|Posted on September 11, 2015 at 10:25 AM|
If you are like me, you love to bake things around the holidays. It is one of my favorite things to do this time of year! I like to bake everything from pies, cookies, candies and cakes to the holiday meals with all of the fixings. I love to include my two girls in this adventure. It is so fun to gather in the kitchen and pass along all of those family recipes and traditions that I made with my mom and sisters.
Hosting these fun activities in my kitchen means that my Range becomes very... Well, lets say messy! Stuff boils over on top and in the oven, things get spilled everywhere. My range becomes so... well used... that every time I turn it on you can smell the stuff from last time burning even more. Plus, whatever we are baking or cooking now just adds to the mess. By the end of our adventures in Holiday Baking we normally have set the smoke detectors off, at least once!
Of coarse the top gets "wiped off" every time when we are done, removing the loose debris. But it does not get cleaned all the way. The inside of the oven seems to get forgotten until I turn the oven on to bake something else and smell it burning the last creation's mess off. Not to mention the sides of the range that are unseen and never thought about. You know, the little crack between your range and your counter that seems to collect EVERYTHING and never gets cleaned! That is the one! Probably the nastiest spot in any kitchen!
Well, I am here today to give you a few tips for getting your range back into tip top shape after the holidays. I always like to wait until after Christmas to do this cleaning. Simply because we generally continue to bake, cook and create all the way through Christmas Day and sometimes through the New Year Holiday as well.
The fun and exciting activities have now ended. It is time to roll up your sleeves, put on your yellow "I'm getting down to business" scrubbing gloves and jump right it!
Lets start with the oven part of your range. My first rule when it comes to cleaning your oven is NEVER run your self-clean feature longer than an hour. Although your range gives you the option to run it for longer, I DO NOT recommend it! Some ranges do not offer the 1 hour cycle. If that is the case, after an hour simply cancel the self-clean and it will turn it off. The reason I do not recommend running the self-clean for longer than an hour is because it makes the oven get very, very hot. All of that hot air vents out of your oven directly below your control board! In turn, you run a very high probability of literally melting your control board. Now, unless you are trying to con your husband into getting you a new range, melting your control board is not a good idea. They are generally very expensive to replace and in some cases the control board may not be available as a replacement part. So, like I said, only run your self-clean feature for an hour. Then turn the unit off, allow it to cool, wipe the unit out and repeat if necessary.
My personal method for cleaning the oven is to run my self-clean for an hour. Let the unit cool completely. Then wipe it out using just water and a damp cloth. Now, instead of running another self-clean cycle I like using baking soda and vinegar to get it good and clean. This method is efficient and does not involve the use of the harsh chemicals found in oven cleaners. So, following the self-clean and wiping out of the unit, I sprinkle Baking Soda in my oven (if you have a gas range be careful not to get it down the slots where the oven ignition is). Get it on the door and on the bottom of the oven, it is my opinion you cannot use too much. So sprinkle away! Next, take your handy spray bottle full of white vinegar and start spritzing the baking soda to make it begin to bubble. Get it good! Let it sit for a while and work, maybe 30 min to an hour. Then, using a scrubber, steel wool or an SOS pad begin to scrub in small circles to remove the build up. If the build up is bad you can always let it sit for a while longer, re spritzing it as needed to keep it bubbling. To clean the sides of the oven simply put some baking soda on your scrubbing utensil and spritz it with the vinegar and begin to scrub the sides, spritz the sides with more vinegar as needed. Then when you are all done, use plain water and a damp cloth to begin wiping the unit out. Get it good and wiped out and it will be sparkling and ready to be baked in again. For tougher jobs (like boiled over Strawberry Rhubarb Pie that has been baked on since Thanksgiving) you may need to repeat this step.
When it comes to oven racks, don't submerge them in your sink. Just give them a wipe down with your damp cloth and they should be good.
Now, lets move on to the top of your range. I use a very similar method, okay it's pretty much identical to the oven method. Sprinkle with Baking Soda, spritz with Vinegar and scrub well. Wipe it down really good with clean water and it is back to the nice shiny top you had before you began your holiday baking! Again, if you have a gas range, be careful not to get the baking soda and vinegar into the spark modules and rivets for the gas to flow through. If you have a coil top range, the type of range with burner bowls, the baking soda and vinegar does an amazing job of cleaning the bowls out without ruining the finish like most harsh cleaners. Also, if it is simply time to replace the burner bowls you can order them online by clicking here. Simply enter your model number and get new, quality replacement bowls.
Don't forget about that little drawer on the bottom of the range. I keep my cookie sheets down there. Sometimes when I pull out the drawer and find a mysterious french fry down in there or a piece of sausage off of a pizza. Therefore, I take the opportunity to give it a quick clean. I vacuum it out then wipe it down with clean water. This is the simplest part of cleaning the range so why not hit it up while you are already doing the rest?
Don't stop there... We are almost done!
Prior to being the "Appliance Master's Wife" I would have NEVER thought about cleaning the sides of my range. Out of sight, out of mind... Right?!? If you have not done this before, please proceed with caution. I have seen ranges that come out of the nicest, cleanest homes that make me want to vomit from seeing the sides. It can be quite disgusting and you will be shocked at what you see! Just a warning. Needless to say, the sides of your range should be cleaned as well. Even though you and your company never see it, if you decide to upgrade your kitchen and try to sell your range you will regret not having taken the time to clean it on a regular basis. Not to mention the embarrassment of having the Appliance Repair Man out to fix your range and him sliding it out to find a disgusting, smelly mess on the sides. So, don't forget to clean down the sides of your range. Carefully, slide your range forward and give the sides a good cleaning. Again, I like to use baking soda and vinegar. I put some baking soda on my scrubber, spritz it with vinegar and scrub away! I would not recommend steel wool or SOS pads on the sides as you don't want to ruin the paint. After scrubbing it down, give it a good wipe down with clean water. Your repair man with Thank You! :-)
Don't push it back into place yet. There is one more minor thing to take care of....
Prior to pushing your range back into place, it is a good time to clean the floor under the unit and the wall behind the unit. I will leave the cleaning technique up to you, but don't just think to yourself 'oh, I'll do it later.' We both know that will not happen! Also, keeping the floor under and around your range clean can prevent rodent activity under and behind your range. This is also a good time to check for evidence of mice and clean up any droppings you may find. Again, Your Appliance Repair Man will Thank You!
Now that your range is clean from top to bottom and inside and out, you can push your range back into its designated spot and carry on with your normal baking regiment!
I hope you have found this useful. Enjoy your Holiday Baking! Most of All, from my family to yours I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year!