside of the door a quick spray and wipe as well. That wasn't too bad, was it?
Make It Easier Next Time
- Block messes from happening: Cover adjoining burners with extra pot lids when sautéing, and line the rack below drippy pies and casseroles with foil or a cookie sheet (clean the lids or pan in the dishwasher later).
- If an oven spill happens, immediately and liberally sprinkle it with salt to soak up the mess. When cool, nudge the crusty stain loose with a spatula; wipe clean.
- Look for tools with the cleaner built-in, like Mr. Clean Magic Eraser with Febreze ($3) for oven windows and Scotch-Brite Cook Top Cleaner ($7) for smooth electric cooktops. Both cleaned GHRI lab ranges easily and without scratching.
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