Although I love to cook for my family, I cannot stand cleaning my caked on stove top. Luckily, through a bit of trial and error, I have devised a way to clean my stove top extremely easily and in under 25 minutes.
When cleaning up messes at home became a full time job requirement, I did not know how to handle this caked on stove. Because I didn’t know any better, my technique involved dousing the hard black, impenetrable mess with a blue non-stick safe sponge and massive amounts of all-purpose cleaner. I spent lots of time spreading this stench around my house. It didn’t make a dent in the mess, and that toxic smell is not something that I want lingering about with my daughter around. I wasted further time with having to place a fan near the window to blow that cloud of chemicals away.
There had to be a better solution.
Now I give my stove top a one-two punch that cleans it in a fraction of the time.
WHAT YOU NEED:
Green Scouring Pad
Mild Abrasive Powder (I use Barkeeper’s Friend)
STEP-ONE: THE VINEGAR SOLUTION
You probably have a bottle of white vinegar in your pantry, a leftover relic from the last time you dyed Easter eggs. You might have tried it on a salad, and realized that it’s awful for eating with, so here it remains until Spring rolls around again. Not anymore, says I! The acidic nature and lack of toxicity makes it a perfect cleaner for homes with children.
Get it its own bottle! Even though you could reuse a commercial cleaner bottle, some of the fumes linger, kind of defeating the purpose. With a fresh bottle, you can label it and if you keep it purely as a vinegar solution, you have no worries if your little one gets their hands on it. Vinegar and water is fine, if you get distracted from cleaning by an urge to play Zelda for ten minutes and leave out the bottle. If you left out a bottle of commercial spray that could mean bad news, so keep that stuff in the hard to reach and off-limit areas.
These bottles will run you five to ten bucks for a really nice one, but sometimes five bucks can get you a pack of three.
The secret hidden formula is a 1:1 mix of white vinegar to water. My bottle has measurements printed on the side, so I fill it up halfway with vinegar and the rest with plain tap water.
Remove the grates
Spray a light mist of vinegar until wet.
After spraying, a little soaking time will do you good and make your job easier. Spend 10 minutes on something else while this soaks.
BONUS OTHER USES: Glass cleaner, table top cleaner, tough spot cleaning on linoleum floors.
If you don’t like the smell at first, you’ll get used to it. Just pretend that you work in a pickle factory (note to self, write a pickle recipe some time).
After 10 minutes, all you have to do is take your sponge or cleaning cloth and wipe it up. If you tackled this right away, it wouldn’t come up as easily.
(NOTE: of course, when you’re dealing with cleaning up from cracking eggs or handling raw chicken, reach for the stronger stuff. Better safe than worry, and vinegar isn’t strong enough to kill salmonella as far as I know)
STEP TWO: ELBOW GREASE PLUS AN ASSIST
Now for the harder part. To get to the deeper clean, we need something to overpower these burned on bits. You have help from a friend. Two friends.
I reach for a mild abrasive power cleaner. My current choice is Barkeeper’s Friend. You can buy this at Home Depot very cheaply, or on Amazon or a bit more. I get mine at Home Depot.
The powder works by microscopically breaking up the mess, like fine sandpaper out of a bottle.
If you want to err on the side of non-toxic, there are a couple alternatives.
A mix of Borax and salt in a 3:1 mix. Now Borax is toxic, but only mildly so. From what I’ve read, it’s as toxic as table salt. But it is an irritant, so be careful. Borax and BKF are also something I’d keep with the strong stuff.
If you want it to be even safer, create a mix of Baking Soda (not powder) and salt in a 3:1 mixture. It’s not as affective, but you can feel safer.
When handling Barkeeper’s Friend, always use gloves. Please. The first time that I used it, I didn’t follow the warnings. Nothing burned or anything. However, a couple of days later, the palms of my hands started peeling and felt as dry as an Egyptian mummy. Please protect your hands. I use either a dollar store glove pack or a yellow rubber pair, which will make you look like a 50’s housewife (the original stay-at-home heroes, am I right?)
Spray a bit of your vinegar solution to get the stove top wet
Liberally sprinkle the powder, especially on the dark areas
Get a green scouring pad. I buy Scotch brand in bulk. They are quite large, so I cut them down to comfy hand size
And scrub…and scrub. The kick butt combo of the abrasive and the scouring pad will break most of the crud away. The time that you spend depends on when you cleaned it last.
If it starts being ineffective, get more powder or switch pads.
This is my stove after about 10 minutes of scrubbing.
Pretty good, if I say so myself. Not Adrian Monk good, but good nonetheless. Some of the dark spots will stay, which I’m fine with.
To finish, I use a damp paper tower to clean up the residue. Then spray and rinse with H20.
In less time than a preschool TV show, you have cleaned up years of neglect. If you keep at it, it’ll be even easier. Who knows, if I had this technique when I first became a stay-at-home dad, the stove may have been spotless. I leaned my lesson. Plus I breath easier nowadays.
Do you guys have any other tips for stove-top cleaning? Leave your thoughts below in the comments.
Thanks for reading. I hope you find it helpful in your kitchen.