How to clean your stove / cooking piano properly
The first rule when cleaning your stove, your French cooking suite or your kitchen piano is to wait. Turn off the gas and the controls, extinguish the pilot, remove containers and wait 5 – 10 minutes for everything to cool. Use this time to clean the floor, tables and work surfaces. You mustn’t start by cleaning the stovetop. The temperature beneath a pan is 900 degrees C. If cold water comes into contact with a heated burner cap, the finish will be destroyed. The result – a discoloured burner cap where the brass finish has worn away, and you can see the copper below. The flame then burns irregularly, so the burner cap is useless. So the rule is to wait!
Dismantle your stovetop in the following order: first, the stainless steel grates, wash them like your work surfaces. Next, set aside the burner cap – don’t put this into water as it will create a thermal shock and damage it. Then remove the stainless steel covers, clean in soapy water or use standard cleaning products. NB: be careful not to scratch the satin surface, or dirt will adhere more readily in the future. So to keep it gleaming, clean with light pressure and non-abrasive products.
At the base, you have the burners, which may be removable or fixed. Clean around them carefully to remove any deposits of food and grease.
Lastly, slide out the removable stainless steel drip tray, which protects the stove interior. The washing water collects here, so it’s the last thing to remove.
Grate and burners
Grates may be stainless steel or cast iron. However, 90% are stainless steel, as this material is light in weight, easy to maintain, and you can use standard cleaning materials.
- Cast iron grates – wash carefully in soapy water so as not to spoil the finish and dry thoroughly, or they will rust.
- Brass burner caps – Clean with a mixture of 200 ml water, 600 ml vinegar and 60 g bicarbonate of soda. Soak the burners in the solution, and they will be impeccable without any risk of damage. Use warm water to speed up the process. Never use wire wool or abrasives on brass burner caps, as you could damage the burner holes.
- Burners – two types, fixed and removable. Removable burners are usually nickel steel, so dry thoroughly as they may rust. Don’t put in water when hot as this causes a thermal shock and will damage them.
With fixed burners, the same principle applies, be very careful to leave no water inside.
Stainless steel fixed burners are a Copic innovation. Stainless steel will not rust, so these burners are easier to maintain and will last longer without deteriorating.
Never use a cleaning hose inside burners; you will fill them with water unnecessarily and risk damaging the burner tubes.
The leading cause of breakdown is improper cleaning of the thermocouple, especially using a cleaning hose. All thermocouples have a pilot and an electrode. The thermocouple is always hot, so it will undergo thermal shock and explode if you inundate it.
The second most likely cause is the pilot, which has tiny holes that are easily blocked if you get water in them.
So don’t use a cleaning hose and clean carefully, and you will have no problems!
Capic recommends using a fine nylon kitchen sponge for cleaning stainless steel and a slightly coarser one for stubborn marks.
For cleaning cast metal grills, nothing beats a bucket of water and elbow grease! A squeegee is handy for removing water from large steel surfaces, especially in hard water areas where a drop of water will leave a mark as it dries.
Capic’s special tip: a wire wool ball fixed to the end of a washing-up brush is handy for cleaning items while still hot.
Potholders are essential to protect the hands from burns.
Avoid using microfibre cloths on hot surfaces as they will melt.
Use the correct product for the element to be cleaned.
- Use a slightly acidic cleaner for brass burners.
- Clean stainless steel with standard products with a neutral pH.
- For cast metals, avoid products with chlorine.
Read all instruction labels carefully and use the products at the correct temperature. Pay attention to the dosage. Otherwise, you could find your burners completely ruined in just a few months.
Follow these basic rules to avoid mistakes that can prove expensive!
You can watch our tutorial “How to clean your stove / cooking piano properly” in French: