How to Clean the Parts of Your Oven That Never Get Clean

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This is not an article on how to clean the inside of your oven. You can do that with the Self Clean feature or foaming oven cleaner and a sponge. This is an article about how to clean the parts of your oven that always seem to get dirty and are seemingly impossible to keep clean. The panel around your setting knobs. The top of your oven door and handle. The drawer underneath your oven and that lip that always seems covered in grime and crumbs. If these sound like the frustratingly always-dirty parts of your oven and range-top in the kitchen, this article is for you. Because keeping these areas clean is not just great for the look and feel and cleanliness of your oven. Keeping these areas clean is also better for stove and oven performance.

Cleaning Around and Behind the Knobs

  • Remove the Knobs
  • Soak the Knobs
  • Sponge-Scrub the Panel
  • Scrub the Knobs
  • Return the Knobs
  • Admire

If there is one area of a stove that is always dirty, it’s the knob panel. The knobs are usually just above or just below your burners. If they are on the panel above the burners, they pick up all the aerated grease and food that floats up from your pans. And may collect some dust from your spice rack above the oven panel, if you have one. If the knobs are below the burners, they still get greasy. But they also pick up debris from tiny bits of dropped food while you cook.

The best way to clean your oven knob panel is to remove the knobs. For most models, the knobs really just slip right off with a tug. If your knobs have started feeling sticky, it may take more effort to pull them off. Take a photo of your knobs before removing them if you’re worried about putting the right knob back in the right place.

Soak your knobs in a bowl of soapy water and take your sponge to the now-revealed panel. Don’t be afraid to see what has been crusting underneath the knobs. Wipe it away and then use a soapy sponge to scrub away what’s left. A spray-on stove cleaner or glass cleaner may help you break down the grease quickly.

When the panel is clean, scrub the knobs like you would hand-washed dishes or even run them through the dishwasher. Then put them back into place and enjoy a sparkling-clean oven knob panel. Until it’s time to clean it again. 

Cleaning the Drip Pans

  • Remove the Burners
  • Remove the Drip Pans
  • Soak the Drip Pans
  • Clean Your Empty Stove Surface
  • Scrub and Dry Drip Pans
  • Return the Pans and Burners

 The oven drip pans are those special dishes that sit beneath the burners of an electric or gas burner stove. As you might guess from the name, they are intended to catch drips of food and car before they fall onto the outer surface of your oven below. As a result of their purpose and the fact that they get very hot underneath the burners, drip pans are often covered in hard-baked-on food. Fortunately, this cleaning task is one you can tackle.

Start by removing the burners. They will pull right out of the sockets and can be set aside. If you want, you can soak and scrub your burners as well, just have a care about potential causes of rust. Now remove the drip pans which sit loosely beneath the burners. It will help if you open this task by soaking your drip pans for ten minutes or more in very hot soapy water. While your drip pans are soaking, take this opportunity to scrub the stove surface with no burners or pans in the way. Pay especially close attention to the rings left by the drip pans.

When the drip pans have been soaking for a while, use a scouring powder like a bar keeper’s friend or borax which will drastically improve your ability to scrape and scrub off the baked-on food. You may also try a degreaser or a touch of oven cleaner, as the baked-on effect of the drip pan is very similar to an oven.

Now you can dry everything and reassemble. Place the drip pans back in their holes and turn so the burner sockets are visible. Then fit each burner back into its socket and you’re done.

Cleaning the Top of the Oven Door

  • Crack the Oven
  • Remove the Towel
  • Scrub Down the Oven Top and Handle
  • Return the Towel

 The next trouble spot is the top of your oven door. Crumbs and grease and spills all wind up gathering in this one place. You can polish your oven door, but the top and topside of the handle seem to constantly get dirty. Fortunately, this process is even simpler than cleaning the knob panel.

Start by cracking your oven to the Broil position. This is where it stands open slightly ajar. If you have a kitchen towel that hangs on the oven handle, this can actually make the situation worse. Remove the towel and set it aside or throw it in the laundry.

Then take your soapy sponge and scrub away at the top of the oven door and handle. Be sure to get any grooves or corners where grime may be hiding. Then return the towel and close your oven. You’ll need to do this about once a week to stay on top of the problem. 

Cleaning the Drawer Beneath the Oven

  • Remove Everything
  • Pull it Out
  • Wipe it Down
  • Scrub the Gunk
  • Lay a Shelf Liner
  • Put Everything Back

Did you know that the drawer under the oven is actually for warming casseroles and baked goods? Few people do. In part, because the warming drawer underneath your oven tends to get pretty dirty with dropped crumbs and spills. Especially if you don’t clean it regularly.

To clean the drawer under your oven, start by removing everything. All the pots, pans, and cookie sheets that you keep down there. Then pull the drawer fully out until the rollers stop. If you have rollers.

Wipe down the inside and outside of the drawer. Stop to scrub anything sticky, greasy, or crusty until it is perfectly smooth. Spray with surface cleaner and use a paper towel to finish.

If the bottom of your drawer as peeling paint or rust, put down a shelf liner to resurface the bottom of the drawer. Then put everything back in and close up. Do this about once a month to control the grime buildup and keep your cookie sheets clean. Or even start using it as a warmer.

—For more maintenance and repair tips, check out our archive. And if you need a repair that you’re not confident about taking care of yourself, contact us today! Our team will be more than happy to help you with any appliance repairs you may need.

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