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stovetop and oven

Spring Cleaning: A Guide to Cleaning Your Kitchen Stove From Top to Bottom

From drip pans to back burners, this comprehensive guide will have your stove sparkling.

20 min read

If spring cleaning is in full swing in your home, odds are, your kitchen stove is on the shortlist of items to tackle. Cleaning your stove can help improve its performance—not to mention the flavor of the food you eat. Did you know that if your oven is dirty, it can make the food you’re cooking taste like smoke? Also, leaving food splatters on the stove can cause them to become baked-on and difficult to remove.

When it comes to spring cleaning your stove, some approaches work better than others. (Before getting started, it’s always wise to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines for your specific model. Find them online or in a printed manual.) To get the best results, you’ll want to follow the step-by-step process here. 

What You’ll Need

First things first: You’ll need the right cleaning tools. Start with a high-quality sponge to give the surfaces a good wipe down. OXO’s Easy Press Soap Dispenser can make it easier to pump out soap for cleaning. (Generally speaking, dish soap, vinegar, baking soda and a general disinfectant should be all you need in terms of cleaning agents for your stove.)

Other supplies you’ll want: A durable nylon brush can help you access deep nooks and crannies to get out the grime; for more delicate or detailed areas, a toothbrush may also come in handy. And for really tough messes, you might need this heavy duty scrub brush.

When you clean the oven racks, OXO’s Good Grips Nylon Grill Brush for Cold Cleaning might help you scrub off the grease. If you clean underneath the stove, you should clean the floor with a broom. If you have a gas stove, you’ll likely need a needle to clean out the gas tubes.

Deconstructing and Cleaning Stove Parts

Before you start cleaning, be sure all the controls are off. If you’ve recently cooked, ensure the stove is completely cool for safety reasons. To really clean thoroughly, you’ll want to disassemble the stove. For some stoves, this may mean taking out the electric heating coils, removing the drip pans and opening the range so it’s lifted. There may be some kind of kick stand you can deploy to keep the range up right while you clean underneath. (This likely doesn’t apply if you have a flat top stove.)

Cleaning the Burners or Electric Heating Coils

Remove the burners from the electric connection. Dish soap and water should be enough to clean the burners. Use a towel or a scrubbing sponge to apply the solution. It’s important not to submerge the electrical elements in water. Before reattaching the burners, ensure they’re totally dry. If any stubborn food remains caked on, turning on the burners will heat up the remaining particles, helping them to fall off. (Do not touch the burners while they are hot.)

How to Clean Stove Drip Pans

Drip pans, or the circular silver discs that lie underneath the burners, are notoriously hard to clean. They stain easily, and those stains can be tough to remove. Start by using a cleaning solution of vinegar and baking soda. (Use a ratio of two parts vinegar, one part baking soda.) You also could try hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Soak the pans in the mixture of your choice for roughly 20 minutes. The mixture should help dislodge whatever is baked into the pans when you scrub them. If a regular sponge doesn’t cut it, you also could try a steel wool pad. Be sure to use plenty of elbow grease.
Pans still not clean? You might try soaking them overnight in ammonia. Before you do, a few things to know: Use this cleaner carefully since ammonia is pretty caustic. Be sure to wear gloves when handling it. It would also be best to use ammonia outside or in a well-ventilated area. Never mix it with bleach. To clean your drip pans, simply place them in a zip-close plastic bag, add ammonia, and seal overnight. Rinse thoroughly with water before replacing on the stovetop.

How to Clean a Glass Stovetop

Although flat glass stovetops give your kitchen a sleek, modern look, they can scratch easily, so you’ll want to be careful when cleaning them. (Be sure to never use an abrasive material to wipe down a glass stovetop.) On the flip side, the flat surface can make it easier to clean since you don’t have to take the burners apart to clean them. Follow these steps to make your glass stovetop sparkle:

Use White Vinegar

Because glass is delicate, try a natural cleaner like vinegar to really make it shine. Spray the surface with white vinegar and then wipe it down with a soft towel.

