Why Can't I Keep the Stovetop Clean?

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With the changeover from summer to fall, my kitchen also changes from cooking absolutely anything that does not require the stove to everything that requires cooking for hours on the stove. Giant pots overflow with stock, soups, and stews that sizzle and burn on my white metal stovetop. By the weekend when we're ready to do a bit of cleaning, our poor little four burner rental stove looks like it doesn't know what hit it.

Tomato sauce, fried egg, mysterious crispy burnt on goo — you name it. Cleaning this monster is a task I loathe, even though I know I will hate it even more when I go to cook and it's messy. Why don't I learn to keep it clean, day by day then?

Working in a tiny galley kitchen the size of most people's closets, I find that just like a messy pile of dishes in the sink, a dirty stove is a major downer when I go to cook. How many times have I excitedly hauled home a stack of groceries, plopped them down on the countertop, and thought, "Ugh, maybe not"? It's the cleaning prior to the cooking that will almost definitely lead to even more cleaning that bogs us down in the kitchen. Is it possible that food tastes better when you've cooked it on a clean stove? I'm beginning to wonder.

After participating in this year's The Kitchn Cure, especially Day 4: Deep Clean, I've made an early New Year's resolution to keep that stove clean no matter what. I'm not just talking grease and grime, but all that burnt-on gunk of mysterious origin. If I keep it clean, it'll always be ready to handle anything. Just Clean It, I will be telling myself. Now, can I get that cross-stitched for hanging over the stove or something?

→ Want a great guide to cleaning a greasy stovetop with just soap and water? Check out Elizabeth's step-by-step.

Do you have any tips for keeping the stovetop clean?

(Image credits: Faith Durand)