Your stove top takes the brunt of spills and splatters (is that spaghetti sauce from last week?). Whether yours is gas or electric, follow these three simple steps to clean and make it look like new.
For gas stoves, take off grates and soak them in hot, sudsy water. Remove stains with a sponge, then rinse and towel dry. For electric stoves, remove the coils and wipe with a sponge; do not submerge them in water. Remove reflector bowls and soak them in hot, soapy water. If you can remove the knobs, wipe them with a wet sponge but don’t soak them in water or use ammonia, as it can erodes the markings. When replacing knobs, check that they are in the “off” position.
Dried-on goo can be tougher to budge than a toddler in the toy aisle. Begin by applying a paste of equal parts water, baking soda, and salt, then cover with a wet cloth and wait a few minutes. The paste should loosen stubborn stains. Wipe the entire area with a damp (but not sopping) wet cloth, then dry. If you have a stainless steel stove top, be sure to rub with — not against — the grain.
Although ceramic- and glass-top stoves may appear easier to clean, they are equally prone to stubborn stains. Sprinkle the glass top (only when cool, of course) with baking soda, spray with vinegar, and wait 15 minutes. This will loosen any baked-on gunk and make it easy to clean with a wet cloth or sponge. You can use a rubber pan scraper to remove particularly adamant buildup on any type of range.
If your gas burners seem sluggish, use a flashlight to see if the fuel ports are plugged. If there is blockage, use a bent paperclip to gently remove debris.
The best way to keep your stove top clean is to wipe up spills as soon as possible. Sprinkle table salt on spills to absorb moisture and make messes easier to clean once the stove is cool.