Photo: Shutterstock/Vitaliy Hrabar
If you’re the kitchen cleaner in your house, I’m sure at some point you’ve wondered how to clean burner grates on a gas stove. You know the drill. The dishes are done, the kids are in bed and the dozen or so bickering family members have left you in peace. All that’s left is to clean the countertops and…Oh, how did the stove get so disgusting?!
Unlike most surfaces, which can be cleaned using grapefruit juice or microfiber cloths, a stove’s burner grates are uniquely grating to clean. Grease and oils stick to the metal surface and, depending on your style of grate, it can be frustrating to clean all the little nooks and crannies. Luckily there are three tried-and-true methods that work all the time, every time.
Perhaps the most popular method is using ammonia. The fumes are excellent at picking away at a grating’s surface over the span of a few hours. Ammonia is highly volatile, meaning at room temperature its liquid form easily escapes into the air. You can use this to your advantage.
You can put your grates in a large resealable plastic bag, but this method is easier with a trash bag. Put all the grates in the bag and add 2 cups of ammonia. Seal the grates and ammonia together in the bag and make sure it’s tight. Ammonia’s volatility means the fumes can easily leak through small holes and stink up the house.
It’s important that the grates aren’t immersed in the ammonia. The gaseous fumes do the cleaning, which is why using a big bag is important.
Leave the bag alone for about 10 to 12 hours. When the fume-soak is complete, simply rinse the grates with water. Most of the gross grime will wash away easily. Get out your scrub pad for the last few stubborn spots, and you’re done.
One common kitchen assumption is that degreasers should work immediately. I know many friends and family members who protest that degreasers are ineffective. To clean burner grates on a gas stove effectively, you have to let the chemicals soak for a while. Just like browning beef before making a slow-cooked stew—a necessary step to complete the task.
Powder degreasers work better on burner grates if you wet the surface first. The degreaser will slowly decompose buildup on the grating. Let the degreaser sit for a minimum of 15 minutes, but feel free to let it sit for 30 if the buildup is heavy.
I don’t have a preference for any particular brand, but I have found that lemon oil degreasers tend to work better than other base types.
3. Baking Soda
Unlike vinegar, which should be used for lighter grease buildups, baking soda is able to do some real work on thick coats.
The process is simple. Clean off whatever you can with soap and warm water, gently scrubbing each grate one at a time. Then wet some baking soda with water and mix until it forms a thick paste.
Apply this paste directly to the burners. Make sure you get all the tiny and hidden recesses in the grating. Let the baking soda break down the grease on the surface for about 30 minutes. Afterward, scrub under warm water. As with other methods, you shouldn’t need much scrubbing unless the building is super thick. In that case, you might need to rinse and repeat the process. I’ve never had burner grates survive a second round.