Cooking can be enjoyable, but the kitchen cleanup that goes along with it certainly isn't. The stovetop especially can be a disaster after a meal. The good news is that cleaning up a burnt-on mess is actually rather easy, whether you've got a gas range or an electric one.
Before you get started, there are two things to remember:
- Wait for your cooktop to cool off completely before cleaning it.
- Remember that every appliance is different. Be sure to read the owner's manual to see what the manufacturer recommends -- or prohibits -- as a cleaning method.
What you'll need to clean your stovetop
There are many cleaners on the market made especially for cleaning electric and gas stovetops. Those are certainly one way to go, as long as you follow the directions and use a soft, non-abrasive cloth or sponge. But if you want to go natural with your cleaning supplies, make sure you have vinegar and baking soda on hand.
A paste made from baking soda and water is always a default option as a natural home cleaner. It provides just enough grit to get rid of the grime without any chemicals or harsh abrasives. To make the paste, start with half a cup of baking soda, then add in a few tablespoons of water until you get a pasty consistency. Take a cloth or a sponge, dip it into the paste, and scrub away. Then, wipe everything clean with a wet sponge.
Alternatively, you can fill a spray bottle with equal parts white vinegar and water. Spray down the stovetop, let it sit for a bit, and then wipe the surface clean.
You might think that because your stovetop gets super hot that it can handle some harsh scrubbing. But be careful: Hard scrubbing is a no-no for electric ranges, which can scratch easily, and they could damage a gas top, too. You're better off using a soft brush -- even a toothbrush -- and some elbow grease if you need extra scrubbing power for your stove.
How to clean a gas stovetop
Fill the sink with warm water and a few squirts of dish soap. Remove the grates and the burner caps and soak them in the sink for a while -- the dish soap will help break down the oil and grease. If you can also remove the burner heads on your stove (some models you can; others you can't), you can soak those in the sink as well.
Use a non-abrasive scrub brush to clean the grates and the burner caps. For the burner heads, use a toothbrush to clean out any burnt-on oil or food particles. For any stubborn residue, use a sewing needle or an unfolded paper clip to gently scrape the food away. Let everything dry thoroughly.
For the stovetop itself, spray the vinegar and water solution or spread some baking soda paste. Scrub gently with a cloth or sponge, and then wipe clean. You can replace the burner heads, caps, and grates once everything has dried thoroughly.
How to clean an electric stovetop (glass or ceramic)
An electric stove is rather easy to clean, though you do have to be careful not to scratch the delicate surface. If there's not much baked onto it, you can easily clean the top of it (again, make sure it cools down first) with some soapy water and a sponge -- almost like you were washing a dish.
If it's been a while between cleanings (no judgment here), then you can use the vinegar/water spray or baking soda paste and a sponge. Go easy on the scrubbing so you don't scratch the surface, though; light, circular motions should do the trick. Wipe everything down with a wet cloth.
Still got some baked-on residue? You might have to do some scraping. Yes, this flies in the face of the "easy does it" rule when it comes to scrubbing your ceramic stove. Some will say a putty knife and a gentle hand will do the trick, but we say opt for something plastic, like the edge of a spatula. Use small motions to scrape the residue away, then clean the top once more.
How to keep it clean
Now that your stovetop is clean and shiny, you'll want to keep it that way. While it's nearly impossible to avoid splatters during cooking, you can keep a cooktop cleaner by taking care of messes soon after they happen. Try to wipe up spills as soon as the stovetop is safe to touch, and you'll find it easier to keep your gas or electric range clean.