Keeping your glass top stove looking like new can be tricky, so be sure to clean up spills immediately.

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Most people would agree that the perfect kitchen appliance works beautifully and looks great, kind of like the perfect date -- intelligence plus good looks. At first glance, glass top stoves fit the bill. The continuous ceramic glass surface is contemporary, attractive and suggests unsurpassed ease-of-cleaning, inspiring daydreams of all sorts of extra time for fun and play. Since the heating elements lie underneath the surface, gone are your days of taking the stove apart to clean it, gouging food bits from nooks and crannies, and soaking drip pans to remove cooked-on grease. For a glass stovetop, a swipe with a cloth and some cream cleanser removes most spills.

Owners of these ranges will tell you, though, that there's a trade-off for this elegance. Like a second date when that perfect guy or gal begins to reveal a high-maintenance personality, maintaining these stovetops requires a little more vigilance than traditional porcelain stoves. But vigilance will pay off big time in keeping the surface free from stains and damage.