How to Clean a Stovetop

White kitchen with stove and oven

Camylla Battani / Unsplash 

Overview
  • Working Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Pots boil over, grease splatters, spills happen in every kitchen and you have a dirty stovetop. How you tackle the problem depends upon the type of stovetop you have. But, one rule applies to every type: clean the problem up as soon as possible. The longer you leave a mess on your stovetop, the harder it's going to be to remove.

There are three basic types of home stovetops: electric coils, gas burners, and smooth, ceramic glass tops. If you have a new stovetop, take the time to read the manufacturer's recommendations for cleaning and maintaining the surface.

How Often to Clean a Stovetop

Cooking messes should be cleaned up immediately. But every stovetop should be cleaned at least weekly to prevent grease and residue from collecting.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Sink or large bucket
  • Sponge with a soft and a scrubbing side
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Spray bottle
  • Plastic scraper
  • Razorblade scraper

Materials

  • Dishwashing liquid with grease-cutter
  • Commercial ceramic cooktop cleaner (optional)
  • Baking soda
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Hot water

Instructions

Instructions for Cleaning a Ceramic Glass Stovetop

These are the particular steps to follow if you have a smooth, ceramic glass stovetop in your kitchen.

  1. Turn off and Cool Stovetop

    Make sure that all controls are off and the stovetop is completely cool before you attempt to clean the surface.

  2. Mix a Cleaning Solution

    Fill a bowl with two cups of hot water and 1/2 teaspoon dishwashing liquid that contains a grease-cutting ingredient.

  3. Apply the Cleaner

    If you are using the dishwashing liquid cleaning solution, dip a sponge in the solution and wring it out slightly. Working in circles, wipe down the entire stovetop surface using the more abrasive side of the sponge. For areas that have cooked-on food, allow the solution to sit on the surface for several minutes to help soften the mess.

    If you are using a commercial cooktop cleaner, follow the directions on the product label.

  4. Wipe Away the Cleaning Solution

    After cleaning, dip the sponge in fresh water and wipe away the soapy solution and any loose debris.

  5. Tackle Tough-to-Remove Spots

    If there are still areas with burned-on food, you will need to give them extra attention. Spray the messy area with distilled white vinegar and sprinkle with baking soda (it will foam!). Cover the area with a kitchen towel that has been soaked in hot water and then wrung out. Let the towel remain on the stovetop for at least 15 minutes and then wipe with a clean cloth to remove debris.

    For really baked-on food, use a razor blade scraper to remove the mess. Hold the blade flat against the ceramic stovetop and gently scrape away the debris.

  6. Rinse and Dry

    Once the stovetop is clean, do a final wipe down with a sponge dipped in clean water to remove any residue. Dry with a microfiber towel for a streak-free finish.

Instructions for Cleaning an Electric Coil Stovetop

If your stovetop consists of electric coils, these are the best steps to take to ensure it's clean and grime-free.

  1. Heat Coils to Burn Off Debris

    If there are spills or spatters on the electric coils, turn each coil onto high for three minutes to burn-off the mess.

    Tip

    If the coils are really dirty, turn on the kitchen hood fan and open the windows to help ventilate the smoke. Do not leave the coils on without monitoring them and keep a fire extinguisher handy.

    Allow the coils to cool completely (wait about 20 minutes) before proceeding with the rest of the cleaning steps.

  2. Remove and Clean the Coils

    Most coils simply plug into the stovetop. Give them a gentle pull and remove them. Place them on your countertop and wipe down with a sponge dipped in a solution of hot, soapy water to remove debris. For tough build-up, dip the sponge in dry baking soda and scrub away.

    Be sure to clean both sides of the coils and finish by wiping down with a cloth dipped in clean water. Set the coils aside and allow them to air dry.

    Warning

    Never submerge a stovetop's electrical coils in water. The electrical connection will be damaged.

  3. Remove and Clean the Drip Pans

    Under the electric coils are metal discs called drip pans that help catch food residue. Remove the drip pans and submerge them in a sink of hot water and dishwashing liquid to soak. Soaking for at least 15 minutes will help loosen the baked-on food. Scrub with the abrasive side of the sponge and a bit of baking soda, if needed, until clean.

    Rinse well and dry with a towel.

  4. Clean Under the Stovetop

    Many stovetops open up just like the hood of a car. Underneath you'll see a sheet of enameled metal that has caught all the drips and spills. Clean this area with hot, soapy water to remove food debris. Rinse with a clean sponge dipped in hot water and towel dry.

    If the top does not open, you can reach through the openings where the coils have been removed to access the area underneath.

  5. Clean the Stovetop Surface

    Whether the stovetop is enameled metal or stainless steel, wipe it down with a sponge dipped in the hot water and dishwashing liquid solution. Use a plastic scraper to loosen any baked-on food. Spray any tough-to-clean areas with a bit of vinegar and sprinkle with baking soda. Cover with a damp towel and let it work for 15 minutes before scrubbing.

    If the control knobs are located on the stovetop, remove them and wipe down with a damp cloth. Do not scrub because the markings can rub off easily.

  6. Rinse, Dry, and Reassemble

    Once everything is clean, give every surface one last wipe down with a sponge or cloth dipped in clean water. Use a microfiber towel to dry each component and then reassemble the stovetop.

Instructions for Cleaning a Gas Burner Stovetop

Stovetops with grates and plates will benefit from a good cleaning too—here's the best way to wash away burnt food and grease.

  1. Remove Burner Grates, Plates, and Controls

    Turn off all burners and be certain they are cool to the touch.

    Fill a sink or large bucket with hot water and add dishwashing liquid (about one teaspoon per gallon of water). Place the burner grates and plates (they cover the gas outlet) and control knobs in the solution to soak.

    It may be easier to find the controls if you use a smaller bowl of hot soapy water for their soak.

  2. Wipe Down the Stovetop Surface

    Wipe down the stovetop surface with a sponge dipped in hot, soapy water to remove crumbs, grease, and stuck-on food. Spray burned-on food with distilled vinegar and sprinkle with baking soda. Cover the area with a wet cloth and let it work for about 15 minutes before scrubbing away with the abrasive side of a sponge.

  3. Scrub, Rinse, and Dry the Burner Grates

    Use an abrasive sponge to scrub the burner grates. Rinse with grates, plates, and controls with clean water and dry with a microfiber towel.

  4. Rinse and Dry the Stovetop Surface

    Once the stovetop surface is free of burned-on food, rinse it well with a sponge dipped in fresh water. Dry with a microfiber towel for a streak-free finish.

  5. Reassemble the Stovetop

    Once you are certain everything is dry, reassemble the stovetop by replacing the burner plates, grates, and control knobs.