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Stoves - Hints and tips for cleaning your stove

Clean gas burner with a pin. If a hole in one of the burners on your gas stove is clogged, turn it off and poke a straight pin into the clog. You can also try a pipe cleaner to clean the hole, but never use a toothpick since it could break off inside the burner.

Don't peek for better baking. Be patient when cooking food and keep your oven door closed. Every time you open it to check your food, the oven temperature drops about 50 degrees. That adds up to extra minutes in cooking time and extra dollars in energy bills. So wait until you really think the food is done to peek in.

Release grease from oven fans. That disgusting, greasy build-up on the fan filter above your oven isn't hard to clean. All you need to do is take the filter out, put it on the top rack of your dish-washer, and run it through a full wash cycle.

Fight kitchen grease. White vinegar is a safe, economical cleaner for cutting the grease build-up on your stove top. It also prevents grease from building up on the inside of your oven. Just wipe down your oven walls with a cloth dipped in water and vinegar.

Encourage finicky oven racks. Grease and grit can build up on your oven racks, and this causes trouble sliding the racks in and out. Clean the racks by rubbing their edges and guides with a soap-filled steel wool pad. For extra slide, grease the edges with vegetable oil after they've dried.

Give oven cleaning a head start. Cleaning your oven doesn't have to be a time-consuming chore. Just set your oven at 250 degrees. After five minutes, turn it off and put a small, glass bowl of ammonia on the top shelf. On the bottom shelf, put a large pan and fill it with boiling water. Close the oven door and let it stay overnight. By morning, cleaning your oven should be a cinch. But remember - don't use this tip if you have a continuous-clean oven.

Steer clear of oven spills. The best way to clean oven spills is to prevent them in the first place. Always use a casserole dish or roaster big enough for the food you're cooking. And, just in case, put a cookie sheet or drip pan underneath to catch those messy spills.

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