Experts serve up advice on caring for these kitchen appliances, which work extra hard during the holidays.
Joe Shiraz, co-founder of Maids Around Town in Austin, Texas, recommends starting your stove-cleaning project by removing burner trays and putting them in the sink with soapy water. Let them sit for 20 minutes, then rinse and scrub with a sponge to get rid of any remaining food and debris.
Before returning the trays to the burners, wipe down the stove-top using an appropriate cleanser. Marie Stegner, consumer health advocate for the Maid Brigade in Atlanta, says she likes to make her own cleaning solutions of hot water, vinegar and lemon. “I like to use hot water when I use vinegar or lemon to clean things because I feel like it works better,” she says.
Her method: Put a quarter-cup of vinegar, two cups of hot water and a drop of dish soap (she prefers Castile soap or Dawn) in a spray bottle. Next, Stegner sprinkles baking soda from a Parmesan cheese shaker on the surface to be cleaned. She then sprays on the vinegar solution and wipes or scrubs as necessary. This process should be mild enough to avoid scratching most surfaces; however, if you’re concerned it may be too abrasive, consider wiping with a damp microfiber cloth instead. Better safe than sorry.
Rack ’em Up
Next, it’s time to clean the interior racks of your oven. Remove the racks and place them in the sink to take their turn at soaking in the sudsy water. Shiraz suggests letting them soak for at least 20 minutes, if not longer. “This will loosen up the grease and caked-on dirt,” he says.
Afterward, use a sponge or dishwashing brush to scrub any remaining residue. “If the racks are ceramic, use a non-abrasive sponge,” he says.
For metal racks, Stegner uses a pumice stone on each bar. “It takes a while, but everything comes off,” she says.
Finally, rinse and dry.
While the racks are soaking, you can tackle the oven itself. To choose the right cleaning method, Shiraz advises beginning with the owner’s manual. “It can be kind of tricky,” he says, “because there are ceramic ovens and high-end ovens that have special cleaning instructions. I would advise homeowners to first check the manufacturer’s instructions.”