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Oven, stove and cooker tops clean with ease
I call the appliance you cook on a 'cooker', and the part that you bake in an 'oven'. No doubt you will have many variations to those words, like hob, griddle, or stove . Whatever you call them they still get dirty. The top of your cooker or stove can be especially hard to deal with. One golden rule is to wipe your cooker after every use. You will find it easier while it is still warm. Always keep a thick cloth by your cooker for wiping as you work.
Cooker tops come in a variety of different forms and I will endeavor to address each of those. They are gas, electric, ceramic, and griddle.
Electric cooker tops.
There a three types of electric cooker top. Ring Element, Ceramic element and Ceramic top. I shall address each of them:.
Ring element. These stove tops are a nightmare to keep clean. They are usually 4 rings, constructed of electrical elements that heat up when electricity flows though them. Whenever I have owned one of these I seem to end up only using a couple of rings. Then when visitors come round and I want to use the all four rings they burst into clouds of smoke as soon as I turn them on. The reason that they smoke is due to grease splattering onto the unused rings when you are cooking on the other rings.
Another disaster is when something boils over and it all pours under the rings and into the drip tray below. What a mess.
Tips for ring element cookers. Prevent grease build up on unused rings by using a splatter guard over cooking pans. Cover unused elements with old foil pie containers to prevent splattering onto them. Place aluminum foil on the drip tray under the rings to catch any wayward spills or drips. This makes it much easier to clean too. See the bottom of this page for more general cooker top cleaning tips!
Ceramic element.These are a little easier to clean as they are constructed of ceramic discs that heat up. There is no drip tray as there is nowhere for spills to flow.
Tips for ceramic ring element tops. If you do have a spill, try and clean up before the cooker has gone cold. Soak a thick cloth in vinegar (Great for cutting through grease) and wipe clean. Unused rings will smoke when you turn them on. This is due to the build up of grease that has splattered onto them from other pots and pans whist cooking. To prevent this from happening use oil foil pie plates and place them upside down over unused rings whilst cooking. To spruce up the ceramic discs brush them with a wire brush and wipe away residue with a vinegar soaked cloth. See the bottom of this page for more general cooker top cleaning tips!
Ceramic tops. I love these. We have one and that says it all really. I do not know how they work and I do not really care. They are brilliant. Well worth the extra you pay when new, as they save you headaches for years. They are like a glass top, and that is it. Your rings are marked on the glass and the heat passes through the glass to your pan.
Tips for ceramic tops. If you have a spill you just wipe it clean. Try to clean up mess before it has cooled down as you will find it easier that way. A cloth soaked in vinegar will cut through any grease and leave the glass sparkling!
Gas cooker tops.
These generally have a drip tray beneath them that can be protected from spill with aluminum foil. It will make cleaning easier. If your burner does not seem to burn evenly it is probably due to blocked jets. When your cooker is cold remove the burners and clean out the jets with a straightened paper clip, pin or pipe cleaner. Do not use anything that can break off in the jets like toothpicks. Cleaning the rest of the top is similar to an electric cooker however see general tips below.
Griddle type cooker tops.
I have little experience with these. The same applies as to the above. Try to clean as much spills and drips while the cooker is still warm. Use baking soda for scrubbing and vinegar to cut through grease. See below for more general tips.
General oven top cleaning tips
Variations to my vinegar cleaning are;
This cleans cooker tops very well as it too cuts through grease. Make sure that appliance is off and cold due to fire risk
Ammonia diluted with water to half strength makes an excellent oven top cleaner. Again use when oven is off and cold to avoid nasty fumes.
Keep on top of the job.
Prevent grease build-up in your oven by frequently wiping it with vinegar.
Burnt on marks
For oven rings and drip bowls on the stove top with burned on spots such as grease, etc. Take the rings and bowls and place in a plastic bag and add 1/2 cup ammonia. Let sit 4 hours (or overnight for really burned on spots), and wash in soapy water and rinse. 99% of the spots will float right off with no scrubbing.
Another problem you may encounter with any flat cooker surface is if your pans become bowed. By that I mean not flat on their bottom. This will mean that the pan will not lay flat on the top and this will cause uneven cooking and wasted heat. You can check if your pan is bowed by using a ruler placed across the bottom of the pan. Personally I have only known light pan ware to bow out due to the heat expansion, however you may know different. You have two choices, buy new pans or do as I do and that is give them a tap with a wooden mallet.