Glass-top stoves are a much-admired kitchen appliance, both for their sleek, modern design and ease of use. They practically scream, "cook with me," especially when they're clean and gleaming. A shining stove is a welcome place for your pots and pans to whip up delicious meals. You plan, prep your family's favorite dish, cook it to perfection -- and then you have to clean it all up.
But there are tradeoffs for kitchen beauty, and glass-top stoves are notorious for being frustrating to keep clean. An oil splatter from homemade french fries will turn into a black burn if not wiped up immediately. The tomato sauce that bubbled over from your famous baked ziti is sure to become an annoying stain the next morning.
So you have a few tough stains -- don't go back to cooking on metal coils just yet! Here are five tips on how to keep your glass-top stove from becoming a grungy, frustrating mess.
Your dinner has been served, the table is cleared and the dishes are done. Before you dive into cleaning your glass-top stove, make sure the range is turned off and completely cooled. Spraying or applying any cleaning product it's hot can burn it right onto the glass, making an even tougher challenge for you. Fortunately, most glass-top stoves have a heat indicator light, so you don't risk burning your hand when checking to see if it's safe to clean. Once the light is off, it's safe to tackle whatever food stain awaits.
While you should keep a specialty cleaner handy for your glass-top stove, the answer to more immediate food dilemmas may be hiding in your kitchen. Baking soda, white distilled vinegar or lemon juice will work wonders for cleaning stubborn food stains. Wait until the glass top has completely cooled and wet a sponge or microfiber cloth with water. When using baking soda, pour it directly onto the range, and let it sit for a while. Scrub the surface with the wet cloth, and the burnt food should wipe off.
With lemon juice or vinegar, you'll need to do some quick ingredient mixing first. Fill a spray bottle with hot water, and add either lemon juice or vinegar. Spray the solution directly on the grimy stain, and wipe with a clean cloth. Repeat as necessary. For both methods, don't forget to rinse the clean spot again and wipe it completely dry with another cloth.
One hotly debated topic about keeping glass-top stoves in good shape is whether to use a razor or sharp scraper to assist in removing tough, grungy food stains. Reading the many public discussion forums about glass-top stoves will probably only confuse you more. Some people say you're risking an expensive product by bringing a sharp object near delicate glass. Others say if you use it on the right stain, such as burnt cheese or other residue, and you're very careful, a scraper will absolutely help keep the stove clean.
Appliance manufacturers do recommend purchasing a special scraper, which comes in a kit with a stove-top cleaner and soft cleaning pads. Here's what to do: Add a liberal amount of liquid cleaner to the area affected and use the scraper to lift burnt-on debris. Using some pressure, move in a forward and backward motion with the cutting edge of the knife. The cutting edge should be held as flat against the glass as possible, while still maintaining contact. Do not use the corner of the scraper or razor blade, as it can scratch the glass top.
There are many effective products on the market specifically for cleaning glass-top stoves. Most are thick and creamy salves that won't damage the stovetop. Here's how a routine cleaning should go when using these products:
- Add a small amount of liquid cleaner to the glass-top and quickly spread a thin layer over the surface of the stove.
- Allow the cleaner to set for about a minute. It should change from a liquid to a milky-white, dry consistency.
- Use a clean, dry cotton cloth to wipe the top thoroughly. Pay extra attention to any areas that feel rough to the touch.
- Once the cleaner has been removed, wipe down the surface of the stove again using another dry cloth.
- The stovetop should feel smooth. If not, repeat the process.
For really caked-on stains, try this method:
- Apply the liquid cleaner to the stain area, but don't let it dry. For burnt-on stains, the cleaner is used as a lubricant instead.
- If you have a scraper, now's the time to put it into action. Gently scrape the crust up from the glass until it's completely removed.
We can't stress this piece of advice enough. Grease, sauces and spills are tough enough to clean off a glass-top stove. If you get lazy and leave the cleaning for another day, however, those stains will spell disaster for you. Leaving errant food to sit or reheating burnt-on stains will only complicate your cleaning, and can possibly cost you a lot of money.
All food should be removed as soon as the stove is cool, but some foods are worse than others. Sugary or sticky spills, such as syrup or jelly, can actually make its way into the glass, causing pitting and cracking. Foods that get really stubborn when dried out, such as tomato sauce, grease or even water from an boiling pot require more pressure from you when rubbing out stains. This can also cause the glass to crack. A shattered glass top is usually not covered under a normal "wear and tear" warranty, so you would be responsible for replacing it. However, if you're vigilant about keeping your glass-top stove clean, you'll be rewarded with a stain-free, polished appliance that will bring you years of use and many memorable meals!
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- Do It Yourself. "Induction and Black Glass Cooktop - Stovetop Care and Repair." (June 1, 2012) http://www.doityourself.com/stry/inductblack
- General Electric. "Range - Cookware Used on a Radiant Smooth Glass Cooktop." Nov. 7, 2010. (June 1, 2012) http://www.geappliances.com/search/fast/infobase/10000221.htm
- General Electric. "Range - Glass Cooktop Cleaning Instructions." (June 4, 2012) http://www.geappliances.com/search/google/infobase/10001689.htm
- National Geographic. "An All Natural Way to Clean Glass Top Stoves." (June 1, 2012) http://greenliving.nationalgeographic.com/natural-way-clean-glass-top-stoves-2286.html