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Re: cleaning the cast iron grates and griddle
Try This.... Place the grates in a sink of hot, soapy water and let soak for 15-20
minutes. For tougher stains, add a cup of sudsy ammonia to the water.
Make sure grates are thoroughly dried after each cleaning. After the
cleaning process, Lightly coat the bottom of the
grates with a cooking spray and then blotting them dry. Or If you self clean the oven on occasion, put them in the oven when running the self clean cycle.
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Gratings on gas stoves aren't usually very rough and are mostly covered with vitreous enamel to make them easier to clean for the first few years.
An engineer would season a casting by leaving it outside for several months for the sun, wind and rain and a large number of temperature changes to prepare it for service.
A cook seasons a cast iron cookpot by soaking it with oil and effectively burning it off though there are more sophisticated methods an internet search will reveal.
In the old days cast iron ranges were a daily chore for the housewife. Parts that could be polished were sanded with emery cloth and the rest was polished with a preparation called "black lead grate polish".
These days the stuff no longer contains any lead but grate polish is widely available.
I prefer cast iron. Cast iron heats more evenly and retains temperature better. If they are falling apart from rust, junk them. If they just have surface rust and no holes, all you have to do is brush them with a steel brush at high heat. Wipe them off with a wet rag and then rub it with an onion to provide a teflon layer. if it is really heavy rust, spray oven cleaner on them and hose off. After use or for storage, clean them and then wipe them down with a cooking oil soaked rag. The oil will reduce rust build up.
This is taken verbatim from page 11 of my Frigidaire Gallery range:
"Seasoning, using and caring for the griddle Before first use:
-Wash griddle in hot soapy water. Rinse and dry completely.
-Apply a thin coat of vegetable oil to the entire surface (front and back of griddle).
-Preheat your oven to 350*F. Place the griddle on the upper rack in your oven.
-Bake griddle for 1 hour at 350*F, then turn oven OFF and let cool before removing.
-The surface may have a tacky feel to it from the seasoning process. If desired, wash the griddle in hot soapy water, rinse well, and dry completely.
Using the griddle:
Remove the center burner grate and carefully replace with the griddle (some models). Preheat the griddle for 5 minutes on medium to medium low setting. Slow preheat ensures even heat distribution during the cooking process.
DO NOT preheat the griddle on HI setting. Preheating on HI may warp the griddle and prevent even heat distribution.
After each use:
-To prevent rusting, store in a dry place and keep uncovered.
-After each use, clean with a stiff brush and hot water only.
-Do not clean griddle in the dishwasher.
-Dry immediately and apply a light coating of vegetable oil to griddle before storing.
Don't use oven cleaner! It isn't recommended by GE. Their book explicitly says to put the grates in a plastic garbage bag and pour a some ammonia into the bag. Tie the bag tightly so all the gas stays inside. Put in a garage in case it leaks because it can smell bad. Wait 24 hours and the stains will come off with a hose and some light rubbing. I didn't believe it at first but it works great! My wife loves our 'like new' oven.
glass cleaner WITH ammonia, and a small toothbrush works well. mop up with an old washcloth, rinsing often. for pieces which have gummy residue, and which can be removed to the sink for soap and water finsing afterwards, try GooGone.