If you’re like most people, you use your oven every day, often multiple times a day. Keeping your oven in good working order is key. Regular oven maintenance isn’t difficult and can prevent problems from arising. Here are five simple things to maintain your stove and avoid repair costs.
1. Avoid Cleaning
That sounds counter-intuitive, but stay with me here. The best way to clean your stove top is to avoid having to do so. Use deep saucepans so that things won’t boil over. And use a saucepan larger than absolutely necessary. If you need to cover the saucepan, make sure it has a vent, or leave it partially off so steam can escape. Honestly, the choices you make about what pans to cook in make a real difference. In the oven, it’s wise to put a cookie sheet covered in foil on the bottom of the oven so that anything that bubbles over falls on that rather than the oven itself.
2. Clean Spills Right Away
No matter what, there will be some spills and oil from frying can go everywhere. If you wipe them off immediately with warm soapy water and a cloth, they don’t become encrusted obstacles that require intense scrubbing. Spills in the oven can be more problematic. You can’t clean them when the oven is still hot, and it’s easy to forget to do it after the oven cools. If you can remember to clean off any spills before you use the oven again, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier and it will also increase the amount of time between full oven cleanings. And most people forget that the oven racks need to be cleaned too. Doing that frequently makes a big difference.
3. Clean Stove Parts
Occasionally, it’s a good idea to clean the burner drip pans and knobs. If the owner’s manual says that they are dishwasher safe, use that. Otherwise, hot soapy water works just fine. If the drip pans become dingy, just replace them. You can get them in any hardware store and they’re cheap. If you have a ceramic stove top, make it a habit to clean it with the right cleaner. There are special ceramic cleansers out there, but dishwashing liquid and hot water, or a 50/50 solution of vinegar and hot water work great. Don’t use abrasives! They make tiny scratches on the surface and the next spill will cling to them. If your stove doesn’t have a sealed cooktop, lift it up and clean underneath. Food and grease tend to gather there and a 50/50 vinegar water solution can clean it easily.
4. Clean Your Oven
You should clean your oven at least twice a year, and if you use it a lot, you should clean it every couple of months. There’s a lot of debate about whether to use the self-cleaning setting on your oven. Self-cleaning ovens are designed to incinerate food debris by increasing the temperatures in the oven to 900º to 1000º. This takes a long time (from 2 to 4½ hours), and it creates a nasty odor and fumes that can be toxic. If you choose to use it, be sure to keep a window open, and don’t leave the house while the cleaning cycle is on. Alternatively, you could use hot, soapy water and a plastic scrub pad to clean your oven. Clean the window with a damp cloth dipped in baking soda. If it is really dingy, wipe the window with ammonia and let it stand for 30 minutes. Then scrape it off with a plastic tool. If you’re cleaning it frequently, it should never become a dreaded chore.
5. Avoid Electrical Issues
Never wash the burner element itself. That can cause a short and you could find yourself with a nonfunctional range. Also, don’t spray around the knobs; they lead to electrical controls and a squirt could cause a short. Instead, squirt a rag or paper towel and use that to wipe them down. If you have a traditional electric range, don’t wrap the drip pans in
aluminum foil. While that may make them easier to clean, the foil could cause the heating element to short circuit.
As you may have guessed, the key to maintaining your oven is keeping it clean. Make it part of your routine and you’ll avoid unnecessary repairs. The best kept oven can malfunction though, and when that happens, the experts at Dave’s Appliance are here to help.
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