I only clean when I have to. I hate cleaning, and I need a strong motivator to get me going, like an impending visit from a college friend or the soul-crushing screech of my mom’s nagging. Considering that I dislike it so very hard, I’ve created a system of cleaning that gets things looking passable just about as fast as possible.
Cleaning the oven should be done in parts. Cleaning the inside is not only difficult, but also unnecessary in most “I have to clean” situations. The average house guest won’t see inside your oven, and even if they do, they probably won’t judge you too hard about it if the stove top is clean.
I usually only clean the surface area of the stove if someone’s coming over, but if I know they’ll be cooking in my kitchen, I begrudgingly accept that I actually have to clean those nasty drip pans that reside under my oven’s electric burners.
I once had a flat top stove. I can say with all certainty that this tutorial is not for you, flat top stove-havers. This also doesn’t apply too much to those with gas ovens.
Step 1: Get everything off the stove top
Whisk all the pots and pans out of sight. Tilt the burners up to release the pans and weird metal ring thing that the burner sits on. Brush the crumbs and weird burnt bits into the floor, to be swept up later.
Step 2: Enact the slow cleaning method
For burner pans that didn’t need too much attention, I let them go for a long soak. Just fill the sink up with hot water and squeeze in some dishwasher detergent. If you don’t have a dishwasher, dish soap should still help. Let them soak while you take care of the next steps.
Step 3: Enact the tough cleaning method
For the nastiest pans, sprinkle them with baking soda. Then, just like in grade school, pour some vinegar over and enjoy watching science do some cleaning for you. (You can also make a paste out of cream of tartar and vinegar for this purpose, but I don’t know anybody that just keeps that around.) Leave to sit for several minutes while you move on to step four.
Step 4: Clean the stove top
Dip your sponge in the detergent water and give the stove top a good scrub down. Around each burner, there’s probably a little circle of crud where the metal rings were. Take care of those first, then clean around the oven. Clean your sponge often. If you’re up to it, clean down in the stove beneath where the drip pans rest. If the top of your stove lifts up (it probably does,) this will make cleaning easier. Be mindful of the cords that power the burners—don’t get those wet. If the burners themselves are dirty, clean using only warm water and your determination to see those crispy burnt bits disappear.
Step 5: Scrub. Fo’ real.
Scrub the vinegar pan. Scrub it good. If there are weird splatters of grease, use a spoon to scratch those up, then scrub some more. Then scrub the detergent pans. Rinse everything really well, and let dry. Some of those pans won’t be clean enough. Re-clean if you’ve got the spirit.
Step 6: Reassemble the stove, and admire your handiwork.
Strike a Superman pose and feel proud that you’ve made your stove totes presentable. And then move on to the next thing you need to clean before someone shows up.