The Unexpected Ingredient You Should Really Avoid Cleaning Gas Burners With

Gas burners take a lot of wear and tear and can easily get clogged with debris. Grease and oil splatters, food spills, dust, dirt, and other contaminants can settle on them and harden over time, creating a sticky residue. When that happens, they may heat your food unevenly or stop working altogether. A clogged burner could also ruin your cookware or, even worse, cause a fire, according to Electrolux.

Given these risks, clean your gas burners after each use to prevent grime buildup. Plus, fresh spills are easier to remove than stuck-on food. You'll also want to give your gas stove a deep clean once a week or so. A word of caution, though: never use water to remove tough stains, grease buildup, or other debris from the burner. "The igniters on your gas range are very sensitive to water," explained Laura Smith, the owner of All Star Cleaning Services, in an interview with Reader's Digest. "If they get wet, they will not turn off when the range is activated, and your range will click over and over again as the igniter keeps going off," she added. Luckily, there are plenty of other ways to clean your gas stove in a pinch. 

Why you should never clean your gas burners with water

Gas stove burners are typically made of steel, cast iron, or other metals. Therefore, cleaning them with water can lead to rust or corrosion in the long run, especially if you don't let them dry thoroughly. What's more, water alone may not be enough to remove stuck-on food and grease stains. On the contrary, it can make them spread further, causing a mess.

Additionally, some gas stoves use electronic ignition systems that allow the burners to spark when turned on. Water can enter the burner ports and damage these electrical parts, which may reduce their lifespan. On a similar note, you should never spray cleaning products onto the burners, warns Smith. The liquid can seep into the burner valves, leading to malfunctions. The best way to clean your gas stovetop is to remove the grates and burner caps, then soak them in soapy water for at least 20 minutes. Use a toothbrush to scrape off dried-on stains and grime, and let the burner caps dry before fitting them back in. Meanwhile, take out and clean the burners with a soft, dry cloth or non-scratch scour pads and a toothbrush (for tough stains). If there's debris inside the burner ports, push it out with a needle or paper clip to unclog them — and then put everything back in place.