Keeping Your Kitchen Road-Ready: Simple Steps for Efficiency and Safety
The ability to cook inside an RV is amazing! You can carry a kitchen with you everywhere you go, so you don’t have to rely on restaurants or campfire food. Your RV stove and oven are both very important. Although they tend to function quite well on their own, you can improve their performance and prevent issues by performing regular maintenance.
Most of us clean our kitchens on a regular basis, so you might assume that your stove and oven are just fine as they are. It’s true that a surface-level cleaning will take care of most problems, but this practice doesn’t address the underlying issues. Every now and again, you need to dive deep and get your hands dirty in order to preserve these appliances.
RV stove and oven maintenance don’t have to be hard, though! We have a few cleaning and maintenance tips below, and most of them can be accomplished within an hour. If you keep these areas clean and incorporate a few safety precautions, your kitchen will soon be as good as new. Read on to learn more about maintenance and RV kitchen safety.
1. Test Burner Ignition Before Trips
A lot of RV stoves and ovens are powered by propane. In this case, it’s important to have both a steady stream of fuel and a reliable spark to ignite the flame. Most propane systems will function without issue, but there are a few pieces that can fail. These are sometimes so small that you won’t notice there’s a problem until you’re out on the road!
Testing your burner ignition is an important part of RV maintenance. Although you can test it as often as you like, it’s a good idea to at least do it after you take an RV out of storage or before you leave for a trip. Sometimes the spark assist (also known as a piezo) can malfunction. If it cannot create a spark, the stove will continue to pump gas into the living space. This can lead to catastrophic damage, so it’s crucial to test your kitchen appliances.
The test is usually quite fast and simple! Simply ignite each burner, one at a time. See if there are any strange smells or lags in performance. If you cannot ignite the burner with a switch, try using a lighter to get the flame going. This will let you know if it’s an issue with the piezo or the fuel lines.
If the problem persists, it’s time to call in a professional. Don’t mess around with flames and propane lines if you’re not qualified to do so.
2. Clean Beneath the Stove Surface
Now let’s talk about the RV stove itself. Surface-level cleaning will suffice for most of your daily needs. As long as you clear away most of the crumbs and spills, you can continue to operate the burners without trouble. But sometimes a deep clean is necessary.
Fortunately, many RV stoves are designed to be cleaned. You’ll need to look up the specifications of your own model, but you can usually remove the burners and cooktop without much issue. If it’s powered by propane, just make sure you disconnect the fuel source before you begin.
Once you access the area below the cooktop, you can clean away all the buildup. You can use commercial cleaners or create a paste out of baking soda and water. Focus on the area directly around the burners first. If food gets caught in the gaps, it can block the propane flow and create nasty odors.
3. Remove and clean Control Knobs
RV stoves and ovens are usually controlled with physical knobs. Of course, in some cases, you might have a digital panel or a series of buttons. However, knobs and dials are more common. It’s easy to overlook these items during your cleanings, but they occasionally need attention too.
It’s a problem if these knobs become too stiff or too loose. They might even slip behind the casing, leading to inaccurate temperature readings. During your maintenance checks, it’s a good idea to remove these knobs and clean them with warm water and soap. A degreaser may also be necessary if there’s a lot of buildup.
Inspect the area behind the knob as well. Make sure that nothing is dirty or twisted out of alignment. Once the dials are clean and dry, reattach them and test their functionality. After you give everything time to heat up, use an oven thermometer to confirm whether or not the temperature matches the position of the knob.
4. Treat Spills While They’re Fresh
One of the best ways to maintain your RV stove and oven is to clean spills as soon as possible. Everyone makes mistakes while cooking. Sometimes a pot boils over, or you accidentally spill some sauce. These little messes are inevitable, but it’s important to clean them up anyway.
You might be tempted to ignore small spills, especially if there are other things around the RV that demand your attention. But the longer they sit, the more likely they are to stain and burn onto the surface. Try to wipe down your stovetop after every use, even if it seems mostly clean.
The same principle holds true for ovens. Little drips and spills can fall onto the racks and base of the oven. If you leave them unaddressed, they will burn to a crisp and become very hard to remove! You don’t have to scrub your oven after every use, but keep an eye on it and try to clean spills before they become caked onto the metal.
RV Stove and Oven Safety Tips
Cleaning is only one part of RV maintenance. It’s also important to form good habits and prevent damage before it occurs. Kitchen safety can be tricky in such a small space, but there are a few things you can do to protect your vehicle and your passengers.
Check the Oven Interior Before Pre-Heating
Pre-heating the oven is an important step in cooking and baking. When you’re in an RV, though, you need to be extra careful. Some people use their ovens for extra storage, so the items inside could be in danger if you forget to take them out. It’s also possible that another passenger left something inside without you knowing.
Either way, it’s always a good idea to open the oven for a moment and check if there’s anything inside. In most cases, there’s nothing to worry about. But you’ll be glad that you took this precaution if there actually is something on the rack!
Keep Flammable Materials at a Distance
This one is common sense, but it’s relevant for many RVers. Your kitchen space is usually limited, and you don’t have a lot of space for storage. This means that flammable items like paper towels, napkins, and washcloths might end up on or near the stove.
Make an effort to keep flammable materials away from heat sources. It may take some time and effort from all your passengers, but everyone should be able to understand the risk. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand, just in case!
Level Your RV Before Cooking
Finally, it’s important to keep your RV level when you park. This habit will help you with a lot of things in your day-to-day life, but cooking is one of the most important ones.
If your vehicle is resting at an angle, it could create all kinds of problems. Your fuel tank might stop working, dishes could slide around, and anything on your RV stove could tip over. Make things easier on yourself by carefully leveling out your vehicle everywhere you go. You’ll reduce spills and make everything safer!