The 5 best stovetop cleaners of 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Whether you can barely boil water or are a gourmet cook, stovetops can get messy. When food drops and then burns onto surfaces, pots boil over, and hot grease flies everywhere, ignoring cleanup can leave sticky and stubborn residue.

That’s where stovetop cleaners come in. The best product for cleaning stovetops depends on the surface material: baked paint or porcelain enamel, ceramic (often called a glass cooktop), or stainless steel. There are even some differences in how you should safely clean a gas stove-top and an electric coil stove-top with drip pans, which we explain at the end of this guide.

After a lifetime of cooking in test labs and at home, I’ve cleaned every type of stovetop, tested dozens of cleaning products, and followed different care tips to find the best. And, because any type of cleaning that requires less elbow grease appeals to me, I’m always looking for the most effective, easiest to use, and greatest value in products.

Here are the best stovetop cleaners of 2021

The best stovetop cleaner for baked enamel

Zep cleaner

ZEP Heavy-Duty Citrus Degreaser will eradicate greasy film on both gas and electric baked enamel stovetops.

Pros: Easily removes grease, pleasant citrus odor, available in one-gallon size for easy bottle refills

Cons: Can damage granite countertops and painted wood surfaces, usually only available online or in home improvement stores

For decades, almost every home stovetop was constructed of baked porcelain enamel, a heavy-duty, heat-resistant material that is fused to the steel surface. Today, you can still purchase both gas and electric porcelain enamel stoves as well as matte-painted baked enamel finishes.

Both finishes are durable and easy to clean once you remove the greasy film that may coat cooking surfaces. With ZEP Heavy-Duty Citrus Degreaser, there’s no need for scouring with abrasive pads because its natural citrus solvents cut through grease. Simply spray it on, wait a few minutes, and then wipe away the sticky messes. Finish up with a clean cloth or sponge dipped in hot water for a final rinse.

I like to pour some ZEP into a separate spray bottle and dilute it 50/50 with water to use on small everyday messes. It’s effective and safe to use on stainless steel, aluminum, and other metal surfaces, too. Be sure not to use this cleaner on granite and painted wood surfaces as it can lead to damage.

For tough, burned-on food, spray on ZEP and allow it to work for at least five minutes. You can then use a rubber scraper to loosen the food and wipe it away.  If you have a free-standing or built-in stove, be sure to lift the stove-top or remove the drip pans to clean away any food that dripped inside. ZEP also offers gallon sizes for easy refills. 

The best stovetop cleaner for stainless steel

Amazon trinova stovetop cleaner

TriNova Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish not only eliminates kitchen grease and stuck-on food, it helps prevent them.

Pros: Removes grease and burned-on food easily, leaves stainless stove-tops streak-free, comes with a microfiber cleaning cloth, can be used on all stainless steel appliances

Cons: Not readily available in mass-market stores

Stainless steel stovetops have plenty of great qualities. They are extremely durable but can also show every water spot and smudge. They don’t hold up well under harsh scouring powders, steel wool, or abrasive sponges. Once the damage is done, there is no reversing the marred finish.

Not only does TriNova remove food splatters, grease, and smudges easily with a non-abrasive, water-based product, it also coats the surface of stainless steel to help repel messes so it stays shiny longer. Simply give the bottle a good shake and spray on the cleaner. The solution is slightly thick so it adheres to the surface.

TriNova includes a large microfiber towel with each purchase. Fold it into quarters and use one side to wipe the cleaner in the direction of the grain. Finish by using a dry side of the towel for a final buff of the surface to increase the shine.  When your stove-top is gleaming, don’t forget the dishwasher, sink, and refrigerator!

The best stovetop cleaner for ceramic stovetops

Weiman cook top cleaner

Ceramic stovetops are prone to scratching, and the Weiman Cooktop Cleaner Max is the perfect liquid agent for streak- and scratch-free stovetops.

Pros: Removes the worst burned-on messes and grease effectively, will not scratch ceramic surfaces, comes with a scrubbing pad

Cons: Does not remove scratches caused by knives, pots and pans, not readily found in all mass-market stores

After years of cleaning enamel and stainless steel cooktops, I encountered a smooth ceramic stovetop. It looked sleek and conducted heat well, but removing the overflow from a boiling pot was difficult until I found Weiman Cooktop Cleaner Max.

