Here’s a recent exchange we had on our Facebook page:
Maura: I was wondering if you can tell me how to clean grease build up on my gas stove top. I have tried degreasers but still with no success. I even ran it in the dishwasher in the high heat wash and nada. so I was wondering if you can help me out with this and I will forever be grateful.
Clean My Space: Hi Maura, I’m going to post something on our blog about a few things you can try, this is a good question! Can you just clarify for me one thing: it is your gas stove top burners (like the iron grates) that you need to degrease? Thanks!
Maura: Hi there. Thanks for responding. Yes, its for the stove top burners including the iron gates and the burner base. the previous tenants obviously fried a lot of food and didn’t clean the base and the gates. It bothers me and I just need to get it cleaned. Please help. Thanks!
Okey Dokey. The issue is clear. Degreasing is what is going to solve Maura’s frustrations. I have two suggestions for her to try.
Use a Degreaser
Now you may think that Maura already stated she used a degreaser so why try again? Now I don’t know from Maura’s post if she actually let the product sit for a while or not which is why I’d be remiss not to recommend it. Huh?
You see, we are made to believe that powerful degreasers cut through grease and grime with one spray and one wipe (so says the commercials we see anyway) but that’s really not the case. Degreasers do work, but as the saying goes ‘knowing is half the battle’ and many of us just don’t know how to use a degreaser properly. What we are not overtly told (i.e. read the fine print if you dare), is that a degreaser needs to sit wet on a surface for a period of time before it actually works. Your grease and grime isn’t any different from your neighbour’s who claims the same product works for them. It comes down to the methodology of use!
Let me give you a comparison. Think about an onion; we don’t cut it open and toss it in a greased skilled for 30 seconds, stir it around a couple of times and expect to have beautifully caramelized onions. We know it’s a process, things need to happen and time needs to pass before we get our tasty onion reward. The same goes for a degreaser, it takes time and proper technique to effectively get the job done. So what does this look like? Well, if you have a particularly greasy stove top, be very generous, spray the area liberally and ensure it’s wet for the duration of the soak time. If you do notice it starts to dry up, grab that bottle and re-spray the area.
The heavier the build-up, the more time the product needs to physically deteriorate the bond the grease and carbonized chunks have with the surface. I recommend leaving it for at least 15 minute and don’t be shy, if you want to leave it on for 30 minutes go for it.
I know I have a habit of rambling, sorry, but I just want to make sure the degreaser situation has been clarified.
So having said that, my first recommendation would be to spray a degreaser on the grates and let them sit for at least 30 minutes, soaking wet, before scrubbing clean with a superfine steel wool pad (assuming the grates are enamelled or iron). Superfine steel wool or a non-scratching scrub sponge actually, either is fine. The key word here is non-scratching. If you don’t heed my warning you’ll see ‘spiderwebbing’, those very fine scratch marks that show up on surfaces from using an abrasive product.
If you want to use a store-bought degreaser the you can try any brand you fancy, I know the brands with citrus additives (i.e. orange or lemon oils) are the ones that I find to be particularly good with degreasing. I’ve heard brands like Soft Scrub, Bam, Dawn and even some generic brand degreasers work.
Full disclosure, I don’t like using ammonia because I feel like anything that comes with a health warning isn’t a good option for a recovering hypochondriac like me (‘OMG it touched me, is my arm going to burn? Will it get into my blood stream via osmosis? What if I inhale it, will it burn my lungs? etc.). But I can’t argue the fact that it does work. So if you are mentally braver than I, here’s what to do.
Firstly, you’ll need an outdoor space like a balcony or a garage. With grates and burner covers in hand, take a garbage bag and place them in the garbage bag. We are using the garbage bag to contain the smell of the ammonia. Pour a half cup of ammonia into the bag and tie it up (to keep the fumes in). It’s those fumes that somehow magically loosen the grease, so let them do their thing. Leave it be overnight and then next morning give them a good rinse under cool water (wear rubber gloves when handling for protection) and towel dry. They should come out nice and clean. Dispose of the bag safely. Keep in mind that anyone who is chemically sensitive or pregnant shouldn’t inhale ammonia (I’m sure there are other warnings too).
While the grates are soaking in the ammonia bag, attack your stove top with a non-scratching sponge and some cleaner. In terms of what to use, it depends on just how greasy the surface is. For a moderately dirty stove top, you can make your own paste using baking soda and water (a 50/50 mix) and scrubclean or you can try Barkeeper’s Friend (something I have yet to try but keep hearing wonderful things about). For something greasier, find a good degreaser and treat the area per the method above. You’ll need to invest some elbow grease in getting the dirt off, but if you use the right product and tool your job will be easier and you will get the results you are looking for.
Give your stove top a final polish, put it all back together again and voila, your stove top will look awesome.
So, give these a whirl and let us know what happens!
Have you tried either of these methods? Which has worked? What are your secrets for getting your gas grates and burner covers clean?