by Ellen Russell
Regular cleaning of your gas cook stove will keep it looking as good as the day you bought it, but you need to take care with the cleaning products you use on your gas stove or oven. Many commercial cleansers and abrasives will cause discoloration and can scratch gas stove and oven surfaces.
Before cleaning any gas stove or oven surface, be sure the unit is off and completely cooled. Steam burns can occur from wiping a hot surface with a wet cloth or sponge. Follow these guidelines for care and cleaning without damaging your gas stove or gas oven surfaces.Surface Burners and Burner Box Most newer gas stove models have sealed stove top burners. This means they are completely sealed off from the burner box (area of the stove top below the metal cook top). Sealed burners should never be removed by home owners - it's a job only for professionals during installation and service. Sealed burners also mean that food and spills cannot spill into the burner box, so removing the burners is not necessary in order to clean the stove top. If you have an older model stove with a lift-up cook top, follow your manufacturer's instructions for opening the surface for cleaning.Regular cleaning of spills will lessen your cleaning work load. Wipe your stove top after each use when it has cooled. Clean burners with dish soap and a plastic scouring pad. Stubborn cooked-on spills can be cleaned with a mild abrasive cleanser and a cloth, or make a paste from baking soda and water for a mild homemade alternative. Wash removable burner grates in a sink full of warm, soapy dishwater with a plastic scouring pad. Rinse all parts with warm clear water and dry.Be careful to avoid the gas ports on your burners. If they should become plugged with debris, poke the ports clean with a toothpick or straight pin, or brush gently with a soft-bristled brush. For pilot-less stoves, check the port and area below the igniter wire and clear it as well. Debris left under the igniter can keep the gas burner from lighting.Clean the solid cook top surface with soapy water. Avoid abrasives and harsh chemicals as they can damage the surface of stove top finishes like porcelain enamel. Rubbing alcohol and household ammonia diluted with water (1:1 ratio) are other good stove top cleansers that will leave your top shining.Controls Remove control knobs and wash them in warm, soapy water. For clocks and display areas, wipe with a damp cloth and dry. If you are cleaning the display with glass cleaner, spray it first on a cloth and not directly on the surface to avoid cleaner seeping inside the mechanisms. Replace controls after they are cleaned and turn each one on briefly to ensure proper replacement.Oven Door The oven door on nearly all ovens is removable for easier cleaning. Avoid soaking the door or window with excessive amounts of water; it can seep inside and caused staining or discoloration. Wash the door and window with soap and water and rinse with clear water. Use glass cleaner only if sprayed on a cloth first. Do not use abrasive pads, powdered cleaners, or steel wool on glass and enamel, or the surfaces will be scratched.Oven Interior Mild abrasive cleaners and plastic pads can be used inside the oven. Metal scouring pads will scratch the oven's surface. Commercial oven cleaners should be used according to manufacturer's instructions.Acidic spills (like tomato and milk bases) should be wiped up as soon as possible to prevent discoloration of the porcelain. To absorb a spill when it is hot, pour salt on it and wipe it up when the oven has cooled. A mildly abrasive baking soda and water paste can be used in the oven, too.Remove oven racks and clean them in warm, soapy water. Stubborn messes can be cleaned by using mild abrasive cleansers or a soap filled scouring pad. Rinse and dry the racks before returning them to the oven. For easier cleaning of oven racks, soak and wash them in the bathtub - they fit much better into a bath.Trim Spills and drips from fat, grease, and acidic foods like tomatoes should be wiped up immediately using a paper towel to keep your trim and finishes from discoloring.Metal trim can be cleaned with glass cleaners or mild cleansers, soap and water. Abrasives or cleaners made for oven interiors should not be used. Plastic trim pieces are best cleaned with a glass cleaner on a soft cloth. Any abrasives and harsh cleansers can cause pitting and discoloration to oven surfaces, and so should not be used.For a good, general, all-around cleaner for your gas stove and gas oven, use warm, soapy water. Avoid anything that is very caustic or abrasive. Baking soda and water pastes are good back-up, mild abrasives. When using commercial cleansers, read the manufacturer's directions to be sure it is safe for use on your stove's finishes. Consistent care and cleaning of your gas stove top and oven will keep your appliance shining and new looking.