With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s time to think about who will be cooking the turkey this year. And if turns out to be your turn, now is the perfect time to give your oven and stove a check-up and cleaning, both inside and out.
Cleaning Your Oven
Wipe up stray drips and spills in your oven as soon as possible (but when your oven is cool enough to be safe, of course!), since these little spots can smoke or catch fire the next time you turn the oven on. Pay particular attention to the front door window, since once a spill gets on the panel or glass, it can stain when heated. That said, only clean the window when both the oven is not in use and completely cool. Use a heavy-duty degreaser for baked-in spots.
Depending on how often you use it, your oven needs a total cleaning at least once, and as many as four times, per year.
Whether you’re cleaning your oven by hand or by engaging the unit’s self-cleaning feature, remove the racks first and soak them in the sink for 10 minutes or so if they are dirty. (Leaving the racks in the oven during a self-cleaning cycle can warp them.) With a regular kitchen sponge, scrub the racks until all their grease and muck is gone.
If you’re cleaning the inside by hand, be sure to unplug your oven first. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions for approved cleaners. Be sure to keep cleaning products away from the burners themselves, and remember that your oven is an electrical appliance, so be careful with water or other liquids.
If your oven has a self-cleaning feature, using it safely is a snap—so long as you’re following the manufacturer’s guidelines. If you no longer have your oven’s manufacturer guidelines, try searching for them online. Most ovens’ self-cleaning features heat the interior of the oven to a temperature so high that it incinerates food particles, so you want to be sure you can be home while you’re running the self-cleaning cycle, just for safety’s sake.
Cleaning Your Stove
When it comes to cleaning your stove, again start with manufacturer’s recommendations. Today’s stovetops are made in a variety of surfaces, and some of them have particular requirements for cleaning products.
For many stoves, you don’t need anything fancy: A light-duty, non-abrasive cleaner on a clean sponge or soft cloth will do the job. Be sure to apply the cleaner to the cloth rather than directly to the stove’s surface.
The control knobs on some stoves can be removed for cleaning, but again, remember your stove has electrical components that shouldn’t get wet. If knobs aren’t designed to come off for cleaning, don’t remove them! Some newer stoves have sophisticated electronics that can be damaged if you remove the knobs.
Prevention Is the Best Medicine
With both stoves and ovens, staying on top of the everyday spills will go a long way toward keeping your appliance in tip-top shape. If you wipe a spill as soon as it happens (or as soon as the appliance is cool enough to clean), you won’t need nearly as much elbow grease to keep it shiny.