We’ve said it countless of times already – kitchen is the heart of your home, and for that reason we put so much determination in designing it to be a real gem of your house.
However, modern appliances, stylish cabinetry and gorgeous decorations are not enough – you have to think about the maintenance of your kitchen. Think about it this way – no matter how fabulous your kitchen is, if you don’t take proper care of it, it’s not going to make much of impression on your guests, right? And impressing your guests is only half of the story, what about you? Will you be able to be really happy and enjoy the kitchen when it gets all dirty and messy? I think not.
When cleaning the kitchen, people seem to have the most trouble with cleaning their range zone. Nothing to be surprised about here, since it’s the zone when the majority of your cooking is happening, and thus that’s where all the oily substances and odors will gather.
That’s what this article will be all about – the ways of cleaning your range zone. It’s not as easy as it might seem, so if you want to make the life in your stylish kitchen as pleasant as it should be, better focus and read on.
Step 1: Clean the stove
As your stove, because of its shape, is the hardest kitchen appliance to be cleaned, it’s best that we start with it to get the hardest part out of our way. However, to be able to efficiently clean your stove, it’s best to divide the work into a few stages, and work on each stage in this particular order:
- Burner trays – start your work by removing the burner trays, and putting them into the sink. Fill the sink with soapy water, and leave them inside for about 20-30 minutes, to soften the burned and hardened dirt covering them. After the time has passed, take them out of the water, rinse and scrub off any remaining pieces of burned food. For now, don’t put them back on your stove, just leave on a towel so they can fully dry up.
- Stove-top – now that the burner trays have been taken off, it’s time to clean your stove top. Start with wiping it with a cleaning agent, that’s appropriate for the material from which your stove-top was crafted. Alternatively, you can try to make your own cleaning solution – some people say such home-made agents work best. One mixture we could advise is a combination of hot water, lemon, and vinegar – you’ll be surprised how effective it can be. If you would like to see other combinations that people came up with, look it up online.
- Rust stains – if you happen to have any nasty rust stains covering your stove-top, it’s best to use some cream of tartar mixed with water. Wipe it gently with circular moves, and it should come off just fine.
Whatever kind of the cleaning agents it is that you will be using, remember not to scrub the stove-top too hard, to avoid scratching the surface. If you’re worried that you might cause some damage by using an ordinary towel, it’s best that you buy one made from microfibre cloth. Such a towel shouldn’t leave any scratches, so it’s always a worthy investment.
Step 2: Clean the oven
It’s very important to use the correct method of cleaning when approaching your oven. There are quite a few types of ovens out there, ranging from the ordinary ones, through the ceramic ovens, and high-end ovens that require special cleaning measures to not get damaged. Because of that, it’s best that you ask your oven manufacturer about a safe cleaning agent for your specific type of oven, or look it up online.
- Interior racks of the oven – now that your stove-top is clean, it’s time for the oven racks. Take them out of the oven, and just as we did with the burner trays, put them in the soapy water in the sink. If the water you used for the trays is too dirty, it’s better to dispose of it and refill the sink. Again, leave them in the water for at least 20 minutes, to loosen up the grease and whatever else that might be covering the racks. When the time has passed, take them out and use either a sponge, if you consider them not to be all that dirty, or a dishwashing brush in the case of sturdy, hard residue. One thing to remember is, if you’re using ceramic racks, it might be best that you use a softer, non-abrasive sponge, to avoid damaging the racks. If your racks are made from metal, however, you can even use pumice stone – get’s the job done, and you don’t have to worry much about the safety of your racks. After you’re done with all that, rinse and dry them. To let them soak up, leave them near your burner trays – with them out of the way, it’s time to clean your oven.
- Crumbs – let’s start cleaning the inside of your oven with cleaning all the crumbs that might have been left inside after baking bread or preparing a pizza. It’s best to use a vacuum with a hose and nozzle, but if you don’t have one of these, another way of getting the crumbs out of your oven is to wipe them out with a sponge. Just make sure it’s a soft, non-abrasive one. Use a garbage can or a dustpan, to wipe all the crumbs into, to not have to clean the floor after you’re done with the oven itself.
