How to Clean a Smooth Top Range / Stove

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Dear Home-Ec 101:

I have a glass smooth-top stove. Recently I managed to burn it pretty badly – I think there were some food particles either on the burner or the bottom of my pot because when I put the pot on the burner, it sizzled and then a very bad burning smell filled the air.  I immediately removed the pot from the burner, but there were scorch marks on the pot and ‘melted stuff’ on the burner.  I was able to scrub the pot bottom clean, but I am not sure what to do about the burner, and it’s my ‘favorite’.  I tried cleaning it with soap and a sponge, but that did not help.  I’m afraid to scrub it because these kinds of stoves scratch really easily.  I googled it, and there are so many recommendations I’m at a loss for where to start.  Suggestions?

I also have a second smaller burner that started smoking the other day when I removed the pan.  There was a dark line of something across it, but in addition to smoking, it was also releasing a chemical smell, plastic, maybe?  I did get the mark cleaned up with soap & water, but when I turned the burner on last night, it still has that funny smell.

Stumped in Stovington

You’re right to be careful. One of the drawbacks to smooth top ranges is their propensity for becoming scratched. There are several cleaners made specifically for the job, and you should always defer to your manufacturer’s instructions to avoid using a cleaner that voids the warranty.

For what it’s worth, GE only recommends Cerama Bryte, which I have used in the past, and it is a good product.

Never clean your cooktop while it’s still hot.

There are two reasons for this. First, you could burn yourself. Secondly, if you use a room temperature or colder product on the hot surface you may crack the cooktop.

My favorite cleaning product for stubborn, burnt-on food is Bar Keepers Friend®. BKF is safe for smooth top ranges and glass. Dampen the stove, sprinkle it on and give the oxalic acid a little bit of time to work. Then wipe with a damp cloth. If the burnt on stain is particularly thick, you may need to repeat the application several times.

Quick tip: Buy BKF at your local big box store and skip it in the fancy cooking outlets. I’ve seen it sold for 4 – 5x as much in those places.

You may need to use a Razor Scraper for especially difficult, burned-on stains. Yes, just like you would use to remove excess paint from a window pane. Hold the razor blade to the cooking surface at a 45° angle and carefully scrape away the residue. Then clean and polish as usual.

Regularly polishing your stove top helps make everyday stain removal a little easier. The protective coating fills in the tiny nicks and scratches that we can’t see, keeping particles out. Additionally, regularly wiping the burners can prevent oils from polymerizing on the hot surface. Polymerized oil is a nightmare to remove.

Good luck!

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17 thoughts on “How to Clean a Smooth Top Range / Stove”

  1. I had never thought of Bar keepers Friend! Will have to get some of that! Everytime I look at my stovetop, I think *what was I thinking?* buying the flat top! I like the way it looks, but is so difficult to keep nice looking!
    When you say polish, are you speaking of another step, Heather, after the cleaning?
    My recent post Staying focused as a work-at-home mom

  2. Cerma Bryte is a polish, I have some polish under a different brand name. Using that consistently helps keep the stove cleaner in general. The BKF is my favorite for the burnt on food.

  3. The only thing I've found that gets off badly burnt on food is a razor blade. Get the single edge kind that goes into a little handled gadget that is meant for this type of use.After a friend told me about it, I found it on the hardware rack in the supermarket. And yes, it is safe for your cooktop. It was actually recommended in the directions that came with mine.

  4. I use a razor scraper on anything built up. Then for stains on the outer edges of the burner I apply a baking soda and water paste. Let it set for 10 to 15 minutes then scrub lightly with a wet towel. Finish off with a glasss cleaner. Super cheap and effective. I have cleaned my stove this way for over ten years.

  5. I also have a glass-top range. I'm going to have to try that razor thing! Ours has five eyes, and it's pretty obvious which eyes we use the most! My husband used to work for Home Depot, so he knew about Bar Keepers Friend, so I use it often to remove all the burnt-on whatevers. Also, I have found that once I have it all clean, spritzing it with Windex makes it especially sparkly!

  6. I have had good luck cleaning my glass stovetop with a mix of 50-50 hot water and white vinegar. I pour it on and put a rag or towelling over it and let it soak, then use a non scratch pad. Repeat as needed

    • Great advice, it works on the same principle, the acid helps dissolve some of the mess on the stove. I use vinegar a lot in my cleaning. BKF is oxalic acid, which is also safe for contact with food preparation surfaces.

  7. I burnt a pot to the top of my brand new flat top stove. I wanted to steam veggies and accidentally turned on the pot without water in in. It left the metal form the bottom of the pot burnt onto the surface. Will this come off? I'm afraid to try the razor. I don't want to add scratches to it.

    • Hi Joanne, if your stove is new, I would call the manufacturer's customer service line and ask them for the best way to deal with your problem. I don't want to give advice that would accidentally void the warranty.

      What kind of pan was it?

      • I also burnt a pan on a glass cooktop stove, by letting all of the water boil away. There are bits of metal from the bottom of the pan still stuck to the glass surface.
        The warranty has expired on this one, so there is no need to worry about voiding the warranty.

  8. I recently moved into a house that has a Whirlpool glass top stove. The burn mark rings around the burners are quite prominent and I’m not sure how long they’ve been there. Will I be able to get it cleaned and is there anything that I should NOT use?? Thanks!

  9. Thank you so much for this article. I thought I was going to have to get a new stove top, because I had no idea how to clean it.  I used the Bar Keepers Friend on my Kenmore Stove and it made it look brand new!  I will post about this on my blog and be giving credit back! Plus, I am now following you on G+!
    <a href=””>Frugal and Fun Mom</a>

  10. What do you use for everyday cleaning of it? Not too get something in particular off, but just for a standard wipe down? Vinegar? BKF?

  11. It’s not the burnt food that I’m worried about so much because I can remove that. I can’t figure out how to remove the stains that are left after the big clean-up. The stains look like they are embedded into the glass. The stovetop surface is smooth and shiny but the grayish looking stains will not go away! Please help!


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