How to Clean a Clogged Gas Stove Burner that Won’t Light

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If you have a gas stove, no doubt you are aware of their many advantages. Gas stoves heat up nearly instantly. They can be used to cook food even when the power goes out. In many cases, they are more affordable to cook with than electric ranges in terms of utility prices. But gas stoves also come with a unique challenge: a need to clean the burners above and beyond merely scrubbing spills off the grate. Each gas burner is actually made up of dozens of little holes or nozzles where the gas comes out in a controlled circle underneath each pan.

Unfortunately, these nozzles can slowly fill with food and old grease until they clog and gas can’t come out. When this happens, your gas burners may light (and cook) unevenly or may stop lighting at all. You may have tried a quick swipe with a sponge or a paper towel to clear up the problem. But if your gas stove burners are clogged, there’s only one procedure that’s sure to clear them up.

Let’s dive right into the process of cleaning your gas burners so they’ll cook evenly again. 

Check for Specific Instructions

The first step for any stove is to check your user’s manual. If you don’t have the original (and really, who does?) you can usually find a digital copy online by looking up the make and model of your stove. Just in case, look into their printed instructions for how to clean the burners. The manual may suggest specific cleaning products or methods to clean your gas stove burners. But don’t worry if you do not find specific instructions. The following steps work for most gas burners because of how gas-top stoves are inherently designed. 

Fill a Sink with Hot Soapy Water

The best way to start this repair is to fill half your kitchen sink with hot, soapy water. There are several elements of your stove that you may want to soak, including the clogged burner. A warm sink ready to go will seriously speed up your progress. For even better scrubbing and debris-clearing action, add some white vinegar to the soapy water as well. It won’t smell great, but it cleans and resolves clogs like nothing else. 

Remove the Burner Grate

Your gas burner is made of several layers. Most gas stoves have a grate on top because the gas burners aren’t fit to lay pans directly on top of the flame. This top grate is usually sturdy, heavy, and can come in multiple pieces. Remove all of the grate pieces between you and the burner you’re working on. Set the burner grate aside.

Because burner grates get spilled on and are often covered in cooked-on food, now is a great time to soak and scrub your burner grate. Take this repair opportunity to make your kitchen cleaner. 

Lift Off the Burner Cap

The next step is to remove the burner cap. This is a small ceramic disk that sits directly on top of the flame-jetting part of the burner. If your gas stove has burner caps (and most do), the cap looks like a natural and finishing part of the design. The burner cap is not secured, so you can simply reach in and lift it right out. With the burner cap in hand, drop the cap into your sink of warm water. It’ll be easier to clean and shiny to return to place when your repair is complete. 

Uninstall the Sealed Burner Base

Now turn your attention to the burner base. This is a metal disk that gas feeds into. It distributes the gas into a ring of channels that form the gas nozzles of the burner ring. In many models of gas cooktop stove, the burner base lifts out almost as easily as the burner cap. However, some models have one or two small mounting screws that will need to be carefully removed as you uninstall the burner base. Use a magnetic-tipped screwdriver, if possible, to help keep a hold of the small screws.

When the burner is loose, simply pull it out of the socket. 

Soak and Scrub

Next, drop your burner base into the hot water and wait 10 to 20 minutes for all the cooked-on grime to soak and soften. Now is a good time to scrub the grate and the burner caps, or clean other parts of the kitchen. Heck, you can go put your feet up and watch some television while the burner soaks.

When you come back, grab a bristle-style brush. A nailbrush or an old toothbrush could both do the trick. Load the brush up with soapy water and carefully scrub the entire burner base. Pay close attention to scrubbing the holes around the outside ring. It clogs in these holes that are causing your uneven heating or non-lighting burner problems. 

Apply Toothpick Treatment

When the burner is scrubbed completely clean, grab something small and pointy like a toothpick or the end of a paper clip. Use this small item to clear any final debris inside the little holes in your burner. The toothpick treatment ensures that if there are any really stubborn clogs of gelled, hardened, or charred material, you would be able to get it out in addition to soaking and scrubbing. 

Reinstall the Burner Base

When your burner base is completely clean, dry it fully with a towel and set it back into place. Make sure the burner base is perfectly aligned with the tube of gas underneath and any alignment marketings. If your burner base lifted out easily, then set it back in the same way. If the burner base was secured with mounting screws, now is the time to return those screws. 

Return the Cap and Grate

Finally, it’s time to rebuild your stove. With the burner base set into place, return the ceramic burner cap and make sure it settles completely. Then set the stove grate on top of everything else and settle it into the grooves that have always held the grate in place. 

Test Your Burner

Last but not least, test your success. Flick on that burner and enjoy the full cheery ring of flame that means even cooking and clean channels in your gas stove burner. For more helpful home appliance repair insights, contact us today!

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