Yes, it is possible to clean your cooktop really well without using harsh chemicals. Maybe you have kids or pets that you want to keep safe, or maybe you want to just be generally healthy and be more environmentally friendly. No matter the reason, here is a step by step illustrated guide for how to clean your stovetop safely.
The overall gameplay behind this cleaning method
Have you noticed that it's possible to get even the dirtiest of dishes clean in your sink without using harsh chemicals? You'd never use some of the harsh specialty cooktop cleaners on plates you actually eat from, right?!
Here we'll use safe techniques for cleaning ultra-dirty dishes and apply it to the stovetop. Let's go!
1. Wipe the knobs and display area
Get a sponge and put a bit of detergent on it, wipe it over the display area, the top ledge of the display area, and all of the knobs. Then rinse out the sponge and wipe with just the damp sponge (no detergent).
If you're doing the whole method weekly or every 2 weeks, you should never wind up with anything that won't come off on the display area (yay!) But if it's been longer and you need to do a deep clean, you may need to repeat this step an extra time before going on to the next step - use plenty of scrubbing in that case.
2. Squirt detergent over the stovetop, then gently spread around with a sponge
This is the easiest and most fun part! Just get your detergent and squirt it over the stovetop - a zigzag or crisscross pattern is fine. Then very gently spread around the detergent with a sponge to ensure that all parts of the cooktop surface are in contact with the detergent.
To use our dish cleaning analogy, this is like leaving a dish to soak in detergent.
The type of detergent doesn't matter. I've done this with whatever detergent I happen to have on hand - as you can see, in this case it was Ajax. But I've used various types and they've all worked fine - environmentally friendly detergents, regular detergents, anything.
3. Leave for 5 to 10 minutes
Fix yourself a cup of coffee! Or make a start on another chore while you're waiting.
If you have kids under the age of 5, if the kids don't need you right away then definitely do the coffee or just relax with your feet up!
Remember, this is like soaking a dish, so we do want to wait to be sure that the detergent comes in contact with grease and will start breaking it down. The surface will look a little bit watery and blah like in the image below - that's normal, it shouldn't have lots of foam or bubbles.
4. Using a harder sponge, scrub in all directions
Once the wait time is over, grab a slightly harder sponge. Do not use steel wool or a steel or metal scrubbing pad! Those will damage your cook top. If you don't have a hard sponge, or if you're worried about accidentally scratching your stovetop, simply use the same sponge as before but apply more force.
You'll want to scrub in all directions. This brings the dirt to the surface. Your cooktop should look something like this:
In our dish cleaning analogy, this is like scrubbing our soaked dish really well to remove stains. Use plenty of elbow grease!
5. Using the soft sponge, wipe up the foam and the dirt that comes with it
All of the dirt will be in the foam at this point, so wipe it up with your soft sponge. This will take many goes! If you have a light-colored sink that you're rinsing the sponge into, you may notice that when you rinse this sponge (or when you rinsed the last one) that dirt is actually coming off. You may see a slight amount of light brown or gray color. This won't be visible if you're using a standard stainless steel sink, but rest assured you are removing dirt and grease!
So basically just gently wipe up the foam, rinse the sponge, and repeat until there's no more foam left. In our analogy that's like washing the dirt off a dish in the sink.
Even if you don't see the dirt, it does work! The result is a nice, clean stovetop.
I hope this was helpful to you in making your cleaning safer around kids and pets. And if you're looking for discounts and deals on kids clothes, you may like to check out my article on the 6 best budget-friendly kids clothing stores - all of these are style-conscious and will have your kids looking great.