Monday, February 18, 2008

Clean Stove Top

Visiting Laura last week, we got to talking about her new electric stove and the pros and cons of different stove tops. Hers is electric, I currently have propane gas, and next month I'll have natural gas.

As we were talking, I got to ranting about the salesmen who were giving me the pitch about sealed burners being so easy to clean. When I previously had sealed burners, it was the hardest-to-clean stove I ever worked with. Every time the potatoes boiled over, every time something spilled while I was cooking, it would burn on. No matter how much scrubbing, no matter how much chemical, no matter how much elbow grease, no matter how quickly you attacked the spill, the process of cooking the food caused the spill to bake onto the stove top. It drove me nuts.

The next time we needed a stove, I refused to consider anything with sealed burners. We ended up getting a much cheaper appliance. Apparently the unsealed burners are less desirable. The salesmen told me how much harder it is to clean the stove when the burners aren't sealed. Poppycock. The spillovers will spill down the hole, under the cook-top, onto the part of the stove where the burners are attached to the gas. As long as that part is nicely sealed, it's a breeze to wipe it up. Nothing there burns on! Of course, I may not clean underneath the stove-top as frequently as I should. It may get cleaned underneath only a couple of times a year (unless there's a gloriously messy spillover) but the stove-top stays nice, and the part where the food goes stays nice.

I think the stove in the new house has sealed burners. Bummers. But, hey, it's a black stove, so whatever burned-on messes I have won't glare as badly as they do on a white stove-top.


  1. Susan,
    I have a natural gas range and I am a horribly messy cook. My grates are constantly covered in boiled over potatoes, soup, and you-name-it. Once a month or so I get out my bottle of ammonia and 2 gallon Ziploc bags. I put the removable pieces of the stove top, the grates, and about a 1/4 cup of ammonia in each bag overnight. The grime wipes off like butter in the morning. No laborious elbow grease required!

  2. Hey, I like that idea, Erin! I usually don't even try to keep grates clean, but that sounds like it would work well (and easily). I wonder if that could be adjusted for sealed burners, like by putting a puddle of ammonia on it, and then covering it with plastic wrap overnight???

  3. After nearly 30 years of sealed and unsealed burners on gas stoves, I am now cooking on an electric stove with a glass top and it's making me nuts! The thing takes forever to heat up, and then when it does, it gets too hot. It's been six months since we moved here, and I still don't have a handle on it. :(

    I miss my old sealed burner stove. It had awesome burner grates that I could just throw in the dishwasher. Hope you enjoy your black stove. You won't see the burned on stuff as much, that's for sure.

  4. Because I seem to get a lot of hits looking for info on cleaning sealed-top burners, here's what I've found based on Erin's advice:

    Pour ammonia onto the stove-top, high enough to "flood" the tray, but not high enough to get into the crack at the bottom of the burners -- maybe 1/8" deep or less? Let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Then go ahead and use a scrubby (even a green scrubby which is abrasive, but don't use anything like one of those wire-mesh scrubbies that are super-abrasive) and rub at the burned spill-overs. If you can keep in your mind that you're using the abrasive on the mess and not on the stovetop, it should be okay, especially with the huge puddle of ammonia as a lubricant. Once you've knocked loose some of the goo, let the ammonia sit and work for another 10-30 minutes, and then go at it with the scrubby again. Keep going till your fingers feel the smoothness of the stovetop at the bottom of the ammonia puddle (as opposed to the stickiness and bumpiness of the burned-on goo). Paper towel to absorb the ammonia. Couple o' good rinses with a wet washcloth. And, voila, a clean stovetop. (This is good to do when you've got plenty of other kitchen-work and you can be there and keep coming back to the scrubbing now and then. Otherwise, if you were doing other chores, it'd be too easy to forget about. And if you're doing only the stove-cleaning, the waiting time between scrubbing would drive you bonkers, and you'd try to hurry the job with more elbow-grease and too little time for the chemical to do its thing to loosen the grime.)