Sunday, June 2, 2013

Stovetop Shame

I did a lot of cooking this week, but I didn't do a lot of cleaning.  I finally decided to clean my kitchen today, and I was disgusted by what I saw on my stove top.  You're going to be disgusted too.  Only proceed to the pictures below if you have a strong stomach and are feeling non-judgmental:

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWW!!!  I KNOW, okay?  I KNOW.  It's gross.  I shouldn't have let it get that bad.  I deserve to have my wife card taken away.  I deserve to be the star of a new reality show called "The Health Department Condemned My Apartment."  I know.   I'm sorry.  My range has always been kind of stained and yucky looking, but never this bad.  It needed an extreme makeover - range edition.

The bright side of this all is that I figured I could get a good blog post out of it.  I decided to clean my stove top fifties style.  After all, my fifties foremothers were the queens of clean - surely they could reform a hopeless slob such as myself?  I'd already tried sticking those silver thingies in the dishwasher, but that didn't really do anything.  I tried scrubbing with soap and water, but the stains were stubborn.  It was time to call in the big guns: my fifties housewife books.

I looked in the index and found an entry called "range; how to clean."  Page 71.  Perfect.  I turned to page 71, and here's what it said:

"Two ounces plus of prevention: Learn how to keep foods from boiling over and burning.  Here are some how-to-cook suggestions that will help keep your pans gleaming and your range clean."

Thanks a lot, book.  Clearly since I'm looking up how to clean my range, I've already failed at all of your preventative techniques.  I skipped ahead a few paragraphs to get to the next part.

"Cool range before cleaning."

No DUH.  I'm pretty domestically defunct, but even I knew that.

"Wipe with cloth rung out of suds; dry.  For stubborn spots, sprinkle on a little household cleaner; rub lightly with damp cloth.  Rinse.  To clean and wax, pour a little kitchen wax onto damp cloth; wipe cloth over surface of the range."

I'm sorry........wax my range?  What?!  I called over to Rex, "Hey, this book says I'm supposed to wax the stove top.  Have you heard of that before?"  He responded, "Is that sort of like waxing your legs?  You put on the wax and it pulls up all of the dirt?"  I replied, "No...I think it's more like waxing a car.  You know, to make it shiny."

Clearly we don't know about the waxing thing.  I skipped it. (Side note:  if you know what this means, please comment.  I'm curious).

The paragraph before was the one that intrigued me.  It said that for stubborn stains, I needed to rub a little bit of "household cleaner" on it.  What kind of cleaner, exactly, am I supposed to use?  Did they not have multiple types cleaners in the fifties?  Was there just a catch-all "this cleans everything" cleaner?  If so, WHERE CAN I GET A BOTTLE OF THAT?!

I'm hopeless in the household cleaner aisle.  I didn't know what to get.  I knew it wasn't Windex...I knew it wasn't toilet cleaner...I knew it wasn't Pledge...  I decided to use a lifeline and phone a friend.  I called the person who any rational wife would call in this sort of mother-in-law!

(Please picture triumphant superhero music playing as she appears in a jumpsuit in the household cleaners aisle)

My mother-in-law said I needed to try a cleaner called "Barkeeper's Friend."  She swears by it.  I was skeptical to say the least.  The title of it was strange, and the container itself looked shifty (not sure how a container looked shifty, but it did).  Still, I decided to give it a try.  I didn't have any better ideas, and I wasn't about to spray my range with Windex.

My friends.  Let me tell you.  Barkeeper's Friend is MAGIC.  If you don't have any, you must get some.  I sprinkled some onto my range, and *poof!*  all of the stains were gone.  I was so happy that I almost jumped up and down.  It worked!  Thanks to my housekeeping books and my mother-in-law, I will never have a nasty looking range again!  I can get my wife card back!  Hooray!


  1. Wow!! That does look good:)
    Great job.


  2. I really need to do this. Seriously, just keeping up with the regular chores of cleaning my bathroom, hand-washing all my dishes, doing my laundry (which I can't do in my apartment building's machines anymore... see blog for creepy details...), and sweeping/vacuuming is hard enough. On top of working two jobs! But my stove top is looking grimy again... Maybe I'll tackle that this weekend since I won't be seeing my boyfriend. I mean, I am working all three days at my second job, but I can still spend 20 minutes cleaning, right?

  3. Wow you did such a great job! My stovetop is always the dirtiest and most difficult thing to clean in our home, even more so than the kids rooms! Lol.

    Also, curious where you find your vintage books at? I collect vintage cookbooks from the 50s/60s/70s and have bought most on eBay. I would LOVE to get some "housewife manuals" from that era!