Clean Stove Burner

I am in the market for a magic cleaning fairy. Hmm…..actually I would like to find an invisible, magic cleaning fairy. A true fairy is thinner than I am and probably more beautiful. Not sure I want to see that every day! What do I want this magical creature to clean? I’m most interested in having her clean the really nasty stuff that happens all the time. For example, I was making some mashed potatoes the other day. I wasn’t paying enough attention and the  potatoes boiled over making a huge mess. I had a lot going that night and forgot to wipe the burner with a damp cloth to minimize the cleanup later. When I finally got to the burner the next afternoon, I found “petrified potato remains” waiting for me. Yuck! Obviously no fairy came to the rescue, but I did find this pin, “The No Scrub Way to Clean Your Stove Burner” from Vivienne at The V Spot. Hmm….possibly the next best thing to the non-existent invisible fairy that never shows up.

The Magic way to Clean Stove Burners

This is how I cleaned my burners. Place the burner in a ziploc bag, add a small amount of ammonia. Seal the bag and let it sit overnight. Now let me share with you that I have this disease called “more is better”. If a little works well, then I tend to feel that more is better. Not the case here. It is the fumes from the ammonia, not the ammonia its self that is cleaning your burner. Use too much ammonia and it won’t work. I know this because I tried it and it failed. I recommend sitting your burner in the garage or on the back porch so the fumes won’t bother anyone. Wake up the next morning, put on a pair of rubber gloves, turn your face AWAY from the bag to avoid the fumes, open the bag and remove your burner. Discard ammonia and ziploc bag. Most if not all of the “petrified gunk” on your burner should wipe off easily. Some cases may require minimal scrubbing. Now, I hate to admit this but……  EXTREME cases (me) when your burners have SEVERAL layers of “petrified gunk” you may have to repeat the process more than once. Which I did and BAM! Second time around removed everything and guess what? I have shiny burners, go figure!

So a whopping…...This Pin ROCKS!

UPDATE: Learn how to use this ammonia no scrub cleaning method on your OVEN and BBQ GRILL!

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  1. My burners so need this. Don’t feel bad, my burners have petrified gunk on them too. (hanging my head in shame. lol) so, you’re not alone.

    • Glad to have another member in the “petrified gunk” club! So glad you stopped by :)

      • Hi Tracy, are your grates ceramic or cast iron? We have cast iron and I want to be sure it’s safe to use ammonia on them b/c we are renting. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for sharing! Looks like it worked beautifully ;)

  3. It really does work great. I was surprised because it is so easy.

  4. Cheryl C says:

    Thank you so much for this solution. I tried this the other day and it works great. So easy and pain free!

  5. I did this during the weekend and Oh My Goodness!!! It works fantastic and sadly we had forgotten that our burners were actually gray not black! Excellent – thank you!!

  6. Is it safe to dispose of the amonia in the regular trash or because it is toxic when mixed with other substances does it have to be disposed of in another way? Thanks!

    • Kathy,

      The best way to dispose ammonia is to dilute it with a large amount of water. I filled my zip loc back full of water, shook it gently to mix the water and ammonia and then poured it down my kitchen sink. I had the facet run while I emptied out the bag of water and ammonia just to be safe! Tracy (the middle child)

  7. hmm, I am intrigued, but I have long rectangular burners, don’t know how I would seal those into ziplocks. I guess I could try garbage bags…

    • Lisa,

      You are correct, garbage bags are your best bet. I would add increase the ammonia slightly. Remember it is not the ammonia itself that cleans the burners, it is the fumes from the ammonia. So, too much will not work! Good luck and enjoy your clean shiny burners!

      Tracy (the middle child)

    • did the trash bags work for you? trash bags didn’t work for me. I think I couldn’t seal them tightly enough. I bough XL ziploc bags that are meant for storage. Trying those after dinner tonight.

  8. I wonder if this work on the burner pans from an electric stove also? I don’t know that they are made as the material. Mine are so badly marked now from various cleaning attempts I’m thinking of getting new ones anyway, so I guess trying one can’t hurt!