- Oven – now that we’re done with the crumbs, it’s time to clean the interior of the oven with a cleaner. You can either use a commercial cleaner, in which case you should check out the instruction attached on paper or printed on the can, for the safety measures and way of application, or just use ammonia. If the home-made solution is what you’d prefer to use when cleaning your oven, then simply take two cups of ammonia, then use a sponge to clean the insides of your oven. Scrub the areas covered with baked-on food, but be careful not to cause any damage or scratches. Leave the oven with the ammonia alone for about 30 minutes. After the time has passed, wipe the ammonia out with water – it’s very important, or else your oven might smell like ammonia when you use it. Afterward, wipe out the remaining water and ammonia with a dry sponge or a towel.
- If that’s not enough – if you consider your oven to be too dirty for this simple procedure to be enough, it might require additional measures. In that case, before applying the ammonia and scrubbing, sprinkle the interior of your oven with baking soda. After you apply ammonia, this combination will create a paste. From now on, proceed as you did previously, just take care not to scrub too hard, as the paste is denser than the ammonia alone. To be perfectly sure you won’t have any trouble cleaning your oven, you might also add some vinegar to the aforementioned mixture. Some people say this is the ultimate combination for cleaning your oven, but honestly, for me, the combination of baking soda and ammonia always did the job right. However, if that’s not enough for you, people claim that adding vinegar helps – so maybe it will work for you too?
- Oven windows – this is a tricky one, as this is the area where we should avoid any scratches at all cost. Some scratches inside of your oven are not the end of the world, but when we’re talking about the windows, they are. However, if you’re using the home-made mixture of the baking soda, ammonia or even vinegar, there is nothing you should be afraid of. While we can’t be sure what kind of commercial mixture you bought, if that’s what you did, and what kind of effect will it have on your windows, we can guarantee you that our combination won’t harm your oven windows. Again, just sprinkle some baking soda or ammonia, or the combination of these two, on your oven window, and gently wipe it with a soft sponge. Just use common sense and don’t scrub too hard, not to scratch it, but then again, your window shouldn’t be covered in any kind of impressive debris. By the way, plenty of people are worried about the dirty, cloudy inside of their oven windows, not knowing you’re actually able to take off the door. Without doing so, it certainly is hard to properly clean it, but after you unscrew the door and take it off, it becomes so much easier. While we’re on the subject of your oven windows, some of the oven types have windows that actually consist of two separate pieces of glass, with a free space between them. When using your oven, there is a possibility that some fumes got inside and left dirty stains on your oven window. Again, also, such types of windows can be detached and unscrewed to gain access to each of the glass.
- Oven knobs – another element of your oven that people don’t know can be detached, are the oven knobs. In most modern ovens, you have the option to detach them, by pulling them hard enough – make sure you read the user’s manual before trying, not to cause any damage to your oven. If your oven knobs are indeed detachable, wipe the area beneath them with a sponge – you can gently sprinkle it with some soapy water for better results. When detaching your oven knobs, pay special care not to turn your gas on!
- Oven hinges – one final thing to clean are your oven hinges. People often neglect cleaning these, but that can really hinder the aesthetics of your oven – if we’re already cleaning the oven, why leave something unattended? To clean your oven hinges effectively, I suggest using an old toothbrush. Cover it with some ammonia or baking soda, and scrub the oven hinges till they recover the shiny, pretty look.
Step 3: Clean the range hood
Of course, cleaning your oven is where the majority of hard work lies, but it’s just as important to properly take care of you range hood. Granted, it’s not all that complicated, but it’s always good to cover all your bases.
The outside of your range shouldn’t be all that dirty, but certainly it can be covered in grease after all the cooking. Because of that, either cover a soft sponge with a commercial cleaning agent or with the mixture we described before and clean the outer side with circular moves. After that’s done, rinse it and then wipe dry.
Next, take care of the metal crate that’s usually installed in your range over the cooktop. In most types of ranges, you can unscrew this net. If you’ve got the option to do that, place the net in your sink just as you did with the burner trays and leave it in a soapy water for at least 30 minutes.
After you take it out, scrub it with a strong sponge or a dishwashing brush. Now is the time to rinse it and wipe off the remaining water. Make sure it’s really dry before installing it back on.
Step 4: Preventive measures
Now that we’re done with cleaning your oven, it might be a good idea to think about preventive measures, so your oven doesn’t get as dirty in the future. If you ask me, keeping some parchment paper on the bottom of my oven works wonders. This way, I’m not longer afraid of grease spills and drips.
This sums up my guide to maintaining and cleaning an oven. Hope you found my tips helpful. Again, as I said before, remember that properly maintaining your kitchen, and keeping it clean at all times, is even more important than the way it is designed. After all, who will appreciate a kitchen that’s all dirty and smelly?