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How to clean a stovetop: A step-by-step guide

No matter what kind of stovetop you have, we'll help you get it clean

how to clean a stovetop
Robert Kneschke / Adobe Stock

Sometimes things can get a little hairy in the kitchen and more often than not it's the stove that takes the brunt of things. The cream sauce that boiled over because you were too busy watching the game. The bits of rice that somehow flew out of the pot (still haven't figured that one out yet.) Some minced garlic that never made it all the way into the pan. The pasta sauce that splattered everywhere (even the ceiling?!) because you forgot to turn it down to low. These things happen to all of us, luckily we're here to help show you how to clean your stove.

Difficulty

Moderate

Duration

30 minutes

What You Need

  • Baking soda

  • Distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle

  • Soft microfiber cloth

  • Hot water and dish soap

While the range is the workhorse of the kitchen, it's often neglected in the day-to-day cleaning. When it comes to cleaning a stove, the method you use is entirely dependent on what kind of stovetop you have in your home. Glass, ceramic, and stainless steel all have slightly different variables but, fear not, we have a step-by-step guide that covers them all.

Closeup of a hand holding a microfiber cloth as they wipe a black glass stovetop.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How do you clean a glass stovetop?

Glass seems intimidating, but you can restore it to its brand-new glory with the right tools. A great bonus about a glass cooktop, especially if you've got a small kitchen, is that it can be used as an additional work or prep surface. As with cleaning, though, make sure it's completely cool first.

Step 1: Wait for the stovetop to cool down before cleaning.

Step 2: Spray vinegar on the glass surface generously.

Step 3: Sprinkle baking soda on the vinegar, covering the whole stovetop.

Step 4: Put your cloth in hot water and wring out excess.

Step 5: Place the towel over the baking soda and vinegar mixture and allow it to cool.

Step 6: Once the towel cools off, use it to wipe the excess vinegar and baking soda from the surface, gently buffing away stuck-on grime.

Step 7: Repeat if necessary until your glass is clean.

Closeup shot of a man thoroughly cleaning a black stove top with white microfiber cloth
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How do you clean a black stovetop?

Black stove tops can scratch easily, and they show all fingerprints. Cleaning this type requires some finesse. The secret is to use a gentle touch and buff out any remaining residue with a soft, dry cloth.

Step 1: Remove grills and place them in your sink with hot soapy water.

Step 2: To clean the top, start with vinegar and a soft cloth. Spray the vinegar on the surface and wipe it down to remove streaks and grime. If you have a flat-top stovetop, start with this step as well.

Step 3: If you still have stubborn stains, you can move to a baking soda mixture. Spray your stovetop down again, and sprinkle a bit of baking soda onto stubborn stains.

Step 4: Soak your cloth in hot water and wring it out.

Step 5: Place it over the stain or stubborn grime. Allow it to cool.

Step 6: Gently wipe up the excess once the towel cools down.

Step 7: Use a mixture of dish soap and water to remove any leftover film. Distilled water can also help remove any hard-water stains.

Hand wearing dishwashing gloves and holding a sponge while wiping off a ceramic stove top.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How do I clean a ceramic stovetop?

Ceramic cooktops resist food stains, but they do scratch easily. It’s best to use a gentle hand. Remember to be gentle with ceramic. The material is very convenient for cooking but requires a soft touch when cleaning to ensure the surface remains in top shape.

Step 1: Start by mixing some vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray liberally onto the surface.

Step 2: Turn the stove on and allow it to heat up. Continue to spray the surface to ensure the liquid doesn’t evaporate completely. Turn the element off and wipe the surface once it’s cool enough to touch.

Step 3: If you have stubborn grime or built-up grease, use your toothbrush or brush to agitate the stain gently before wiping the surface clean.

Step 4: Rinse with hot water and dry with a microfiber cloth.

Gloved hand wiping off a stainless steel stovetop with a microfiber cloth.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Tips to clean a stainless steel stovetop

Stainless steel is prone to discoloration and scratches. The best option for cleaning stovetops like this is a product specifically for stainless steel. Bar Keeper’s Friend soft cleanser is one option that’s a lifesaver for bringing back stainless steel surfaces.

If you don’t have this product, the best option is to clean spills right away. Each time you cook, wipe away any grime that’s collected over the surface of your stovetop with a non-abrasive cleaner and soft cloth.

Vinegar can leave serious discoloration. Unlike the other surfaces on the list, don’t leave your stainless steel cooktop to soak in vinegar. Only use it to disinfect the surface, then clean the residue away immediately with hot soapy water.

A pair of yellow gloves placed on top of a dirty and rusty stovetop.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How do you get burnt-on grease off of a stovetop?

Baked on grease is a huge pain. Built-up grease isn’t a death sentence to your stovetop, though. Cleaning it is a matter of having the right touch and the right combination of tools.

Step 1: First, blend a bit of lemon juice and white distilled vinegar. Pour the mixture (in small amounts) over the grease. Scrub with a soft bristle brush.

Step 2: Next, sprinkle a layer of baking soda over the area and let it sit for a moment. Wet a soft bristle brush and scrub in a circular motion to help break up the stain. You can add a drop of gentle dish soap to help break up the grease.

Step 3: If that doesn’t work, you might try Coca-Cola. Pour a small amount over the grease and allow it to fizz for a few moments. Gently scrub the area with your soft bristle brush.

Step 4: If that still doesn’t work, you can try a stovetop scraper. This tool is specially designed to scrape up baked-on grease. Gently test the tool on your surface to ensure that you don’t scratch the surface.

Man cleaning his stovetop
Robert Kneschke / Adobe Stock

Additional tips

Here are some general tips to keep in mind whenever you’re cleaning your stovetop, no matter what kind you have.

  • Always turn off and cool the stovetop completely before cleaning.
  • Consult your stovetop's manual for specific cleaning recommendations.
  • Never use harsh chemicals, abrasive cleaners, or scouring pads, as they can scratch the surface.
  • Open windows or turn on the exhaust fan to provide ventilation.
  • Clean up spills immediately to prevent them from becoming baked-on messes.
  • Use a dedicated cleaning cloth for your stovetop to avoid cross-contamination with other surfaces.
  • For heavily burnt-on food or stubborn stains, consider using a commercial stovetop cleaner. Be sure to choose one that’s safe for your specific type of stovetop (glass, stainless steel, etc.) and follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.
John Maher
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Born in Richmond, VA, Chef John Maher has over two decades of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. From…
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