I Tried 4 Methods for Cleaning Glass Stovetops, and the Winner Got Every Gunky, Dried-on Bit

published May 31, 2024
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overhead shot of a dirty glass stovetop, labeled with 4 different methods of how to clean a glass stove top
Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer; Styling: Tom Hoerup

During the pandemic, my family moved into a new home with a glass induction cooktop. Before moving here, I have to admit I had never actually heard of this type of stove — but over the years, I’ve grown to love it so much I’m not sure I could live with anything else. It heats quickly and evenly, doesn’t heat up underneath (which allows me to have a fully stocked utensil drawer directly under the cooktop), and, of course, it’s much easier to clean than pretty much any other type of cooktop. 

But that doesn’t mean my cooktop always stays pristine. Not with my family of six! Recently, my glass induction cooktop was looking pretty crusty, so I jumped at the chance to test three natural cleaning methods (and one great product!) to see which was the best for getting a sparkling, streak-free clean on my glass stovetop. The winner was new to me, but it instantly became my new go-to!

Quick Overview

What is the best method for cleaning a glass stovetop?

Remove any debris from your cooktop and apply Bar Keepers Friend Multipurpose Cooktop Cleaner as directed, and let it sit for a few minutes. Cleanse the surface with a non-abrasive cleaning pad or sponge, wipe it away with a damp cloth, and wipe dry with a microfiber cloth.

How We Tested the Best Methods to Clean a Glass Cooktop

Because my cooktop has four burners, and because it was uniformly dirty all over, I was able to divide the cooktop into four “zones” for testing these methods. My cooktop was evenly filthy with dried-on pasta water and tomato sauce. 

It’s important to note that the glass on an induction cooktop is technically a glass/ceramic mix. (For scientific types, this allows for low thermal expansion properties.) For the rest of us, it simply means it’s fragile! A glass cooktop should be handled with care, and that means no harsh cleaners or abrasive scrubbers. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy using natural cleaning methods for my glass cooktop. 

The four methods I tested for cleaning a glass stovetop were as follows: baking soda, vinegar, and dish soap; lemon and baking soda; vinegar and dish soap; and Bar Keepers Friend Multipurpose Cooktop Cleaner. More on each method below.

The Ratings

For each method, I assigned a rating from 1 to 5. A rating of 1 means the cleaning method was completely ineffective, and 5 means it was the best without any room for improvement. I’ve also included my own personal thoughts on the cleaning method and what I liked and disliked most about each process.

Note: Even though each of these methods utilize natural ingredients (and one product that’s specifically designed for cleaning glass cooktops), it’s always a good idea to check the product manual for your specific cooktop before getting started. 

Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer; Styling: Tom Hoerup

Dirty Glass Stovetop Cleaning Method: Baking Soda, Vinegar & Dish Soap 

  • Rating: 2/5 

The method: Wipe down the cooktop with a dry microfiber cloth to remove any stray crumbs and sprinkle baking soda generously over the stovetop. Spray the stovetop with distilled white vinegar (in a spray bottle, or just cover the bottle’s opening with a finger as you gently pour), and the combination should start foaming. Cover the stovetop with a damp, soapy dish towel and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Use the dish towel to wipe everything up, getting the stovetop as clean as possible.

How it went: I didn’t love anything about this method. I’m not a huge fan of cleaning with a combination of baking soda and vinegar to begin with (although I do use it to clear drains!). I can’t stand the mess it makes, and the smell reminds me of those volcano science experiments I did as a kid. So, I wasn’t surprised that this wasn’t my favorite method. The baking soda and vinegar combo did clear away built-up gunk from my cooktop, but left it heavily streaky. The damp dish towel with dish soap would be a good finishing touch in theory, but in practice it was just more (smelly!) laundry for me, and I had to shake out all the wet, clumpy baking soda before throwing the towel in the laundry hamper. I wouldn’t spend the extra time and effort on this cleaning method in the future.

Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer; Styling: Tom Hoerup

Dirty Glass Stovetop Cleaning Method: Vinegar, Dish Soap & Water 

  • Rating: 4/5 

The method: Wipe the cooktop surface with a dry microfiber cloth to remove any loose debris, then combine equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle, adding a bit of dish soap for tougher stains. Apply the mixture to the surface and let it sit for a few minutes to break down the grime. Carefully cleanse the surface utilizing a non-abrasive cleaning pad. Remove the cleaning solution with a damp cloth, and wipe dry with a microfiber cloth.

