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how to get blackened crud off of stovetop?

I am not the best housekeeper in the world. I freely admit this. I have been having a heck of a time trying to get the burned-on layer of brownish-black gunk off of the top of my stovetop. I have a fairly simple Frigidaire gas range with white (porcelain??) coating.

No matter how careful I am not to have any spills or food bubbling out of pots/pans, it seems that this layer of stuff just consistently reappears and builds up around the burners. I've tried just about every kind of stovetop cleaner, gunk cleaner, kitchen cleaner, etc. in an attempt to remove this stuff but nothing seems to make a difference. I just wind up spending an hour or two scrubbing away and eventually giving up until the next time. I've even used razor blades to try to get it off... sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

The top surface is totally scratched up and knicked from my cleaning attempts with brushes, sponges, blades, etc. I don't really care about that at this point. I would just like to know if there is anything I'm missing when it comes to trying to clean a stovetop.

My mother-in-law has almost the same unit and hers is spotless. I asked my husband how she did it and he said "that's simple--she doesn't cook" which is a fair enough point. Should I just accept that my stovetop isn't going to look all that great since I spend so much time cooking?

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  1. Have you tried Totally Awesome, they sell it at the 99 cent store (for 99 cents). I use it when all else fails for things like this. But, to keep things sparkling clean, you have to clean things constantly. I know this because I don't , not because I do!

    1. I also have a terrible problem with gunky build-up but luckily, my stove top is black so it doesn't show as much. When I can't stand it anymore, I make a thick paste out of baking soda and water, then slather that on the gunk. I let it sit for a few minutes then wipe it up. It doesn't take it all off, but it makes a vast improvement!

      1. If your stove tope is porcelain, oven cleaner will work. The porcelain is fired on, like the oven interior so oven cleaner will not hurt it. Just do not get it on any of the non-porcelain coated areas.

        You state that the stove top is scratched and nicked so the staining you are seeing is in the pores of the porcelain, rather than resting on top and may be not only more difficult to remove but normal splatters from cooking will be more difficult to remove. And we all have splatters. Just keep a damp dish towel handy and wipe as they happen. The heat from cooking, if your top is scratched or abraded as you have indicated, sort of cooks them in over time. Regarding that your cooktop is going to look "not great", you can order a replacement from Frigidaire, or continue spending gobs of money on cleaning products and your own energy fighting a continuous battle. If you go the new top route, be gentle when cleaning.

        1 Reply
        1. re: dcrb

          +1 for oven cleaner. You could also try something called Cerama-Bryte which is sold in major appliance stores. Cerama-Bryte is a cream product; put a blob on the crud and let it sit for a few minutes. To avoid in the future, clean the stove top when the spills are fresh. I know, it's a pain in the butt. I use a few quick sprays of vinegar and a j-cloth.

        2. Previous stove had "pans" that fit over burners... to catch spills and could be removed easily to clean. Current stove doesn't. I buy those cheap foil thingies that slip over burner and under grate/grid... whatever those things are called.

          1 Reply
          1. re: kseiverd

            Oh yeah, for a coil stove right kseiverd? I remember those. Dollar store.

          2. For porcelain and stainless cooktops and pans, normal "easy off" oven cleaner works really well. I have an All-Clad Copper-Core that ended up with some black specs inside I could not scrub away. Easy-off took care of it and I didn't notice any effect to the "sheen" of the stainless steel (I was careful to avoid the copper).

            The easiest thing is to wipe your cooktop down after use. The stuff you don't see after cooking is what turns black the next time you cook.

            1. Ammonia (diluted) should do it. Place a peper towel over the area to be cleaned, and wet with ammonia water.

              After it's clean, clean the area right after use to keep it clean. It's harder to clean if neglected.

              1. Bar Keepers Friend.

                Works like a charm without scratching.

                1 Reply
                1. re: NotJuliaChild

                  Love Bar Keepers Friend, but still not strong enough for those of us who are bad at cleaning regularly enough.

                2. soak in plain bleach right out of the bleach bottle. i do it to my glass cake dishes when i use them and part might get burned or when i cook to cook barbequed ribs and when i make lasagnatoo, i just soak it in bleach and the next morning i just rinse all the burned junk down the drain into the garbage disposal..

                  1. I have tried Totally Awesome, oven cleaner and the peroxide and baking soda nothing will budge the gunk on my stove top. Any other suggestions

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: paulhbg

                      I'm surprised oven cleaner didn't do it. Are you soaking the gunk with it and letting it sit for a couple hours to loosen it up? I've gotten burnt sugar, burnt milk, etc off easily with oven cleaner.

                      1. re: paulhbg

                        I'm going to try the oven cleaner/degreaser again myself and let it sit for a few hours, bu I'm in the same boat as Paul. I've tried darn near everything like the poster above. I've even used commercial/industrial strength cleaners, but the problem is, I never clean the stove top, so the 2 times a year I do, only about 80% of the stuff comes up with oven cleaner/commercial windex/bleach/vinegar/baking soda/razor blades/etc. The remaining bit just will not come up, and now those parts that refused to come up over the years seem to be stronger than the porcelain itself.

                      2. My 12 year old smooth top looks like new. It gets cleaned frequently with soft scrub.

                        1. I use TKO Orange cleaner. It is natural, made from orange peels... No poison on my stove please ... and it gets off even the worst of the burnt on junk in a few seconds with almost no elbow grease necessary. It seems a bit expensive, but you dilute it before use. So a little jar equals a huge amount of cleaner. It is the best natural cleaner on the market that I have found. It works better then most of those poisonous / toxic ones too. I love it and use it all over our house.

                          1. I have found the answer! I have had thick black hardened gunk on my stainless steel stove for a year- until tonight.

                            Three words: Boiling Hot Water. Heat it in a kettle and flood the stove with it. Get out your rubber gloves while it soaks for five minutes. Scrape it away with a plastic device (credit card, plastic putty knife, hard plastic spatula). Scrub the rest. Remove water with a turkey baster/sponge/towel.

                            Works best while the water is still very hot. I did it twice and found the second pass was even better.

                            1. I use oven cleaner on my tempered glass cook top and Crud Cutter. On the enameled grates I discovered, accidentally, that Soft Scrub with Bleach does an amazing job.