Cleaning/checking a disgusting stove
We just discovered that our stove is broken beyond repair and for sophisticated financial reasons have decided to try to resurrect the old stove in the garage.
The gas stove was (of course) not scrubbed down or covered before it went into the garage 4 years ago. It was apparently in good shape (though I never used it myself). It's now dusty, greasy, and overall fairly gross.
I figured that I'd use a combination of oven cleaner, Softscrub, and a degreaser if necessary. Is this the right combination of products? What should I check for safety? I'm hoping that no creepy crawlies got into it but am wondering how to check any cords, pipes, etc. prior to hooking it up.
Not sure if you have Smart and Final in your area, but they sell a bulk sized oven cleaner that is a liquid. It's a lot better than the noxious gas cans they sell in the stores. They sell a gallon for about $5 more than a can in the market and it works better without the strong smell.
Most gas stoves aren't that complicated. I would visually inspect the connections and then hook it up. Obviously, you'll need a gas connection to really test it. As long as the pilot light ignites and stays on and the igniter elements are working, it will probably be OK. Before you move it inside, tip it back to make sure no rodents have nested in the bottom, especially at the back where the insulation is.
After noticing that our oven took FOREVER to preheat, last year spouse and I replaced our 15 year old oven's igniter element (also for sophisticated financial reasons). It was a $20 part and a few hours of work.
You're on the right track.
I would first make sure the gas connection and burner heads are *completely* sealed off/bagged so that nothing gets in them. Then if the oven is electric, I'd remove the elements.
Then I'd hit it with commercial-grade Easy-Off or the like. Work it with various-sized brushes and wipe with a bale of paper towels. Tip it over and check for evidence of critters. I would stop there.
For cleaning, hot soapy water (use gloves) and dish soap is one of the easiest way to degrease and clean. Might take a few steps, but it usually works pretty well. There's a reason it's used to clean oil-stained products and in oil spills.
For cleaning out hoses and connections, just seal off one end and use and airhose to blast some air through. Dust and insects will blow through.
Keep it simple. A lot of chemicals and other fancy methods simply aren't that much more effective than a few passes of the above.
I'm also phasing out of harsh chemicals in the house, whenever possible. Just tried this, and it worked miracles on greasy messes:
Heat 12 ozs of white vinegar, just until hot (will help to emulsify the detergent). Add 12 ozs of liquid blue Dawn (no substitutions, I was told). Add both to a spray bottle & shake to blend. Spray, scrub, rinse. For tough stuff, spray & allow to stand even overnight, then scrub & rinse.
So far, it's working great.
For degreasing I like a product called "Greased Lightening" you might have to look for it at a hardware/home improvement store.
Check with your gas utility company, they will send someone out to check the safety. In my experience in California, they do this free of charge.
As a landlord for over 25 years, I have cleaned hundreds of ovens. Some of which were never cleaned during the entire time of the lease. One was 5 years worth of gunk.
Dawn and Joy are the best degreasers readily available. Addition of hot vinegar lets it soak into hardened grease and food. But it takes a while.
Easy-off is expensive, stinks, and works well and fast. When I get the keys to a place, I spray the oven, toss the drip pans, and spray under them also. Then I come back the next day with plenty of paper towels and rags.
Sorry to say, I had to replace a computer board in a stored oven when I swapped it out last month. $185 for the board and $75 service charge. It took the new tenant 4 months before she found out the oven would not work. So you should also test the electronics on your gas oven.
At most, you are in for one or two overnight soakings and scrubbings and about two hours of actual cleaning. Which seems a great return on your investment to me.