Cleaning a camping stove doesn’t have to be a lot of work. It doesn’t need to be hard.
In this guide, I’ll share the tips I’ve used to keep my Coleman camping stove sparkling clean.
Generally, I use warm dish soap water to remove the regular dirt buildup before rinsing with clean water. If there’s a presence of heavy grease buildup, a high-pressure garden hose comes in handy.
But those aren’t the only methods of cleaning a camping stove burner.
I’ll share some handy tips to make the camp stove cleaning process more effortless and quicker.
My tips will make your liquid fuel stove aesthetically pleasing, allowing it to run better and enhance fuel efficiency.
I also think everything tastes much better coming from a clean stove.
Now, without further ado, let’s jump straight at how I clean my camp stove burners.
Cleaning Rusty and Grimy Camping Stoves (Dish Soap Method)
If you’ve not been camping for a while, your stove is likely rusty and grimy.
It happened to my Camp Chef camp stove during the Corona Pandemic.
Fortunately, cleaning it was super easy, and in the section below, I’ll share the exact steps I used.
- Warm dish soap water (Blue Dawn)
- Apple cider vinegar
- Dryer sheets 207
- Garbage can
- Small bucket
Fill the garbage can with hot water and add some dish soap. The soapy water will do all the heavy-duty scrub work for us.
Set the grate and the wind guard inside the soapy water in the garbage can. Let them soak for about an hour before flipping them over.
Fill the small bucket with soapy hot water and pour all of it inside the stove. Ensure everything inside the stove, including the stove burners, get wet, so it can start soaking.
Lay the dryer sheets on the wet surface. The dryers’ sheets work wonders on the dry burnt because they’ve a conditioning capability that loosens everything up.
Plus, the sheets help in soaking up the hot water vinegar.
After covering everything with the dryer sheets, pour some bit of vinegar.
Now, time is the biggest factor when using this method. It would help if you allowed everything to soak up and use the time to your advantage.
I usually allow my stove to soak for 12 to 24 hours, depending on how grimy the stove is.
While everything is sitting and soaking and doing all the hard work for us, it would be a good time to clean the exterior.
Take a clean cloth dipped in soapy water to clean your stove’s top, bottom, side, and legs.
Also, use this time to flip on the grill and the wind guard to allow it to soak on the lower half.
Once the cooking stove is soaked, remove the dryer sheets, and use your scrubber to remove the dirt and grime.
If the stove is sufficiently soaked, you’ll see how effortless and quick it is to remove the dirt, grime, and rust. Hardly any elbow grease is required.
Wipe the cleaned surface with a wet cloth to remove the remaining stuck-on stuff.
Next, rinse the cleaned surface with a bucket of clean water until everything is sparkling clean.
You’ve a super shiny stove by now, but you used a lot of water to clean it.
So, you need it to dry to eliminate the excess warm water. Particularly, pay attention to the burner and fuel tank because storing it as is would result in rusting.
I always flip my stove upside down in the open air and leave it until it’s bone dry. And from there, I can safely store it in a sealed plastic bag.
I’m a big fan of this method because it’s super effortless and will eliminate most of the camping stove and stubborn grime.
My only concern with this method is that it requires a lot of water and time. However, that’s not much to ask when I need a sparkling camping stove.
Cleaning Stainless Steel with Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar
I don’t think I would recommend anything more than a Vinegar and baking soda solution for cleaning the stainless-steel camping stoves.
The mixture works because vinegar is an acid and is freaking amazing.
I use the mixture n my smoker; it works great to knock off the meat dripping, gunk, and dirt buildup inside.
I’d recommend the Barkeeper’s friend. I use it not only on my camping stoves but also on my stainless-steel cookware.
It makes my pans shiny while breaking the hard stains you would assume would never come out.
The other plus with this method is both stainless-steel cleaner is non-toxic, so you shouldn’t worry much about your health or anything.
It’s also super easy to clean using the vinegar and baking soda mix.
Start by wiping your stainless steel surface with vinegar on a microfiber cloth. Add some baking soda to eliminate all the grain and streaks.
It’s that simple.
However, it would help if you don’t use vinegar on aluminum because it could lead to discoloration and scratching.
Polish Stainless Steel with Olive Oil
A big issue with the stainless-steel camping stove is fingerprint smudges.
