Are you someone that cringes at the sight of a dirty cooktop?
You are definitely not alone.
Yet you would be surprised by the number of cooktops that looks like that.
Don’t get me wrong, on any normal cooktop you will probably find a stain or two. But there are limits.
In this article we will cover the following:
Why it is important to clean your cooktop
How often should you clean your cooktop
What cleaning materials to avoid when cleaning your cooktop
How to keep your cooktop clean
Let’s dig in!
In this article I will discuss:
The importance of cleaning your cooktop
The first and foremost reason is hygiene.
When you have pieces of food and spills all around, it could go mouldy and encourage bacterial growth. In more severe cases it may even attract rodents and larger pests.
The second reason is aesthetics.
There is probably nothing worse in a kitchen than having a dirty cooktop, counter and microwave. Having any spills or pieces of food lying around just makes a bad and unpleasant sight.
You probably won’t get many guests over, either. Who would want to eat anything from an overly dirty kitchen? I say overly dirty because nobody is perfect, every kitchen probably has its spill and stain or two, but within limits.
The third reason would be to prolong the life of your appliances.
That is especially true for gas cooktops where you want to keep the burner holes open and free of debris. Ceramic glass cooktops, especially with radiant heat elements, work more efficiently if kept clean as opposed to having numerous spills forming another heat absorbing layer between the element and cookware.
The fourth reason that goes together with the third is for warranty purposes.
Warranties usually don’t cover misuse and neglect. General maintenance is implied. Depending on the manufacturer, when there is a cooktop malfunctioning and said cooktop was not kept clean, at least to a generally acceptable level, the warranty may be voided at the discretion of whoever inspects the cooktop on behalf of the manufacturer or reseller.
When and how to clean your cooktop
A cooktop should be cleaned every time after use. To be more specific, you have four phases of cleaning and these phases are being defined by what type of spill you have.
Check out our article on cleaning ceramic glass induction cooktops. The principles in terms of spills are almost the same for all different kinds of cooktops. How you clean them, though, differs slightly.
The first is spills that contain any form of sugar. That can be substances like caramel, chutney, jam and sweet chilli sauce. Burnt sugar can penetrate the surface of cooktops and permanently stain them. So these spills you clean immediately.
You switch off the cooktop, remove the pot or pan and let it cool down just enough to be able to clean the spill with a damp lint-free cloth. You could thereafter use cooktop cleaner if necessary, before commencing cooking.
The second kind of spill is just your general spills of solids and liquids. These you can wipe with a damp lint-free cloth right after you have finished cooking.
This cleaning session is not necessarily to clean the cooktop of all spills, but just to get most spills and solids cleaned up to have the cooktop in a decent state until you clean your whole kitchen after you are done cooking.
The third type of spill is the one you clean up with your major clean, the one after you are done cooking for the meal. You use cooktop cleaners and lint-free dish cloths for that. Weiman makes some good cleaners and EZ Brite cooktop cleaner is also a good product that you could use on ceramic glass cooktops, as well as stainless steel and enamel surfaces.
Clean the cooktop with the cleaners and cloth and wipe with a clean damp lint-free cloth afterwards.
For stubborn and burnt spills you could use a product like the Affresh cooktop cleaning kit. It has the scraper (to scrape off hard burnt spills), cleaner as well as cleaning pads.
The last type is watermarks caused by hard water which is water with higher concentrations of calcium and magnesium compounds. Just use distilled vinegar and a cloth for this. The vinegar will dissolve the mineralized calcium and magnesium.
After cleaning the watermarks, wipe the cooktop a few times with a lint-free cloth dampened by distilled or bottled water. Certain kitchen water filters are also capable of softening water by getting rid of the excess calcium and magnesium.
Cleaning materials to avoid when cleaning your cooktop
Any abrasive materials like steel wool and steel brushes should be avoided at all costs. There are instances where you could use them on grates for example, but definitely not on your cooktop surface.
We would also recommend to stay away from any of these homebrews that are used by some to clean all sorts of things around the house. We are big supporters of quality cooktop cleaners which you can buy almost anywhere. Weiman is just one brand that has quality cooktop cleaners in their range.
How to keep your cooktop clean
Be mindful when you are cooking. Don’t overfill pots and pans. If in doubt about quantities, rather go for the bigger pot or pan.
Don’t rush. When you rush, you spill. Cooking is an art, take you time. And enjoy it while you are doing it.
Get into the habit of quickly cleaning spills. That way you keep your cooktop clean and you manage to clean up the spills before they burn and then cool down and become harder to clean.
When frying, use covers and lids. That way you don’t have oil going everywhere.
There is no magic way to prevent spills altogether. All you can do is try and minimize spills and when you do spill, clean it up preferably sooner than later. That way you keep your cooktop clean.