How to Clean a Stovetop

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on April 07, 2022

Cooking a delicious meal for your friends and family feels incredible. The grimy food residue left on your stovetop doesn't.

Besides being a mess, the leftover food on your stove and in your oven can impact its performance. You must clean the mess so you can keep cooking for your loved ones. 

There are different needs when cleaning certain types of stovetops. Read on to learn the steps for cleaning gas, induction, and electric stovetops.

What You'll Need to Clean a Gas Stovetop

Luckily, cleaning a stovetop doesn't require special cleaners. All you need are:

  • Hot water
  • Dish soap
  • A plastic scrubber (something non-abrasive)
  • A paper clip or wire
  • Toothbrush
  • Sponge
  • Ammonia, optional
  • A stainless steel cleaner, optional

Avoid abrasive scrubbers and cleaners. Some people may reach for steel wool to scrub at the metal parts of their stovetop. Abrasive cleaners can damage your stovetop and lead to future problems. 

Cleaning Your Gas Stovetop

Remove the grates and burner covers. You can clean these with warm soapy water and your scrubber. If years of spills have stained the grates and covers, you can remove the stains with ammonia. 

Ammonia effectively breaks down grime from oil, grease, and fat. Many kitchen cleaning products contain some ammonia.

Put the grates and covers into a tightly sealable bag or container with 1/4 cup of ammonia for 8 to 10 hours. The ammonia will break down the stains and make them easy to remove with soapy water. 

Only use ammonia in a well-ventilated space. To protect yourself and your family, put the container with your stovetop components and ammonia in an isolated, low-traffic area of your home. 

Clean the ignition ports. If you notice your burners don't light as quickly as they should, you can probably blame your stove's ignition ports. Using a wire, paperclip, or safety pin, carefully remove any clogs that are stuck in the ignition ports.

Don't use breakable implements like a toothpick, skewer, or chopstick. They can break off in the port or leave behind splinters that can catch fire. 

Clean the burner. You may notice that your food is cooking unevenly. Check the burner to see if the flames are burning evenly and consistently. 

If they aren't, you may have a clog in one of the burner ports. Using the wire from before or a dry toothbrush, dislodge any food residue from the burner ports. 

Clean the knobs and touch panels. Like your phone screen, computer keyboard, and kitchen sink, your stovetop knobs get dirty because you touch them. Luckily, they're easy to clean.

The knobs on your stovetop should come off, making it simple to clean them with soapy water. Clean the surface beneath the knobs and any touch panels with a damp sponge. Be careful not to let the water reach any electronics.

Clean the exterior surfaces. First, wipe the surfaces using a damp sponge and warm soapy water. Stovetops with a black or white finish don't require further cleaning, so you can put your stove back together. 

You'll need a specialty cleaner if your stovetop has a stainless steel finish. Alternatively, you can use glass cleaner and a non-abrasive cloth to remove smudges, fingerprints, and streaks.

Cleaning Your Electric Stove (With Coils). Cleaning an electric stove with coils is nearly identical to cleaning a gas stove. Instead of cleaning the burners and grates, you'll clean the coils. 

You can either remove coils or tilt them up for easier access while cleaning. You can't submerge the coils like burner grates, so clean them carefully using warm soapy water and a plastic scrubber.

If you have a smoothtop electric stove, follow the cleaning suggestions for induction stovetops. 

Cleaning Underneath the Stovetop

Many gas and electric stovetops lift like the hood of a car. The space underneath catches spills and crumbs, so it's essential to clean it frequently to prevent fire hazards and bug problems. 

What You'll Need to Clean a Smoothtop Induction Stove

Gas, electric, and induction stovetops each offer the cook different perks. Induction cooktops are undoubtedly the easiest of the three to clean.

Since an induction stovetop is made of a glass-ceramic composite, you need special tools and cleaners to provide a deep clean and polish. You need:

  • Paper towels or a sponge for wet residue
  • A glass scraper for burned or dried residue
  • Specialty cooktop cleaner

Soap and warm water can get the job done in a pinch. Specialty cooktop cleaners polish the stovetop's glass and make it look brand new.

Cleaning Your Induction Stovetop

Cleaning your induction stove is easy. If you clean up messes as they happen using paper towels and a scraper, you're saving yourself future headaches. 

Like other stovetops, wipe down the controls, panels, and knobs monthly with a damp sponge and a little warm soapy water. You should also polish the glass surface monthly to get rid of smudges and maintain the shine.

Preventing Significant Messes On Your Induction Stovetop

You can't clean some messes easily. For example, dragging heavy cookware across the glass cooktop can leave scratches. 

Don't worry. Light scratches are inevitable if you frequently cook. Consider it a mark of pride and experience. 

Scratches don't affect the performance of your stovetop. Big scratches won't compromise the stovetop's integrity either. Things that can damage your smoothtop stove include:

  • Cookware with an abrasive bottom
  • Cookware with dried food stuck to the bottom
  • Plastic cookware because it can melt onto the glass 

How to Avoid Making a Mess in the First Place

Making a mess in the kitchen can be unavoidable. Some easy ways to clean less often include:

  • Avoid overfilling your cookware. Leave your food room to boil and simmer. 
  • When cooking greasy foods, use a splatter screen to keep grease from landing on the stovetop.
  • Use a spoon rest for any spatulas or spoons to keep residue from dripping onto the stovetop. 

When in Doubt, Read the Manual

If you're renting or recently moved somewhere new, you may not have access to your stovetop's manufacturer manual. Stoves have a brand and model, so you should find the user manual online. 

If you can't, these general cleaning guidelines should help you prolong the life of your stovetop and prepare many meals for your loved ones.

Show Sources

SOURCES: "Ammonia."

Consumer Reports: "How to Clean a Dirty Oven and Grimy Stovetop." "How to Clean a Smoothtop Range or Cooktop," "How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances."

Mississippi State University Extension: "Cleaning Your Electric Stove."

Office for People With Developmental Disabilities: "Stove and Oven Cleaning."

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