Savvy Tenant: Now We’re Cookin’…and Cleanin’

When a tenant moves into one of our rental units, pretty much all there is to do is move in. My husband polishes his properties like gems before he turns them over. Case in point, last week I came home to find a stove top, oven door, and oven racks strewn across my front yard. He was in the process of power washing them while the Easy-Off did its magic on the inside of the oven. The result: the stove looks brand new, inside and out.

While I tell him he’s a little over-the-top with the oven cleaning thing, the point is that he doesn’t expect more of his tenants than he is willing to do himself.


While I really don’t expect the stove to be turned over in the exact same condition, there really is no reason why it can’t be. The power washing wouldn’t be necessary with some simple upkeep. All that is required is consistent maintenance. Done regularly, maintenance will render deep cleaning either unnecessary or minimal, something easily done as part of the move-out process. There really is no reason for a stove to accumulate years worth of grease and grime.  

Here is a suggested maintenance schedule for the stove:

Gas & Electric
Daily: Wipe off any spilled food or splattered grease on all surfaces. If something spills over in the oven, clean it up as soon as it cools enough to do so. Will you catch every little drip, every little splatter all the time? No. So….

Gas: Remove burner covers to wipe out the burner pans under them. Send the burner covers and pans through the dishwasher or wash them thoroughly by hand in hot soapy water, scrubbing to remove stubborn stuff.

Electric: Remove burners (they unplug! Usually lift up and then out) and the pans under burners and clean thoroughly. With older electric stoves the top part of the stove area with the holes for the burners will lift up, allowing you to clean crumbs and spills off of the flat surface underneath the burners. If you are fortunate enough to have a smooth-top stove, none of this section will apply to you. Please be aware that smooth-tops have different and specific maintenance requirements so PLEASE consult with the landlord about how to clean it.

Gas & Electric: Check oven racks. Thoroughly wipe out oven or if necessary/available, run cleaning cycle. Check knobs, hood, exhaust grate for the fan in the hood. Knobs and exhaust grate can often be removed and run through a dishwasher as well.



None of this takes a lot of time. Cleaning up six years of no maintenance is what takes hours of power. 

If you move into a unit with a stove that is not clean, TAKE PICTURES. If you elect to leave it in the condition you found it, the landlord can’t complain if you have proof you are doing so.

Did I forget anything? Of course I did! Add your comments. 


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