Add Baking Soda

For tougher stains, first spray with white vinegar, then before wiping it off, sprinkle on a little baking soda over that initial spray. Let that mixture sit for 10 to 20 minutes. Wipe everything down with a clean towel. If there’s any residue left from the baking soda, spray the top with some more vinegar and wipe clean.

Bring in the Big Guns

If natural solutions don’t work, you might try using Bar Keepers Friend Multipurpose Cooktop Cleaner, which is formulated to be gentle enough for glass stoves and can make the surface of a stainless steel appliance shine.

Gently Scrape Remaining Grime

Try a plastic scraper to remove any baked-on food. Plastic scrapers are gentler than metal, but you’ll still want to press only lightly so as not to scratch the surface.

heavy duty cleaning brush cleaning stove top

How to Clean a Gas Stove

Cleaning the burners of a gas stove is key to ensuring the flames heat your pots and pans evenly. Here’s how to clean a gas stove.

Prep the Stove

Make sure the stove top is cool before you start cleaning. You also may want to unplug your stove. If your stove has a pilot light, you should turn off the gas valve. Lift the grates.

Deconstruct and Clean the Burners

Remove the burner cap and base. Some burner bases may need to be unscrewed. Clean the burner cap and base. An all-purpose disinfectant and a cloth should work just fine here. Soap and water can also work. If there’s caked-on food, try leaving the burner to soak in the solution for 15 minutes to loosen up the food.

Clean the Tubes

Next, clean the gas tubes. These are located underneath the burner base. Once you find the tubes, unscrew them. Next, take a needle or pin (never a toothpick as those can splinter) and insert it into the tubes to clear them of any debris. Be careful not to damage these tubes. Post-cleaning, reattach the tubes to the base. Finally, take a damp cloth and clean the igniter. The igniter is typically located underneath the burner base.

Put It Back Together

Reinstall the burner base and cap. Be sure the caps and bases are dry before you attempt this. Be careful here as the burners won’t function properly if they’re misaligned. Try turning on the gas stove burners to ensure that you correctly installed the burner base and cap.

How to Clean a Stainless Steel Stovetop

Stainless steel cooktops look shiny, sleek and can brighten up any kitchen. But they need to be kept clean or the metal can discolor and start to look dull. Stainless steel also tends to show streaks and scratches if not maintained. Follow these steps for spring cleaning your stainless steel stove:

  1. Use the right cleaners. Typically, cleaning your stainless steel stovetop with dish soap and water is enough to keep the stove clean. If you’re purchasing a cleaner, check with the manufacturer’s instructions to see if one is suggested for your model. Use a non-scratch sponge or soft cloth so you don’t scratch the surface.
  2. Remove the grate from your stove.
  3. Spray the cleaner on the surface. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow it to penetrate.
  4. Wipe the cleaner away with a gentle cloth. It’s best to wipe in the direction of the grain.
  5. Polish the stainless steel. If you’d rather not use chemicals, dish soap and baby oil can make a stainless steel appliance shine. Vinegar and olive oil or mineral oil also might work. If you live in an area that has hard water, use distilled water instead to avoid streaks.
  6. Buff the surface with a microfiber cloth.

How to Clean Beneath Your Stove

For a proper spring cleaning, pull your stove away from the wall and clean underneath it. Even though stoves are heavy, they can be surprisingly easy to move. Use both hands and grip the top of the oven. Gently pull the stove toward you. Once the stove is out of its resting place, unplug it. Then, take a broom and sweep up all the crumbs on the floor. 
If that’s just not possible (perhaps the stove really is too heavy to move), you can remove the warming or storage drawer on the bottom of the oven. Once the drawer is removed, try putting a broom underneath and using it to clear debris.
Once the large pieces of food have been swept up, use a vacuum to clean the floor. Follow this with a quick mopping. And while you have the stove pulled out from the wall and surrounding cabinets, don’t forget to clean the sides, too.

How to Clean Your Oven

Keeping your oven clean helps ensure that your food evenly and prevents it from taking on any funky flavors from last week’s dinners. You can either use your oven’s self-cleaning function or clean it yourself. 

