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My first grad school apartment came equipped with a gas stove. It was my first time cooking with gas and I'll admit it: I was afraid to mess with the cooktop area. All those loose pieces and open flames!

Eventually, I learned to love my gas stove. Gas cooktops are pretty harmless creatures and are usually very reliable. Burners that keep going out -- or that refuse to light at all -- are often simply clogged up with dirt.

To clean your gas stovetop's burners safely and quickly, follow these easy steps:

1. Make sure all four burners are turned off.

2. Disassemble the individual burner units. Most cooktops have four or five burners, each one consisting of four parts: a grate (the elevated surface that pots and pans rest on), a cap, a burner and a non-removable base. The grate, cap and burner should simply lift off each base piece, no tools required.

3. Wash each burner unit in hot soapy water, rinse and dry. Stick with plain old soap or dish detergent and water, since chemical cleansers could be flammable. While you're at it, might as well roll up your sleeves and scrub the grates and caps, too.

4. Use a pin, needle or straightened paper clip to clear gunk from the burner (flame) openings.
An old toothbrush might be useful as well. Lay the individual pieces out to air dry.

5. Reassemble the burners and switch each one on to ensure all systems are go. Lots of blue flame? Great. If not, check that the burners were repositioned correctly.

You'll notice there's a small hole in each of the four burner base pieces. These are called the electrodes and they are where the flames shoot out and connect with each burner unit (the parts you took off and washed). Be sure to match the electrode with the corresponding opening in the burner assembly or the flame will not ignite.

How to Keep Your Stovetop Clean

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  • kelly

    This is one of the most useful articles I have read in a long time. Two of my burners haven't worked properly for a long time. I always have to use a match to light them. I tried your suggestions and now they light properly. Thanks.

  • Doug Dodge

    We are both revealing our ages by our writings. My gas stove, which I clean frequently more or less by your recommended method, has nothing resembling an electrode. For lo! these many years the four burners, two broilers, built-in griddle and main oven have scraped by with eight pilot lights. Other than that, your advice was all I needed.

  • Sue

    I have one burner where the flame also comes out below the usual burner flame. How can I fix that?

  • 3 Comments / 1 Pages

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