How to Clean Stove Burners (and the Rest of Your Stovetop)

We'll help you polish up this appliance's heating elements, whether you have a gas or electric stove.

Put simply, your stovetop can be one of the most annoying parts of your kitchen to clean. It becomes sticky and stained when pasta water bubbles over or tomato sauce splatters—and removing and washing its many elements (or scrubbing between its grooved ridges) always feels like a chore. Despite the nuisance, its important to thoroughly clean each corner and crevice, including the stove burners, which are the appliance's round heating elements. They're an easy area to miss even if you regularly wipe down your cooktop and often require some (gentle) elbow grease.

gas stove in modern kitchen
Alberto Guglielmi / GETTY IMAGES

To make your stove burners gleam, look to these expert-approved methods—and also learn how to tend to scratches and stuck-on stains and safely wipe down the rest of your stovetop.

Modern built-in oven and gas stove classic design in dark tones under light stone marble or granite countertop in interior of contemporary kitchen.

How to Clean Gas Stove Burners

If you have a gas stove (which generates flames to cook food), you'll need three key cleaning tools to refresh the burners, says Kathy Cohoon, the director of franchise operations at Two Maids.

Materials You'll Need

  • Baking soda
  • Small cleaning brush
  • Microfiber cloth

Follow Cohoon's steps when cleaning gas stove burners:

  1. Make sure the burners are completely turned off and cool.
  2. Using a paste of water and baking soda, buff the burners with paste and allow to sit for up to 30 minutes.
  3. Scrub any high-debris areas with a small cleaning brush.
  4. Wipe away the paste with a microfiber cloth and make sure the unit is fully dry before using.
modern electric stovetop scene in kitchen

How to Clean Electric Stove Burners

Contemporary electric stoves have burners that look like delineated circles on the top of the range.

Materials You'll Need

  • Baking soda
  • Sponge
  • Microfiber cloth

Follow these expert-approved steps to clean electric stove burners:

  1. Make sure the stove is turned off and the surface is cool.
  2. Using a baking soda and water paste, buff the top of the stove with a soft sponge.
  3. Wipe away the paste with a microfiber cloth and make sure it is fully dry and clear of debris.

How to Clean Coil Electric Stove Burners

If you have an older electric stove with raised coils for burners, you'll need to follow specific instructions to deep-clean them, says Cohoon.

Materials You'll Need

  • Hard-bristle brush
  • Gentle dish soap
  • Sponge

Follow Cohoon's best tips for cleaning coiled electric burners:

  1. Make sure the burners are completely turned off and cool.
  2. Detach and remove burners from the stove.
  3. Using a hard bristled brush, remove any dry debris, like old food or crumbs.
  4. Using a mix of gentle dish soap and warm water, wipe down the burners with a sponge.
  5. Scrub stains and spots as needed and rinse well.
  6. Allow to fully air-dry and reattach the burners to the stove.

How to Remove Stubborn Stains, Scratches, and Debris From Burners

Removing stains and scratches from your burners is easy, says Cohoon. Simply follow the aforementioned steps and repeat as needed; be sure to scrub more intently on problem spots. "When in doubt, buy a cleaning solution specifically made for your type of stove and burner," she says. "Follow all instructions from the manufacturer."

If you're having trouble removing stubborn debris, try "baking" the area by using your baking soda and water paste; saturate the spot and cover it with a warm, damp cloth, says Cohoon. This allows the heat to break down stuck-on messes. Leave to sit for up to 45 minutes and then wipe clean. Repeat this process as necessary.

How to Prevent Buildup on Your Burners

The best way to keep your stove burners free of gunk is by wiping them down between every use. Cohoon recommends a DIY cleaning solution of white vinegar diluted with water on your surfaces. Let the fluid sit on the burners for 10 to 15 minutes, then wipe off. "This method prevents further buildup in the future, as the vinegar does not allow grease to stick," she says.

How to Clean Your Stovetop

Now that your burners are in tip-top shape, it's time to move onto the rest of your cooktop. From stir-frying vegetables to heating up chicken noodle soup, the stovetop sees a lot of action on a regular basis. The good news is that it's straightforward to clean.

What You'll Need

While the exact tools will vary based on the type of cooktop you have—flat glass for electric models or raised grates for gas iterations—here are a few essentials to get you started:

  • Baking soda
  • Warm water
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Vinegar
  • Plastic spatula

Before you start to clean your stovetop, it's critical that the stovetop is completely cool. The above ingredients need a cool, dry space to work their magic—and you also don't want to burn yourself during this process. Our advice? Follow these steps in the morning, when your stove has had the entire night to cool down.

  1. If you have a glass stovetop, remove any crumbs or debris from the corners or rim with a plastic spatula, says Vera Peterson, president of Molly Maid, a Neighborly company. "We like this better than using a single edge razor blade or anything else sharp that may scratch the glass top surface," she says. "It is flexible and safe."
  2. Next, mix baking soda and warm water until you get a paste-like texture, says Steve Evans of Memphis Maids. "Apply to the surface of your stovetop, cover with a damp, warm microfiber cloth, and let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes," he says.
  3. Have a stain that needs some extra elbow grease? Add a sprinkle of distilled vinegar to your baking soda mixture, says Peterson. "Some people use the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers for extremely tough burn marks," she says. "These do work, but please use them cautiously as this substance is like a micro-fine sandpaper and can scratch the surface if you're not careful."
  4. Once time is up, remove your baking soda mixture with a dry microfiber cloth and wipe clean.

Helpful Stovetop Cleaning Tips

Consider your stovetop's materials: Handle ceramic stovetops, such as electric and induction cooktops, differently, says Evans. "You can't use metal pads or abrasive cleaners. Instead, you should go for soft sponges or microfiber cloths," he says.

Skip abrasive cleaners entirely: A big mistake is cleaning a stovetop with the incorrect products, says Justin Carpenter, founder of Modern Maids, a national house cleaning service. "Using improper tools, such as an abrasive sponge, can remove paint from the stovetop or cause discoloration," he says.

Don't rule out soap and water: While a baking soda paste can work nicely on gas and glass stovetops, Peterson shares that warm water and a little bit of dish soap will work nicely on an electric surface.

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