The micro-bead technology in the formula provides just the right amount of abrasive power to remove burned-on food and grease without scratching the surface. After cleaning with the lemon-scented paste and enclosed pad (that conveniently stores in the lid of the container) and rinsing, there are no streaks or watermarks at all.

Though it doesn’t remove scratches caused by knives, pots, and pans, it’s the most effective ceramic stovetop cleaner we found.

The best stovetop cleaner for gas grates

Austin's ammonia

With Austin’s Clear Ammonia Multipurpose Cleaner, you won’t have to scrub grungy gas stovetop grates and burner heads.

Pros: One-step cleaning, cuts through heavy grease and burned-on buildup, works well to remove smudges

Cons: Powerful odor, potential skin irritant, cannot be used in combination with other cleaners

I think we have established that we all love any type of cleaning that requires very little effort. If you own a gas stovetop, Austin’s Clear Ammonia Multipurpose Cleaner is the one-step cleaner that removes grease for a sparkling result.

All you need is a sealable plastic bag or container and the cleaner. Simply place the grates and burner heads in the bag and pour in just enough ammonia to cover the pieces. Seal up the container and let them “soak” for about eight hours or overnight. Remove the pieces, sponge them off with a bit of soapy water, rinse well with hot water, and they are sparkling clean! Just dry them and reinstall.

As with any too-easy-to-believe hack, there are a couple of things you should note. Ammonia has a very potent odor and should be used in a well-ventilated space. Never mix ammonia with other cleaning products, especially chlorine bleach, which can cause deadly gases. You should use tongs or wear protective gloves when removing stovetop pieces from the soaking solution to prevent skin irritation, too. Luckily, ammonia can be safely disposed of down the drain.

Once you discover the cleaning potential of household ammonia, you’ll find plenty of uses in the kitchen, laundry room, and throughout the house.

The best stovetop cleaner for electric drip pans

Mr. Clean magic eraser

For leftover bits of burned-on food on stovetop drip pans, Mr. Clean Extra Durable Magic Erasers work like a charm.

Pros: Eraser can be cut for specific cleaning jobs, disposable, removes tough grime

Cons: May dull the finish of new, highly polished drip pans

A small rectangular miracle cleaning tool, also known as  Mr. Clean’s Extra Durable Magic Erasers, uses melamine-foam activated with water as micro-scrubbers to remove stuck-on grime from nearly every type of surface — including electric stovetop drip pans.

I grew up with an electric stove with burner coils and drip pans that took lots of abuse. It was my mother’s favorite chore assignment for me: “Make those drip pans shine!” I spent plenty of time at the sink with hot water, scrubbing powders, and steel wool trying to get rid of burned-on food. 

To make cleaning simple, my first suggestion is to use Austin’s Clear Ammonia Multipurpose Cleaner to give the drip pans a soak that will cut through the grease and food on pans. If any bits linger, Mr. Clean will easily remove them.

I usually cut the erasers into smaller pieces that can be used to scrub away residue and then tossed after they become too messy. Finish by simply rinsing with warm water to remove any foam particles that might remain. Though they may dull the finish of newer, highly-polished drip pans, they work like a charm for an essential clean.

How to clean stovetops

how to clean stovetops

For the simplest cleaning process, I swear by daily wipedowns and then a thorough cleaning after a big cooking session. Here are some basic steps for a thorough cleaning:

  • Step 1: Always start with a completely cool surface and with everything turned off.
  • Step 2: Remove as many components like knobs, electric coils, drip pans, gas grates, and burner caps as possible. For gas stove-tops, cover the gas fuel openings with plastic wrap or a coffee cup to prevent splashing any cleaning solution into the opening.
  • Step 3: Place the loose components with heavy grease and burned-on food, in cleaning solutions to soak. Wipe down knobs and lightly soiled components so they are ready to reinstall.
  • Step 4: Wipe down the entire surface with a damp cloth to remove crumbs and light soil. Tackle tough stains using the proper cleaning product and tools for the specific type of surface to prevent damage and to leave it streak-free.
  • Step 5: Reassemble the stove-top and pledge to clean it after every use to make the job easier next time.

Check out our other kitchen cleaning guides

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