This question, about cleaning oils and such off of a small stove, was closed by me and 4 others as off-topic. The reason I gave is that operation of appliances is off-topic, and I consider general cleaning to be part of the operation.

@RedGrittyBrick mentioned in the comments the existence of a tag with almost 400 questions, so he thought it must be on-topic. The tag info provides

For questions relating to the removal of dirt, debris and other unwanted foreign material from various surfaces and porous materials, including methods, tools and supplies, and expected results.

My initial thought about the cleaning tag is that surely it doesn't encompass all cleaning questions, as we don't want to explain basics like how to vacuum a rug or dust shelves. It must be related to questions about how to clean up after home improvement projects - cleaning paint brushes, spilled cement, etc. But, the tag info itself suggests that all cleaning questions are on-topic here.

Looking at the first couple pages of the tag, there are a few questions about general cleaning methods - cleaning sink, cleaning tiles, cleaning a broom - which in my mind are off-topic.

There are also questions about cleaning gutters, cleaning plumbing auger, and cleaning spray foam, which are great examples of on-topic questions for this tag.

Am I off-base? Should the tag info / wiki be improved to highlight which types of questions are on- and off-topic?

  • 1
    The question isn't off topic IMO, but the answers will be due to the 'product recommendation' rule. I can't really answer a cleaning question w/o singing praises to TSP and any product made by Zep.
    – Mazura
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 0:17
  • Trisodium polyphosphate, not textured soy protein. Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 19:54

1 Answer 1


The tag descriptions are wiki's and can be updated by anyone with enough reputation, I don't consider it a definition for what is on-topic for the site. We do have a section in the help for on-topic questions that gives a decent run down and that's been populated from discussions here in meta.

Note: the rest of this is my personal view, and I try to take cues from the community on where they want the site to go.

My own take is that questions about cleaning your house, or cleaning the tools you use to work on your house, then it's often on topic. If it's cleaning something that is in the house but not part of the house, i.e. something you would likely take with you when moving, then it's probably off topic. That means cleaning the sink and tiles would be on topic to me, and the broom question would be just close enough in the gray since it's a tool you can use to clean your home.

For the stove cleaning question, I wouldn't have voted to close it myself since stoves are a typical part of the home. It typically doesn't fall within the small appliance category to me, but rather gets lumped in with the HVAC and dishwasher. The reason I can justify leaving it closed is if the OP wants to get advice specific to their model stove, and their stove appears to be portable, almost like a camp stove, and not part of the home.

  • "since stoves are a typical part of the home" <-- that depends where. I'm in Quebec, Canada and here generally stove are not included in sale. But a dishwasher might or might not depending on the deal. My agent told me when bought our house that if we did not had a dishwasher the seller would have been obligated to leave his one behind to not leave a hole in the kitchen
    – Rémi
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 15:26

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