Self-Cleaning Your Oven

These tips can help you make sure your oven is properly cleaned.

  • Prep the oven. Take everything out of the oven, including the racks. Using the self-clean function will cause the oven to reach extremely high temperatures, so open a kitchen window to let the heat escape.
  • Move pets to another room. The fumes from self-cleaning could potentially harm pets, particularly birds. If you own birds, move their cage to another area of your home.
  • Select the self-cleaning setting. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on how to do this. Most self-cleaning ovens work by using extremely high heat to burn off any food left on the surface of the oven. Some ovens will use steam to accomplish that same goal. The oven also might emit a strong burning smell. Don’t be alarmed as it’s just part of the cleaning process.
  • Monitor the oven. The oven should shut off when self-cleaning is complete, which can take several hours. Be sure to budget for this time.
  • Remove any ash. Post self-cleaning, you’ll likely have to sweep up ash left behind using a small brush or sponge. Then, clean the surface of the oven with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.

Cleaning the Oven Yourself

If you’d rather not use the oven’s self-cleaning setting, try this DIY approach to help it shine.

  • Mix baking soda and vinegar. Add just enough vinegar to turn the baking soda into a paste consistency. Spread the paste all along the oven’s interior with a clean paint brush. Or put on gloves and spread the mixture on by hand.
  • Spray white vinegar on the baking soda mixture. The vinegar will cause the baking soda to foam and help remove grime. For stubborn stains, be sure to spray them thoroughly. You can let the baking soda sit overnight to dissolve those stains. Wipe up the baking soda and vinegar with a damp cloth.
  • Clean the door. Use a disinfectant and cloth to wipe down the door. For really tough jobs, try using a scrub brush to remove food from the door. (Let your baking soda and water mixture sit on those stains as well.) Glass cleaner can really make the door shine. If you have a stainless steel door, use a stainless steel cleaner.
  • Remove oven racks. Clean them in a deep sink or bathtub, soaking then in soap and water for 20 to 60 minutes to loosen up the grease residue. Use a sponge or a scouring pad to remove the grease. Note: While you can use baking soda to clean stainless steel racks, if the racks are aluminum, do not use baking soda as it could change the color of the metal.
  • Replace racks in the oven.
  • Clean the broiler pan. The broiler pan or pan underneath the oven can be wiped down with soap and water.

For even more details on how to clean an oven, check out this guide.

How to Clean Your Cleaning Tools

It’s easy to forget to keep your cleaning tools clean, too. To clean a sponge, you can run it through the dishwasher. If you’re not comfortable with that due to all the cleaning chemicals, try placing your sponge in white vinegar for up to five minutes. You also can put your sponge in a bowl of water and microwave it for 60 seconds.

Placing the sponge in a mixture of water and bleach also works. (Soak the sponge in that mixture for five minutes.) But be careful with bleach since it can be caustic when mixed with other cleaning chemicals.

Brushes should be dipped in a vinegar solution or a bleach mixture. Leave them in there for about five minutes, rinse and allow them to air dry. If the brushes have wood handles, ensure the handles are not submerged in water.

The Best Schedule for Cleaning Your Stove

Spring isn’t the only time your stove should get some attention. Follow this plan to keep your favorite kitchen appliance clean all year long.

  • Daily: Wipe down your stove. Spray the surface of the stove with disinfectant and wipe it down with a microfiber cloth or a rag. This will also help prevent the build-up of stains and splatters that can be tough to remove.
  • Weekly: About once a week, wipe down the front of the oven, too. How often you do a full deep clean of your stove depends on usage, but a weekly cleaning of the dish pans and coils is a good idea.
  • Every three months: If you use your oven almost daily, it makes sense to do a deep clean every three months or so. Remove the racks and thoroughly clean the interior.
  • Once to twice per year: Move the oven away from the wall and clean underneath it.

Once your stove cleaning is done, it’s time to tackle the rest of your kitchen with this handy cleaning guide.


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