Things You'll Need
Never try to clean your electric stove or burners while the stove is plugged in.
If your electric stove burners are starting to rust, then you must clean them as soon as possible. Until you do, they may not heat as effectively and they will not be fully sanitary for food preparation. Fortunately, it is fairly simple to remove rust from an electric burner, and you will not need any harsh chemicals to do the job.
Unplug the stove. You should never get electric appliances damp when they are hooked up to electricity.
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Mix your cleaning solution. Fill the spray bottle 2/3 with water, then add 4 drops of liquid detergent. Swirl the liquid around but do not shake it since you do not need lots of suds.
Spray the burners with the cleaning solution, then wipe them down with a cleaning rag. This will remove most food residue and may also dislodge some of the rust.
Remove the burner from the stove. Electric burners plug into the stove and can be removed by gently pulling them to the side away from the plug and then upward. Do not jerk the burners, but remove them slowly and carefully. When you have removed them, place them in a the plastic tub and cover them with the remainder of the cleaning spray.
Mix a rust-removal paste. In a bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of vinegar. Mix with your fingers or a spoon. Add a teaspoon of vinegar at a time until you have a thick, spreadable paste.
Scrub the rust off the burners using a toothbrush and your rust-removal paste. Coat the rusted spots with the paste and leave it on for 12 minutes. You will likely see the rust "lifting" and staining the paste. Scrub the paste and the rust with the damp toothbrush. The baking soda will abrade the rust off without damaging the burner. If the rust does not all come off the first time, you can repeat this step until all rust is gone.
Rinse off the burner. Rinse it thoroughly to make sure that every single bit of cleaning residue is gone. Use a damp cleaning rag to wipe down the burner carefully and a dry rag to dry it. Let the burner air dry for several more hours to make sure it is completely dry before you replace it in the stove.
Carole Ellis began writing in 2004 for the "UGA Research Magazine." Her work has appeared in Growing Edge, Medscape and Doctors' Guide publications. In addition to medical coverage, Carole publishes a real estate newsletter called REJournalOnline and is the news editor for the Bryan Ellis Real Estate Letter. She has a bachelor's degree in English and graduate work in creative writing and plant biology.