How it went: For a natural alternative to spray-on cooktop cleaners, this method is the way to go. It’s an effective cleaner and leaves the cooktop shiny and streak-free. I found that just one or two drops of dish soap was enough to clean the cooktop without adding unnecessary soap residue (thus requiring more than one or two additional swipes to completely clear the cooktop). In addition, the mixture of water and dish soap cuts down on the pungent vinegar smell, which I personally dislike. You can easily mix it in a spray bottle and simply store it underneath your kitchen sink anytime you need to spritz your cooktop clean. I plan to continue using this natural cleanser for my cooktop in the future. 

Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer; Styling: Tom Hoerup

Dirty Glass Stovetop Cleaning Method: Lemon and Baking Soda 

  • Rating: 4.5/5 

The method: Cut a lemon in half, then squeeze the juice all over your cool glass cooktop — make sure there’s no heat at all. Use the lemon half to scrub the cooktop, spending extra time on spots with built-up food or grease. Sprinkle baking soda all over the cooktop surface. Grab an old towel and wet it with hot water. Wring out any excess water, and lay the warm towel over the lemon and baking soda-covered stovetop. Leave the towel in place for at least 30 minutes (the longer, the better). Using the damp towel, gently wipe the surface until all baked-on spills and baking soda are removed. “You will most likely have to rinse out the towel once or twice as you do this,” Kathy Cohoon, operations manager at Two Maids & A Mop, says. Add distilled white vinegar to a spray bottle and spray the stovetop with it, using a dry cloth to clean off any residue and buff until it shines. 

How it went: I was surprised that I loved this method — I figured the lemon would leave a residue (a constant battle with a glass cooktop), but it didn’t whatsoever. The combination of the lemon and the baking soda was very effective at removing crusty food stains, and overall this method left my cooktop totally clean and streak-free. I will definitely use this cleaning method if my cooktop ever gets super dirty again, with crusty, built-up food stains specifically. 

Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer; Styling: Tom Hoerup

Dirty Glass Stovetop Cleaning Method: Bar Keepers Friend Multipurpose Cooktop Cleaner 

  • Rating: 5/5 

The method: Wipe your cool cooktop surface with a dry microfiber cloth or paper towel to remove any loose debris. Shake the bottle and apply Bar Keepers Friend Multipurpose Cooktop Cleaner as directed — directly onto the cooktop or onto a damp, non-abrasive sponge. Rub the product all over the cooktop and let it sit for a few minutes to break down tough spots. Carefully cleanse the surface with a non-abrasive cleaning pad or sponge. Remove the cleaning solution with a damp cloth, and wipe dry with a microfiber cloth.

How it went: Especially if your cooktop has tough stains or crusty spots, this product is the way to go. It’s a simple and effective way to clean a glass cooktop that leaves a perfectly shiny finish without a single streak. If you’re all about stretching your money, it’s nice to note that Bar Keepers Friend can also be used on stainless steel or porcelain tubs, tiles, or sinks, and even copper, chrome, or brass finishes. So it has tons of other potential uses in your home as well. I’m definitely going to incorporate Bar Keepers Friend into my kitchen cleaning routine in the future!

The Winning Method

For a messy, crusty glass stovetop, Bar Keepers Friend Multipurpose Cooktop Cleaner got the job done in only a few minutes, which was quicker than most of the other methods. At $14.09 for a two-pack of 13-ounce bottles on Amazon, it comes out to just over $7 for a bottle, and about 54 cents per ounce, which isn’t too much of a splurge compared to other surface-specific cleaners. (You can also get the single bottle for $5.83 from Walmart, $5.19 on Instacart, or as low as $3.49 from The Home Depot.) In my humble opinion as a home cook, it’s worth the few bucks, as it was the best method I tested by far, plus it works on so many different surfaces all over the house.

That being said, all in all, you can’t go wrong with most of these methods — three of the four I’d definitely use again depending on how much time I have, what’s in my pantry, and how bad the mess is. The benefits of using baking soda, lemon, vinegar, and dish soap is that you likely already have them and don’t need to order anything specific. Whichever method you opt for, may your glass stovetop be sparkling!

Buy: Bar Keepers Friend Multipurpose Cooktop Cleaner, $14.09 for two-pack