25. February 2014
Bacon grease, boiled-over pasta sauce, and baked-on cheddar cheese are just a few of the messes that assault the average stovetop over its lifetime. While gas stoves typically require an abundance of elbow grease to clean the crevices that never seem to stay spotless, glass-ceramic cooktops make cleaning even the toughest spills a snap — that is, if you know how to correctly clean them.
The rise of the glass-ceramic cooktop
The electric stove burst onto the scene at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, employing heavy iron plates as the heating surface. As the technology advanced, researchers developed the electric coil stove, which heated pots more efficiently. While it reduced cooking time, the surface was a bear to clean, forcing cooks to shimmy under the burners or remove the coils entirely to clean or remove baked-on food.
It wasn’t until the 1970s that glass-ceramic cooktops made a name for themselves in the kitchen. Due to the material’s infrared transmission, heat passes from the burner to the pot quickly and more evenly. Also since the surface is flat and non-porous, it can simplify cleaning efforts as long as you follow the right technique.
Cleaners to avoid
Many glass-ceramic cooktop owners turn to ammonia-based cleaners, such as Windex, when faced with caked-on food. A logical thought, considering Windex is a leading glass cleaner. Yet while ammonia can remove fingerprints and light dirt, it’s not strong enough to eliminate food remnants — especially once food or water becomes burned onto the surface. Also, once the cooktop is heated, ammonia can leave iridescent stains on the surface.
Other cooks, finding ammonia too weak to clean a glass-ceramic stovetop, turn to abrasive chemical cleaners, such as Ajax or Comet, or use abrasive sponges like Scotch-Brite Scour Pads. These cleaners are too harsh for glass-ceramic stovetops and can cause surface scratches. While these micro scratches can’t always initially be seen, they can appear over time, leading to a visually unappealing surface.
How to clean your glass-ceramic cooktop
If you’re seeking a simple stovetop cleaning method that doesn’t compromise cleanliness or integrity, here’s a step-by-step guide for how to clean a glass cooktop. The following tips are the absolute best way to clean a glass-ceramic cooktop. If you follow all of the steps (without taking any shortcuts) you’ll be more than pleased with the results.
Step 1: This is the most important step of the cleaning process, but it’s one most don’t know about. Use a metal scraper (you can find them at your local hardware store near the paint section) to clean off buildup. Hold the scraper at a 45-degree angle, making sure the blade stays flush with the surface, and scrape off any water or baked-on food. This is a surefire way to take off both baked-on food as well as water and mineral stains. Make sure to scrape off sticky items like sugar or jam instantly before the cooktop cools, but use a pot holder to grip the scraper so you don’t burn your hand.
Step 2: Once the cooktop cools, add a few drops of a SCHOTT-approved cooktop cleaner, such as Cerama Bryte, Carbona, or Affresh Cooktop Cleaner, and rub with a paper towel or soft rag. These cleaners are cream based and mildly abrasive, making them strong enough to cut through tough stains without leaving surface scratches. They can also clean off the iridescent stains left behind from ammonia cleaners. You don’t need to use a lot of cleaner. Too much product won’t hurt the stovetop, but it will take longer to fully remove.
Step 3: After rubbing down the surface with a certified cooktop cleaner, wet a soft cloth with water and wipe down the stove. Finally, dry the surface with a clean rag or paper towel.
Glass-ceramic cooktops offer an easy-to-clean alternative to gas or coil ranges. Their non-porous surfaces lock out food particles while their flat tops make cleaning as easy as a simple wipe. By following these three simple steps, home cooks can retain the beauty and functionality of their cooktops for decades.
Any other questions about cooktop care? Leave us a comment.