Entertainment, Health and Lifestyle

The Ultimate Guide to the Care and Cleaning of a Glass Cooktop

When it comes to kitchen appliances, nothing says modern and sleek like a beautiful, new, electric, smooth-top ceramic or glass cooktop. It’s a financial investment that deserves the utmost maintenance and care.

While a smooth-top beats a coil-element cooktop in the style department, it requires a different kind of proactive care to keep it looking good while preventing discoloration and scratching.

With smooth-top cooktops, it’s all about prevention. If you think of your cooktop as a delicate possession that requires your protection, you’ll be way ahead of the game. That means being well aware of what not to do.

What to Avoid

Do not use cast iron or stone cookware on a smooth-top cooktop or range. Period. The bottom of these types of cookware can be rough, even gritty to the touch. Any movement on that cooktop can leave permanent scratches.

Do not drag heavy pots on the cooktop; lift and transfer to another area of the cooktop to reduce the risk of scratching.

Never allow abrasive cleaners, free Scotch-Brite sponges (the blue non-scratch version is OK) or metal pads near the cooktop.

Do not allow spills to linger. When boiling or cooking with sugary substances, take care not to spill these on a smooth-top cooktop. A sugar substance can discolor the cooktop, leaving yellowish areas that are impossible to remove. Clean up such spills quickly.

Never stand on top of the cooktop to reach something high up. Never place anything heavy on a smooth-top cooktop, even temporarily.

Do not place stirring utensils on a warm cooktop while you cook. Food on these utensils can mark or burn the cooktop, leaving a mess that needs more time to clean.

Do not place glass bakeware (from the oven) to cool on a smooth-top cooktop. Place these items on a counter to cool.

How to Clean

Here’s the rule: If you wouldn’t use it to clean your eyeglasses, don’t use it on your smooth top. Always reach for a soft sponge or cloth and a cream cleaning solution.

— Bar Keepers Friend now makes a cooktop cleaner (about $8 for a 13-ounce bottle) that gets rave reviews from manufacturers and smooth-top owners. Another highly recommended option is Cerama Bryte Cooktop Cleaner (about $10 for 28 ounces).

— Homemade cream cleaner. Make a paste of 50/50 baking soda and Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. Stir until smooth. Using a non-scratch sponge, work this cream in circles over the entire cooktop. When you’re done, rinse with a wet towel followed by a microfiber cloth to polish the glass surface.

— Homemade heavy-duty smooth-top cleaner. This is for tough spots and any stuck-on food that spilled while cooking. Combine 1 cup water and 1 cup white vinegar in a spray bottle. Add 10 drops of lemon essential oil. Shake well. Once the cooktop has cooled, sprinkle baking soda directly on the tough spots. Spray the baking soda with the vinegar mixture. Wait until the baking soda stops fizzing and wipe clean with a very soft cloth or sponge, using the texture of the powder to scour off the grease. This will not scratch the surface. Repeat as needed until you’ve taken care of any tough spots.

— Remove discoloration. The natural oils and acids in food cooked on the stovetop can leave behind dark or light stains on the surface. Restoring discoloration from a ceramic cooktop involves proper cleaning. Follow these steps to get your cooktop back to looking new.

Apply a cream ceramic cooktop cleaner (see above) once the area cools. Rub using a soft scrubbing pad made for this purpose (the Cerama Bryte Ceramic Cooktop Cleaner Kit comes with five cleaning pads), rubbing deep into the stain. The abrasive nature of a scrubbing pad that has been designed specifically for a glass cooktop helps release the stain to remove stubborn discoloration. Wipe the area with a wet paper towel or microfiber cloth.

— Remove scratches. It’s best to never allow your cooktop to get scratched. Still, if you have scratches you cannot live with, you may be ready to bring out the big guns. An automotive scratch remover (you won’t find anything better than Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound) is designed to remove scratches to a clear-coat, glasslike finish. Follow the instructions on the label or apply the automotive scratch-removing compound with a soft cloth, and buff the scratch gently. Allow the scratch remover to dry, then wipe off the compound with a dry cloth.

You can find more information on the resources mentioned above at EverydayCheapskate.com/cooktop.

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Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/ . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

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