    • Did it work? Moving out of my apartment and have to do a thorough cleaning before I move… including the electric stove…

      • Cathy,

        It worked great, it is now the only way I will clean my stove burners! Saved me so much time not having to “scrub” them clean. Good luck with your move! Tracy – The Middle Child

      • As I recall, new ones are pretty inexpensive and would save a lot of time. I would replace them if I were in your position.

  9. Cathy,

    I’m with you on this one. Since they are already scratched up, I would try this just to see how they turn out. Let us know how it goes!

    Tracy (the middle child)

  10. I wonder if u can soak then in a bucket in the garbage? Storage have won’t fit my nasty gross burners.

    • Yari,

      If you have large stove burners a hefty trash bag should work just fine. I think a garbage bucket will be too large. Good luck! Tracy (The Middle Child)

  11. This also works great for grill racks. Use a dark garbage bag with a little ammonia and add the grill racks. I allow it to sit in the sun all day and then just rinse off. Magic!

    • Lori,

      You are one step ahead of me! I’m planning on cleaning my BBQ grill racks next, great to hear that it works. Letting them sit in the sun is a great idea! Thanks for the tip. Tracy – The Middle Child

  12. what about a easy way to clean an electric oven?

  13. I wonder if this would work on BBQ grates? I’ve tried just about every can of cleaner I can find but there’s nothing that will remove all of it.

    • Ann,

      Funny that you mention cleaning BBQ grates. I have a post going up this week that will tell you all about it!

      Tracy – The Middle Child

      • Thanks so much! I’ll look forward to hearing about it. I have a Wolfe rangetop with griddle and grill but I’ve stopped using the grill because I can’t clean it sufficiently. I love the grill otherwise.

  14. I don’t understand. I tried this twice and it did not work. I am at a loss as to what to do. I hate these greasy things and I can’t find any replacements because I have an old stove. I doubt if they have ever been cleaned. The stove was given to me and I know I have tried several times with no success. I read this and thought it would work but IT DIDN’T.

    • Naomi,

      So sorry this did not work for you. If you want to try one more time, cut the amount of ammonia in half and see if that does the trick for you. Thanks for giving it a try! Tracy – The Middle Child

  15. Stephanie says:

    Can you do a 2-for-1 cleaning and put your burners in with the BBQ grates? Just curious. Both of mine are BAD right now!

    • Stephanie,

      I haven’t tried that yet! My suggestion would be to put only one burner in the first time to see how it works. Keep us posted on your results. ! Tracy – The Middle Child

  16. Shelley says:

    Mine are so petrified, I rarely even bother, and just live with the mess. This past weekend I TRIED to give them a cleaning, but not much came off. I am definitely going to give this a try and hope to get at least some of the petrified fossil-like remains off. Thanks so much for the tip!

  17. What if your burners are too big to go in a ziplock? I used a garbage bag once, nothing.

    • Lori,

      It could be because you didn’t seal the trash bag tightly enough. I used a trash bag with a strong rubber band on my BBQ Grill grates and it worked great. You could also try putting in more ammonia.

      Let me know if this helps! Tracy – (the Middle Sister)

  18. Can anyone clarify how much ammonia is a little like a tablespoon and 1/4 cup what exactly, I want this to work so want to be exact.

    • Hi Trista!

      Try using 1/4 cup, if you do not get the results you are looking for add another 1/8 of cup with your next try! Enjoy your clean stove burners, Tracy (the middle sister)

  19. Has anyone tried this on cast iron grates and did it work?

  20. Will this work on drip pans?

    • Hey Stephanie,

      This should work on drip pans. I would test it out on just one drip pan to see what results you get. Let us know how it turns out!

      Have a great day!

      Tracy (the middle sister)

  21. To take ALL the gunk off and do your removable stove top (if you have one) along with the grills/burners at the same time, do this: Get a large sturdy black trash bag. Put on rubber gloves (always with ammonia)! Grab a clothespin or twist tie, a large, sturdy black garbage bag to fit the stove top and your ammonia. Take these out to your yard in a sunny location–preferably in the morning. Best time to do this is when the temperature is over 65 degrees. Carefully slide the bag over the stove top without tearing. Lay the bag (with the oven parts inside just as they sit when on the oven–grills added) down on the grass. Sprinkle about a cup of ammonia around inside the bag on top of the grills/stove top. Twist the bag shut and clip with the clothespin or a twist tie. Let the bag stay all day. In the evening, take the oven parts out with gloved hands and lay on the grass. Pour the ammonia out of the bag and throw the bag away. Use your hose with or without a sprayer and spray the gunk off–it will literally float off. Rinse all over and dry. If there are a few spots on the grills, just slide them into hot sudsy water for 10 minutes and the rest should come off easily. Cleaning your stove top this way will keep it from becoming scratched by too much scrubbing!

