Most homes do not have natural gas lines or gas stoves, but there are still millions of modern homes that do. In fact, it’s often a random roulette whether your next house, rented or purchased, will come with a gas stove. So if you find yourself with a gas stove and no idea how to take care of it, know that you’re not alone. This is a surprisingly common occurrence, and it’s totally normal to be unsure of how to clean or maintain the gas stove that is suddenly cooking all of your family meals.
Don’t worry, taking care of a gas burner stove is easier than it sounds.
Wipe Down Daily, Scrub Weekly, Deep Clean Monthly
Most likely, you already know the basics of keeping a home stove clean. Every day, you should wait until it’s cool (warm is actually ideal) and wipe it down with a mild cleaning solution. If there are spills or drips, try to get these wiped up immediately, when it’s safe to do so. This common approach will prevent some of your biggest messes and reduce the amount of scrubbing necessary later.
At least once a week, scrub the grate and the surface below so that not much grease is building up. Once a month (or at least twice a year) take your stove completely apart and soak/scrub every piece. You are probably already familiar with this procedure, so the rest is just window dressing. There are, however, a few helpful tips we can provide in how gas and electric stove maintenance differ.
Use Vinegar and Dish Soap as Your Cleaning Solutions
It’s highly recommended that you stick with vinegar and dish soap when cleaning your gas stove. Vinegar is a mild, non-toxic acid while dish soap is a medium-strength base. Together, they can dissolve almost anything that might have built up on your cooking grate or stove components. Stove cleaners and other, harsher, chemicals can potentially damage the gas elements, etch your stove, or add toxicity to your home unnecessarily. Use hot water combined with vinegar or dish soap for any stove cleaning task, except when the task specifically calls for something else.
Soak and Scrub the Grate Once a Month
The first special tip we have is for the cooking grate. Unlike electric stoves with individual burners the pans sit directly on, gas burners need a little space between the flame and the pan bottom. This means that most domestic and many commercial gas stoves have a large enameled grate over the stovetop instead of individual burner grates. Some gas burners have smaller individual grates, but this is less common.
If you have a gas stove with a grate (or multiple grates) then always start with a soak. Fill your sink with hot, soapy water and leave the grates in for up to forty minutes while you clean the rest of the stove. Flip the grates halfway through, because most stove grates are too big to soak in the sink all at once.
When the grates have soaked, use a scrubbing sponge and light abrasive powder to remove all that cooked-on grit that builds up over time.
Scrub Down the Surface
While the grates are off, take this opportunity to scrub the stove surface underneath. This is one of the most challenging tasks because it gets really dirty down there. Under the grate is essentially a giant drip-pan that catches all the spills and crumbs and flying grease that is produced when you cook. It’s important to clean this area regularly, or grease will build up and create the risk of a grease fire.
Start by spraying down the entire surface with vinegar or a mild foaming stove cleaner. Let it sit for up to five minutes, then wipe down the entire surface with a constantly rinsed sponge. You should be able to scoop up all the crumbs and pull out piles of partially liquified grease. When it’s smooth (but greasy) after the wipe-down, scrub with a soapy sponge. Don’t allow the sponge to leave much puddling, because you want to minimize water dripped into the stove itself.
When you’re done, do a round with a clean, rinsed sponge and then dry everything completely.
Keep the Burner Channels Clean
The most important tip about gas stoves is that the burner channels must remain clean. If you take off the burner cap and/or flip the burner upside-down, you will see a tiny maze of metal channels. These direct the natural gas from the valve underneath each burner into an even ring of flame under your pots and pans. But if these channels get clogged, gas won’t be able to distribute and your burners won’t cook evenly.
Do NOT clean your burner channels with a toothpick, kebab stick, or anything similar. There’s a risk of wood breaking off in there which causes its own unique host of problems. The only approved cleaning method for burner channels is a pipe cleaner or straw cleaner designed to clean out small metal channels without trouble.
Soak Burners and Burner Caps for Easy Cleaning
But the best way to keep your burner channels clean is to soak and scrub them regularly, along with the burner caps. Burners are best when soaked in both vinegar and soapy water, although not necessarily on the same day. If you want to break up the crud that’s at risk of clogging your burner, the approach is simple.
Remove the burner cap, and drop it into your soaking dish or sink. Then remove the burner underneath and drop it to soak as well. It should lift right off. Once the burner has soaked for 10-30 minutes, grab a toothbrush or a pipe cleaner and scrub out the channels. The burnt-on crud on the burner and the burner cap will easily scrub off with this method.
Never Pour Water Onto the Gas Stove
It can be tempting to try and soak the lower areas of your gas stove for easier cleaning as well. Don’t. Never pour water onto your gas cooktop because it can get into the burners, the gas lines, and potentially cause electrical problems as well. In fact, you shouldn’t be pouring water on electric stoves either, but you’d be surprised how many people try this to achieve a faster clean stove. If you need a flowing scrubbing agent, try the salt. Speaking of salt…
Use a Mild Scrubbing Agent for Cooked-On Crud
Our last piece of advice for maintaining your stove is to pick your favorite mild scrubbing agent. Gas stoves, more so than electric stoves, tend to accumulate burnt-on crud that has hard to scrub off. An abrasive powder is usually the best way to help it move along, but you also don’t want to etch the enamel on your stove and grate. Your three best options for mild scrubbing agents include borax, salt, and Barkeeper’s Friend. Do not use Comet, which was designed for bathrooms.