Clean Your Stove Burners in Just 4 Steps

Learn how to restore your stovetop to its former just-off-the-shelf glory.

Let’s face it, the worst part of cooking is the cleanup–especially when you’ve got spattered spaghetti sauce baked onto your stovetop.

And to make matters worse, when food splatters go uncleaned, they become tougher and tougher to remove every time you use your stove. Eek! Let’s be honest: deep cleaning your stovetop probably isn’t something you’re doing regularly, so you might have a bit of a crusty food situation on your hands.

Fear not! We’ll take the three most common cooktops–electric, gas, and glass–and break down the steps for getting them cleaned up so you can get on with your life and return to living out your top-chef dreams. Because the last thing you want to do is clean it incorrectly and ruin your whole appliance or shudder have your rental deposit taken away. It’s also a good idea to refer to your stovetop manufacturer's manual for care and cleaning instructions.

Cleaning a electric stovetop

Cleaning an electric stovetop can seem a little intimidating. After all, how do you get beneath the burners to the food that’s fallen through their cracks? And what happens if the burners get wet? Aren’t electric appliances and water mortal enemies? Fear not! We’re here for all your pressing electric stovetop questions and we’ve got some answers.

Step one: Wait for the burners to completely cool. Electric burners can be deceiving; you think they’re cool because they’re not bright orange anymore, but (ugh) they might still be pretty hot. Hover your hand over the burner and if you feel heat, they’re not ready for cleaning quite yet. Once the burners are cool, gently tug and lift then out from their connection point. If you have questions about how to do this, check your stove’s user manual.

Step two: Wipe the burners down with dish soap and water. Dawn is the perfect match for this job because of its grease-cutting power. Just give each grate a gentle scrub-a-dub-dub with a sponge or dishcloth, being careful not to ever submerge the burners in water completely. While you’re at it, give the rest of the stovetop a wipedown.

Step three: If the burners still have bits of cooked-on-food after the soap and water treatment, try the tried-and-true baking soda method. Make a paste from baking soda and water in a bowl, then apply it to the gross spots and let it sit for 20 minutes. Conveniently, just enough time to stream an episode of your favorite throwback sitcom. Then, scrub and rinse. Could these burners BE any cleaner?

Step four: Dry the burners completely and replace them back on the stovetop. But seriously, make sure they’re totally dry. Water and electricity don’t mix! I know you have things to do and places to be, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Cleaning a gas stovetop

Aaaah, the gas stove, every cook’s dream appliance chef’s kiss. If you have a gas stove, the good news is: it’s relatively easy to clean. Plus, we even have a trick for tough stains that doesn’t require any hands-on work. Your grease-less elbows will thank us later.

Step one: After using your stove, wait for the grates and stovetop to cool completely (trust us, you don’t want to shortcut this step), then remove the grates and put them in your sink. We recommend doing this after you’ve eaten dinner and are back in the kitchen cleaning up your dishes. This will give everything time to cool down.

Step two: fill your sink up with water and a few drops of gentle dish soap like Dawn. Soak the stove grates in soapy water for 15 minutes. While they’re soaking, go ahead and use that soapy water to wipe down the rest of the stovetop. A sponge or dishcloth is the perfect tool. Once your stovetop is sparkling, turn your attention back to the grates. Use that same sponge or dishcloth to scrub down each grate, paying special attention to all the bits of stuck-on food.

Step three: If your stove grates are still feeling worse for the wear, try this trick. Partially fill a ziplock bag with ammonia, stick the grates in the bag, zip it up, and leave them to soak overnight. It’s a good idea to put the bag in the sink, just in case it leaks. In the morning, you’ll wake up to squeaky clean stove grates. Simply take them out of the bag, use a sponge to loosen any remaining residue, and rinse. And voila! Your grates will be as good as new.

Step four: Dry the grates with a towel, put them back in their place, and stand back to marvel at your good-as-new stove.

Cleaning a glass stovetop

A clean glass stove is a thing of beauty. I mean, who doesn’t love a stovetop that can also be used as a mirror in a pinch? Unfortunately, if you do any cooking at all, its glamour shot is probably ruined by cooked-on food pieces and grease splatters. But don’t worry: After following these four steps, you’ll be back to covertly checking yourself out while stirring risotto in no time.

Step one: Wait until the stovetop has completely cooled. A boring step, but a very important one. Most stoves have indicator lights that let you know if the surface is hot, but if yours doesn’t, hold your hand close to the stovetop (without touching it). If you feel the heat radiating up towards your hand, it’s not cool yet.

Step two: Put some distilled white vinegar into a spray bottle and spray down the surface of the stovetop. Then, sprinkle baking soda on top and watch the science experiment unfold. Put a damp, hot towel over the top and let everything sit for 15 minutes. Once time is up, remove the towel, then rinse and wipe up everything with a sponge or cloth.

Step three: If you’re still left with grime after step two, it might be time to bust out a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Just wet it, squeeze out the excess water, and wipe. It won’t damage the glass, and it’ll get your stovetop looking great in no time.

Step four: Wipe down the surface with a damp cloth and dry with a towel. That’s it, that’s the step!

And there you have it. Now you’re armed with all the info you need to restore your stovetop to its former just-off-the-shelf glory. And hey, here’s one final step: order takeout to reward yourself for all your hard work and enjoy a clean stove for at least one night before it gets dirtied again.

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