    • Linda,

      I use this method for my BBQ grills as well, you are right it works wonders. Thanks for stopping by and sharing! Tracy – (the middle sister)

  22. I did the ammonia for my burner grates but only some of the gunk came off. I left the ziplock bags outside for about 12 hours but when I checked on them in the am, the bags have leaked. Maybe I put too much ammonia? I will try it again. By the way, did anyone notice any rusting after doing this??? I see a little rust on my grill grates.. Not sure if it was due to the ammonia..

    • Hi Elsie,

      Two things you can try, use stronger plastic bags, trash compactor bags are the strongest. Leave your burner grates in the bags for 24 hours instead of 12 hours. I have not heard of ammonia causing rust from this cleaning method. Is there any chance the rust was already there under the yucky gunk? Thanks for commenting and hope you have a great day. Tracy – (the middle sister)

  23. I just moved into a new house and the stove top needs some help. I’m not sure if the stove top is removable, can I wrap Saran wrap around the base of the burner and put some ammonia under it?

    • Linda,

      Without seeing or knowing exactly what type of stove you have it’s hard for me to answer. If you decide to give it a try, I would only test one burner and see how it goes. If you give it a try we would love to hear about your results. Thanks, Tracy (the middle sister)

  24. I’ve used the ammonia soak for years for my burners. I found the hint in an old Heloise book. I’ve never heard of ammonia causing damage to any metal. If your option is to get new grates, you have nothing to lose. You can try crumpled up aluminum foil to scrub BBQ grates, especially the wire-type ones. Simple, cheap, fast.

    • Hi Cheryl,

      Thanks for the tip about using crumpled up aluminum foil to scrub BBQ grates! My grates need to be cleaned again, if I have any leftover gunk after cleaning them with ammonia now I know how to get it off.
      So glad you follow us, keep your comments coming we love them! Tracy (the middle sister)

  25. This trick seems great and I’m going to try later today. But do you have any tricks for the actual stove top if it’s not removable? I’ve tried soft scrub which removes some of the build up but there always seems to be areas that just won’t come clean.

    • Teresa,

      You will love how well this works on your stove burners! I have yet to discover the best cleaning method for under the burners. One idea I have seen but not tried is to soak a paper towel in ammonia, lay it in the stove burner pan and cover over night with Saran Wrap. It it the same principle, the fumes from the ammonia soften up the gunk making it easier to remove. If you give this a try let us know how it works! Thanks for commenting! Tracy

  26. FYI–I’m old, so I remember the original Heloise. This hint was 1 of hers! But she added a bit more information to make things even better: use a black plastic trash bag and once you put the ammonia & the grates inside the bag, seal it and place it outside in the sunshine. Works like a charm!

    • Hi Julia,

      I’m a big fan of Heloise! Guess that make both of us old and wise! I use this same method for cleaning my BBQ grills, putting them in the sun really does help! Thanks for following us and leaving you comment, Tracy

  27. Thanks for the pingback! Tracy – The Middle Child


  29. Ameia,

    ZipLoc makes some heavy duty XL bags that should work just fine. You can find them at Target and Walmart, you could also use a large trash bag. Just make sure to seal it tightly with a rubber band. Look at my post about cleaning BBQ grills with ammonia, the trash bags worked like a charm! Thanks for following us! Tracy

  30. didn’t even thinking about securing the trash bag with a rubber band. Now I’ve spent $7 on XL ziploc. Oh well..hopefully well worth it ;)

  31. Hi Bobbie!

    How did the XL Ziploc bags work out for you? Tracy


  1. [...] though I had great success with cleaning my stove burners with ammonia, I was still skeptical about the oven because it was in such bad shape. I  couldn’t have [...]

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