When cooking oil seeps into the stainless steel surfaces, it discolors the metal and leaves a stain that is impossible to clean, even with conventional cleaning solutions.
However, a dab of olive oil will eliminate the fingerprint issue.
Only a small amount of olive oil prevents the cooking oil from penetrating the stainless while making the steel shine. Olive oil also gets rid of the streaks and spots.
The oil creates a thin shield on your camping stove and protects it against smudges without leaving it greasy.
It’s a handy solution, especially when you need to cook in between your meals. It makes the process much faster and makes your deep clean efforts more effortless.
A Simple Wipe
Nothing beats simplicity, especially cleaning the painted plastic on your camping stove.
Scrubbing painted plastic with steel wire or anything abrasive material. The reason is you’re likely to discolor the material.
Instead, all you need is a simple wipe-down.
I usually prefer a soft scrubbing sponge dipped in warm soapy water. The soapy water is necessary for eliminating the greasy stuff.
I tend to avoid the cleaning chemicals when wiping down the plastics because most of them are abrasive and would peel off the paint.
After the wipe-down, I rinse the plastic parts with clean water to eliminate any remaining dirt.
Scrubbing the Burners
Cleaning the burners is a little different than cleaning the other parts of the stove.
Remember, the burners are actually what creates the flame.
You must scrub the burners, especially the holes that allow the flow of propane. Failure to clean the holes will reduce the efficiency of your burner.
Now, here’re the steps I use to clean the burners on my camp stove:
- Start by unscrewing the burners to detach them from the camping stove
- Look for some Scotch-Brita scouring pads or any other abrasive pad. I like the Scotch-Brite pads because they’re like steel wool but last longer. They’ve steel ribbons instead of threads. Plus, they don’t splinter as the regular steel wool does.
- Gently scrub your burner, focusing on the burnt-up and discolored sections.
- Obviously, the pad won’t clean the burner holes, so you need to find some paper clips or a safety pin. You could also choose anything sharp that can fit inside the holes without breaking. Personally, I prefer using a toothbrush/wire brush for this.
- Next, thoroughly rinse the burner with clean water to eliminate all the mess.
- Allow the burner to air-dry before attaching it to the stove.
You must let the burners dry completely before thinking of fixing them. Otherwise, a wet stove burner won’t allow propane to pass so that it won’t light up.
Storing them when wet is also a disaster because the gas is un-lighted gas is released into the air and may pose a fire risk.
And if you choose to store them while still wet, they may get rusty over time.
Cleaning the Camp Stove Knobs and Dials
Dials can be tricky to clean.
But a trick I use when cleaning my camper dials is wiping them after every meal, especially if there has been a spill.
You don’t have to do it after every meal, but make a habit of cleaning the dials regularly.
But assuming you forgot and the dials get a bit messy and gunky, you can always give them a deep scrub.
Usually, most of the knobs will pop off if you pull them.
You can then dip them in warm dish soap water and gently scrub them to remove all the mess. Use a toothbrush to eliminate the mess inside the knobs.
Remember, clean knobs are necessary for better control of your flame.
Cleaning in a Carwash
You could hose it down if there’s so much accumulation of dirt, mess, and gunk inside your camp stove.
A high-pressure hose will remove layers of dirt accumulation.
You can always take your stove to your local car wash if you don’t have a high-pressure hose home. That’s what I usually do.
However, be sure not to use the heavy-duty pressure hose or the engine cleaner because it might damage the high-heat paint.
Address Boil-Overs Immediately
Boil overs, especially broth and soup, are the biggest cause of rust.
Therefore, it makes sense that you address the boil-overs with immediate effect.
It’s not fun but will save your camp burner from rusting and reduced longevity.
A good thing with managing the boil-overs immediately is that it’s easy to clean because it hasn’t gunked up.
Simply unscrew your stove and use a rag to soak up much of the spill. Next, wipe it down with a damp cloth and let it dry.
Skip the Stove Altogether
If cleaning a stove proves to be challenging, you could skip it altogether and use a camping fire.
Most campers I know prefer to use campfires to prepare their meals. It’s a hassle-free, convenient and effortless way to light up you’re camping without worrying much about clean-up.
Now that’s everything you need to know about cleaning a camping propane stove.
Of course, there’re other methods, but these are primarily my favorite methods. They’re super-easy to follow, and convenient t follow on your next camping trip.
Plus, they don’t require a lot of resources and give you a clean camping stove.