If you’re like me, you love to cook with your kids.  It’s fun, and rewarding, and ever so messy.  No matter how hard I try, things get spilled.  We have a rule here that we don’t get upset about messes, because all messes can be cleaned back up again.  Right?  The only mess I have ever truly struggled with has been that cooked on junk that gets on my cooktop.  It has become my life long dream to solve this problem.  I know, I know, my dream sucks.  But to each her own. 

I have done endless searches on the web looking for the solution to getting that stuff off.  I’ve tried straight baking soda (which is usually a favorite of mine.), those Magic Erasers, and tons of various other soaps or specialty sponges and scrubbers.  And what do you know?  I still have cooked on junk!  Ew!  Most everything made it better, but nothing was getting it completely clean.  Then I spoke to my grandmother, who is the queen of clean.  Her suggestion was pure ammonia.  I know what you’re thinking, ammonia is stinky, and gross.  How could it possibly clean that gunk that has been building for nearly five years?  Grandma claimed that putting my burner grates inside of a gallon bag with about a quarter cup of ammonia and let it sit over night, the morning would bring the clean that I have been searching for. 

Ammonia is so cheap that I figured I couldn’t really waste anything but time trying.  I followed Grandma’s instructions as best as I could, so that if it didn’t work I could be sure I didn’t screw up.  The only thing that I did differently was buy the ammonia with a “lemon” scent.  I was hoping it would help make the process easier.  Honestly It wasn’t necessary, once those bags are closed up tight you won’t notice the scent.  That being said, it’s not a terrible idea to leave your bags in the garage or somewhere out of the house just in case one springs a leak. 

In the morning I emptied the bag and was dismayed to see gunk still on the grates.  But, ever the optimist, I wiped them down with a sponge.  Wouldn’t you know… it worked!  Alas I have sparkling clean burner grates!  I can die happy now!

-Stephanie Wright

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