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Appliances

How to clean an induction stovetop

Induction ranges need more attention than just a wipedown after cooking.

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Induction stovetops provide a clean-looking, flat surface for making dinner. Without all of the nooks and crannies of a gas or electric coil stovetop, they seem easier to clean and take care of.

Just because they look simple, doesn't mean they are. Because of their glass surface, induction stovetops are a little harder to take care of -- but that's no reason to write them off. With a little knowledge, you can keep your induction stove top looking as good as the day you bought it. 

Here's what you need to know.

Wipe right away

Many of us wait to clean up spills until after we're done cooking, but there is a particular type of spill that needs immediate attention. Anything with sugar -- think caramel sauce, simple syrup or melted marshmallows -- that gets on your induction stovetop should be cleaned right away. Sugary substances can lodge themselves into the surface and permanently stain or damage the stovetop. 

If the spill is on a burner, turn off that burner immediately and wipe up the spill. You can either do this immediately, using an oven mitt to protect your hands or wait for the burner to cool slightly. No matter when you do it, use a damp soft cloth to clean.

Other food spills aren't as urgent. You can wait until you're cleaning up the rest of your kitchen.

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Clean carefully

Induction cooktops can be damaged by how you clean them, too. Avoid using steel wool, abrasive cleaners and scrubby sponges. It's best to use a cleaner designed for induction stovetops and a dish towel. 

Remember to rinse off the cleanser with a damp towel when you're done. If you don't clean off the residue, the surface may become permanently stained. Also, be sure to dry the cooktop when you're done cleaning.

Scrape dried-on foods

A general rule is if you can't wipe the mess up with a paper towel or cleaning cloth, then you need to use a putty knife or straight blade to remove stuck-on gunk instead of scrubbing. 

Using a blade or putty knife can be tricky, though, because if used incorrectly they can cause large scratches or ruts in the surface. To use them without damaging your range, set the blade on the surface and push it away from your body at a 30-degree angle while using very little pressure. You want the blade to just skim the surface of the cooktop. 

Make sure not to gouge the corners of the blade into the stovetop as you go and wipe the blade with a cloth every now and then to remove gunk buildup. When you're done scraping, wipe down the cooktop with a damp sponge or cloth.

Tackle hard-water stains

If you have hard water, you'll notice that mineral stains (white or gray splotches) on your cooktop are hard to remove with regular cleaner. Simple distilled vinegar can get rid of the spots easily.

Dab a cleaning cloth in some distilled white vinegar and use it to rub the stain until it goes away. Then, rinse off the vinegar with a clean cloth dampened with distilled water.