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The Best Way to Clean Your Stovetop

Cooking even one meal can take your stovetop from clean as a whistle to a greasy mess. Keep your stovetop squeaky clean with our well-tested tips. 
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Published Dec. 18, 2023.

I recently spent several days covering one of our office’s beautiful, gleaming kitchens—every stovetop and counter—in vegetable oil. 

It was any clean-freak’s nightmare: the usually spotless, beautiful, perfect-for-TV kitchen completely coated in oil (and marinara sauce!) in order for me to test several cleaning products.

Testing these products on stovetops was essential, because stovetops accumulate messes incredibly quickly and are notoriously difficult to clean.

After all that testing was over, I had to make sure each stovetop was perfectly spotless for its next use—so the stakes were high! 

Between those tests and the countless hours of research and testing for cleaning products I’ve conducted over the past 4 years, I’ve got plenty of expertise to share with you about how to keep your stovetops gleaming. I also spoke with Jason Marshall, director of the Cleaning Lab at UMass Lowell’s Toxics Use Reduction Institute, to get extra info about which products are safest on stovetops.

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Tip #1: Clean After Every Use

I know, I know. The last thing you want to do after cooking dinner and tackling the dishes is clean your stovetop. Can’t it wait? 

It can, but cleaning after each use will make things much easier in the long run. In fact, every test cook and editor who uses a station in our test kitchen—even if they use dozens of stations, like me during that testing I mentioned above—is responsible for cleaning and sanitizing those areas after each use. 

It all has to do with time. The longer you let grease or splatters sit unchallenged on your stovetop, the longer they’ll have to dry, harden, and become significantly harder to clean off. 

I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather easily wipe away a stain with a gentle sponge and some soap than scrape off a hardened splatter with a plastic pot scraper (and I’ve had to do both). 

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Tip #2: Soap and Water Will Do Just Fine

Another note on that soap and water combo: It’s usually your best bet for cleaning your stovetop in general, no matter when you do it. 

Dish soap is filled with powerful surfactants—the same ingredients that make multipurpose sprays work—but can often be a bit gentler on a variety of surfaces (including the glass, ceramic, enamel, and stainless steel used to make stovetops). 

Relying on soap and water (the hottest water you can get from your tap, around 110 degrees like we do in the test kitchen) as your main ingredients for cleaning a stovetop keeps you from having to worry about whether a certain bottled cleaner is compatible with your stovetop’s materials. 

When in doubt, consult your stove’s manual (or look it up online) to note if there are any restrictions on what you can clean it with. 

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Tip #3: Gentle Is Best

If you’ve got a grimy stovetop with lots of stuck-on stains, it can be tempting to go to town on it with a stiff-bristled brush or even steel wool. Stop right there! 

The glass or ceramic topping on some stoves, as well as the heat-resistant paint or enamel on others, can all be sensitive to abrasive scrubbers. They can get scratched easily, even if you don’t put a lot of force behind your scrubbing sessions. 

For most cleaning, we recommend the soft side of a sponge (the scrubbing side may be too abrasive) or a microfiber cloth. To scrape away the most stubborn spots, use a silicone or plastic bowl or pot scraper to scrape gunk away without scratching the surface. 

Tip #4: Use Baking Soda for Stubborn Stains

What should you do for the cooked-on extra-stubborn spots that no amount of soap will remove? Make a paste of equal parts baking soda and warm water, lightly cover the stain with the paste, and then cover with a towel that’s been soaked in hot water and lightly wrung out. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes. 

The heat, moisture, and baking soda will work to loosen the spot and make it easier to scrub away. And it will do it without any heavy degreasing chemicals. 

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How to Clean Different Types of Stoves

Tailor your cleaning method to the type of stove you have.

  • For a gas stove with metal grates: You can usually remove them and wash them in the dishwasher. It’s best to verify that they’re dishwasher-safe in the product manual or online. You can also soak the grates in soapy water and clean them (lightly) with a scrub brush for tougher stains. Take extra care not to get your gas stovetop’s igniters (those small, white cylinders near each burner) too wet. As their name indicates, these mechanisms are responsible for sparking and igniting the flow of gas to create the cooking flame. If they’re compromised, your stove won’t light. So avoid getting them wet, and lightly wipe them dry if you do.
  • For flat-top electric or induction stovetops: These are prone to scratching and cracking, so take extra care not to treat them too harshly even when cleaning. Soap, hot water, the soft side of a sponge, and some light elbow grease will work best. 
  • For an electric stovetop with coils: The coils are usually removable and able to be cleaned with soap and water—just be careful not to drip water into the housing below them, and dry them thoroughly. 

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