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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cleaning Whirlpool Gas Range

We just had a client ask the question below and thought we would share it with you. It’s a little long but it might be useful to some of you.

If you are looking for answers to your cleaning questions, take a look at the Mrs. Clean forum.

Our Clients Cleaning Question

I live in an apartment and I have a white Whirlpool gas range. The stainless steel is not smooth it is abrasive like sandpaper and the porcelain covered grates and caps are very fragile and chip easily.

They are black and covered with burnt on oil and food from cooking. I am afraid to use more heavy duty cleaners as they can strip the porcelain right off of the metal grates. Help. I work hard to get a clean kitchen, I do have two small children who are curious and a dog. I do not want to use something possibly harmful to them.

Have I not found the right product? I have tried a lot of elbow grease and lots of products. I have tried soaking, steel wool, Brillo pads, green products, professional products, de-greasor, dish detergent, dishwashing liquid, plastic scrapers, vinegar, every thing I can think of to get it cleaned. I used to have a gas range before and had no problem with burnt on food?

I don't know what to do? This range seems to get way too hot and it has even warped the prefab cabinets that are right next to it when I made thanksgiving food last year. I looked up the manual, nothing on cleaning... I need this to be sparkling clean.

My mother is coming in a few weeks to visit, it's kind of lame to have it be so dirty looking when the rest of the kitchen is spotless, even my stainless steel sink and stainless steel teapot.

Our Reply

Our guest mentions the stainless steel is "abrasive like sandpaper". This could possibly be because it was scrubbed against the grain, which done continuously over time will damage it.

This may be possible to fix. Here are a couple methods to remove the scratches:

Scratches on Stainless Steel

There is a commercial product called Scratch B-Gone. It will work on scratches, stains, and rust. This is a scratch repair kit for stainless steel but it cannot be used on mirrored, polished, or clear coated stainless steel.

Very Fine Sandpaper

If the scratches are deep, you can try a very fine 600 grit sandpaper. You will also need to wet sand the surface. You would start by wet sanding and then follow up with a steel wool pad to polish.

Brushed Stainless Steel

If you have a brushed stainless steel finish (No 3 or No 4) these surfaces are hard to repair when they are scratched. There is also a "Hairline" finish for stainless steel that has a continuous long grain hairline finish which minor scratches can be fixed using a 80 or 120 grit sandpaper.

NOTE: Always remember with any abrasive product to go with the grain when scrubbing.

Stainless Steel Cleaning Products

There was no mention which method of cleaning was tried for stainless steel vs. the porcelain grates so we’ll start with the stainless steel. If some of the cleaning methods mentioned above were used on the stainless steel part of the stove and continually used over time, you may have caused damage and should call a professional.

Not all products labeled as stainless steel cleaner will work. Some may contain chlorides or acids that can cause stainless steel to corrode. You will want to stay away from cleaners that contain hydrochloric acid, muriatic acid, or chlorine bleach. These are Bad!

Some other stainless steel cleaning products contain abrasives that will scratch the finish and could eventually cause rusting or corrosion when used over time. Just because it may say Stainless Steel Cleaner does not mean it is appropriate for the job.

Check labels and even when you think you have found a product that won’t damage the stainless steel on your appliances; it is always a good idea to test something new in an inconspicuous spot first.

Stainless Steel Cleaning Tips

Here are a few tips that can help keep your stainless steel appliances looking great for a long time.
  • Clean all appliances right after using them.
  • Don’t use harsh abrasives to clean it such as comet or ajax.
  • Don’t use steel brushes on stainless steel surfaces.
  • Never use bleach or products containing bleach on stainless steel appliances. They could cause scratching and/or permanent damage to the surface.
  • Always clean in the direction of the polished finish (or the grain) to avoid scratches.
  • The best way to remove surface dirt and grime is to wipe the appliance down with hot water using a clean, lint-free cloth. Wipe with the grain first, then against the grain. While it’s unlikely you will scratch the surface by wiping against the grain, don’t use too much pressure and use a soft cloth. Don’t use paper towels or anything with a scratchy surface.

Stainless Steel Cleaning Recipe

Here is a cleaning recipe for stainless steel you can use daily and no need to rinse – just spray it on, wipe it down, then dry. Just mix the ingredients in a spray bottle.
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mineral or baby oil
  • 1 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 10 drops dish washing liquid
  • 2 cups warm water

When you’ve got all the ingredients together, shake the bottle vigorously prior to using. This will ensure the oils are evenly distributed. Spray it on and wipe it off with a clean dry soft towel. Tough smudges should come off easily with this recipe too! Harder smudging will come off easily if you buff with a microfiber or lint-free cleaning cloth using additional pressure.

Polishing and Scratches

Cerama Polisher and Conditioner is a commercial stainless steel conditioner that can hide scratches and polish to a beautiful shine.

If the scratches are not improved with the application of a homemade or commercial polisher or conditioner, you may have to have the surface refinished by a professional to remove the scratches completely.

Using baby oil to shine and repel smudging is easy. Add a few drops of baby oil to a soft cloth and completely wipe down the stainless steel. It’s important to use only a little bit, more is definitely not better here, just enough to spread a thin layer around.

Stovetop Cleaning

If the hot water alone does not remove grease, or it leaves streaking, add a few drops of mild detergent to a bucket or large mixing bowl of water. Only a few drops are needed to cut the grease, any more can cause it to “stick” to the stainless steel making it hard to remove the streaky or smudgy look. Add the detergent to the water and mix it up.

Cleaning Burnt on Food

Burnt food is hard to remove from any stove surface. With stainless steel you need to be just a bit more careful. Here is what you should do.
  • 1. Remove as much of the food as possible before it hardens then start with hot water and a lint-free cloth.
  • 2. If the food doesn’t come off easily, pour a little hot water on it to loosen it and let it sit a few minutes. You can also soak a rag with hot water and set it on the baked on food, rewetting occasionally.
  • 3. If it still won’t come off, make a paste of hot water and baking soda. Baking soda is abrasive so be sure to test this mixture on a hidden area of the stove before using it on a visible area. You don’t need to scrub hard, be gentle and only scrub the baked on food area so you don’t scratch the surrounding surface. Place the paste on the spill and wipe gently, making sure to wipe with the grain.

Porcelain Grate Cleaning

As a professional cleaning company we have found the only way to clean the porcelain grates is to put them in a bucket in a well ventilated area and spray them with oven cleaner and let sit per the manufacturer’s instructions. After a few hours any remaining debris that will come off – will come off with a green scrubby. Some porcelain grates will become permanently discolored (mine are) and you won’t be able to remove it all.

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