May 28, 2013

From Greasy to Sparkling in 2 Easy Steps

My mom has always had a gas stove so it was obvious to me that when I had my own my house I would also have a gas stove.  My husband, Brad, on the other hand assumed we’d have an electric stove, as that’s what he grew up with.  It might seem like an odd conversation to have but when you’re getting married and moving in together for the first time, you have all sorts of strange conversations, “but I don’t know how to use an electric stove” I would tell him (in my whiniest voice.)  In the end it didn’t really matter what either of us wanted because for the first year of our marriage we lived in an apartment furnished with, you guessed it, an electric stove; I was forced to “learn to use it.”

What I learned was

  1. When you turn off the burner on an electric stove it isn’t immediately cool.  You have to remove the pan and then remember not to touch that area on the stovetop for fear of burning yourself.
  2. Cleaning an electric stove is as easy as wiping down a countertop since the surface is flat.

The electric stove had won me over.  This lazy girl would burn her hand a hundred times on a hot stovetop and still pick the easier cleanup.

After a year of apartment living, we’d had enough, enough loud music, stomping on the ceiling at 3:00 a.m., trash in the hallway, and the list goes on.  We were on the hunt for our very first house.  After numerous realtors and even more houses, we found it:  a two story white house with green shutters and a brick face, 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, full basement, living room, dining room and a kitchen complete with refrigerator and of course, a gas stove. 

I actually do love the gas stove but after 3 years of boil overs, oil splashing, and food spills the burner grates are pretty disgusting.  They have curves and crevices that are hard to get to and no matter what I try I just can’t seem to get them clean. I’ve soaked them and scrubbed them with every cleaner imaginable over the last 3 years but the grates still have black, burnt on debris that I can’t seem to get rid of.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is(n't)” 

When I found a two step method to making gas stove burners sparkling clean, that’s what I thought, “it’s too good to be true.”  However sometimes there comes a point when you’re willing to try almost anything even though you know in your heart “this will never work.” So off to the store I went, to pick up a bottle of ammonia.  Of course after I bought the ammonia I began to have second thoughts about what a waste of time this little experiment would be and left the unopened bottle sitting in my cupboard for about a month.  This past weekend I finally decided to give it a go, I mean it couldn't possibly make the problem any worse. 

I poured some ammonia into a gallon sized Ziplock bag, and put the most used, therefore most disgusting, stove burner into the bag with it.  I zipped the bag closed and placed it outside and then repeated with the second most disgusting burner.

I waited 24 hours, removed the burner from the ammonia filled bag (immediately zipped the bag closed again) and wiped it off with a warm wet washcloth.  I guess the old saying “if it sounds too good to be true…” doesn't apply here because the built up dirt and grime wiped away effortlessly, just as promised.

“But Jessica, if you already bought the ammonia why did you wait a month to try this, I  mean it’s two steps?” – I know this was SUPER easy and I honestly have no good reason to have put off this experiment for so long.


  • You only need about two tablespoons of ammonia.  It’s not the ammonia itself that cleans the burners but the fumes.
  • I put the Ziplock bags outside just incase the bag decided to spring a leak.  The ammonia smell is pretty strong even in small amounts.
  • The instructions I got said to let the burners sit for 24 hours.  I feel like I could have started this in the morning and cleaned the burners before bed though (more like 12 hours.)

Of course now I have this giant bottle of ammonia that I have no other uses for (yet).  

Do you know of any other awesome uses for ammonia?

Before and After

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