A stove eye is another name for the stove burner. Chances are, you may or may not have heard this term in use yet, but some people refer to electric stove burners as “stove eyes”.

The debate of whether they actually resemble these body parts is still on, though, the term stove eye actually comes from a wood stove.

They are the metal discs in the wood stovetop usually left in place to prevent the blackening of pots and pans from the wood fire. Conventionally, these metal discs sitting in the holes of the wood stovetop are removable.

Wood stove Eye

Although they may look like eyes, many people suggest that the main reason why a stove burner is called an eye is that they are pretty easy to clean, especially when you get used to navigating them.

In recent times though, the term stove eye has been most associated with Whirlpool stoves as this is the terminology the company uses to refer to the burners and coils of its electric ranges.

How Do You Clean Stove Eyes?

Regardless of the name or appearance, stove eyes or stovetop burners require regular cleaning, being keen that some appliance manufacturers recommend specific ways to clean the stove eyes.

Remember, it’s always a great idea to check the provisions in the appliance manual before starting any kind of maintenance or cleaning.

If you are using gas stoves, there is no need to remove the eyes during the cleaning process. However, if you are using an electric stove, especially the Whirlpool electric stove, you can remove the eyes before cleaning them.

Electric Stove Coils Dirty

Imagine returning home after a long day to a messy stovetop with grease-covered burners! Rather than wiping up the splatters and leave the mess lingering the entire week or even month, here’s what you should do:

Method 1: Using baking Soda

Step 1: Ensure that the burners have cooled completely before removing the grates or burner coils for a gas range or an electric range, respectively. Make use of the manual whenever you are not sure of the process to avoid damages.

Next, move the grates or coils over to your countertop for separate cleaning.

Step 2: In a bowl, combine lukewarm water and some dishwashing soap, then dip a cloth into the solution. If you are using an electric range, be careful not to get the sockets wet.

Step 3: If you are dealing with tougher stains, use baking soda because of its abrasive nature. Combine a handful of baking soda with some water to get a thick paste. Using this paste, coat your burners and let them stay like that for about 20 minutes.

When this time elapses, remove the cake-on residue. By this time, it should be soft enough for removal. Afterward, rinse off the burners to ensure that no paste remains.

Stove Eye or Coil

Method 2: Using Ammonia

If for whatever reason using baking soda doesn’t produce results for you, or if you just prefer using ammonia, follow the following steps to clean your stove eyes:

Step 1: Put each burner into a plastic bag and add quarter-cup ammonia. Make sure to seal the burners with the ammonia fumes, not just covering the burner in ammonia.

To prevent leaks all over, let the plastic bags sit overnight in your sink. Come the next day, open the bags in a well-ventilated kitchen or room.

At this point, the burners should now come clean under a sponge. Remember to give the burners a proper rinse once they are no longer caked in residue to remove all traces of ammonia.

Step 2: With a clean cloth or paper, pat the burners dry and allow them to air-dry. Ensure that both the coils and the stove sockets are completely dry before reconnecting the coils on an electric range.

What are Stove Eyes Made of?

Stove eyes are usually made of 304 stainless steel. The inner-most layer making up the resistance wire is commonly made of Nichrome, a nickel-chromium alloy. While it is usually 80% nickel with 20% chromium, this composition may sometimes vary.

Typically, electric stove burners are made up of circular metal cylinders comprised of nichrome-alloy resistance wires. Electricity sent through the cables produces heat that comes out of the elements. These elements turn red when the control knob reaches the highest level.

How does a stove eye work?

Electric Stove Coil Tops

Basically, Electric stove coils or eyes convert electric current into heat which heat is then transferred to the pot or saucepan to cook whatever contents are inside it.

The burners or coil elements receive electricity supplied by the variable switch your knob is connected to. Turning the knob will increase or decrease the cooking temperature depending on the level you have set the knobs to.

On the other hand, gas burners/eyes use a mixture of gas and oxygen that is ignited by a pilot light or an electronic spark. The height of the flame can be adjusted by adjusting the amount of gas being supplied to the burner.

Electric Stove Eyes or Gas Stove Eyes?

To understand which of the two is better, we have to look at the pros and cons of using electricity or gas for cooking.

Considerably, electric stoves tend to be quite more costly than their gas counterparts, although the differences in operating costs vary from one region to the other.

While the price tag is usually not higher by much, the operating costs are often different enough to be a deciding factor for many. However, electric stovetops are more energy-efficient.

On the one hand, it may be cheaper to operate a gas stove for your needs. But on the other hand, you waste more energy with gas compared to an electric range where about seventy-four percent (74%) of the energy produced is transferred to food compared to gas’ 46%.

Even more, electric stoves are generally safer for the household. Electric stoves may not eliminate the risk of burns or fires as such, but generally, they are considered safer.

Another key thing to put in mind is that electric stoves can be easier to clean. Although cleaning stoves with electric coils is comparable enough to cleaning gas options with burners and grates, a more recent electric option surpasses all with a ceramic cooktop or a smooth glass.

Ceramic Electric Cooktop

As long as they have cooled, you can clean up these smooth stovetops and burners/eyes with just a wipe of a damp rag and some dish soap. Even on a bad day, it would take only a minimal abrasion of baking soda to scrape off a caked-on mess.

All in all, the choice is ultimately yours. If you are shopping for a new stove or need to choose between gas and electricity, go for what makes you most comfortable.

Final Word

The term “stove eye” isn’t used as much these days due to the decrease in popularity of wood stoves and their replacement with more modern options.

The term though has been kept alive by Whirpool, and a few other stove manufacturing companies in recent times, intermittently used with words like coil elements and stove burners.

While many will argue that the name is largely inspired by the resemblance of coil elements and burners to the body part, others will point out to its woodstove roots, a debate that’s not about to end anytime soon.