I have a GE Profile gas stove with a non-enameled stainless steel stovetop. While mostly the design prevents burned-on gunk, occasionally I get some burned oil or sugar on the steel. And I haven't figured out how to clean it off.

I've tried several cleaning techniques I use with stainless steel cookware, but apparently the stovetop steel is softer than steel cookware, so these techniques don't work:

  • Barkeeper's Friend and a plastic scrubby: scratches the steel
  • Stainless steel wool and soap: scratches the steel
  • Dawn Powerwash and a sponge: does not clean
  • Magic Erasers: does not clean

Ideas? What do you all do that doesn't scratch your stovetop, but does remove the burned-on bits?

note: there are a couple dozen answers on SA for how to clean stainless steel cookware. Those answers do not apply here, because it's different steel, and immersing it in boiling water or similar isn't an option

1 Answer 1


If you want to avoid scratches (which I frankly don't - for me, it's normal for kitchen equipment to have them) you're pretty much constrained to chemical-only methods, with a sponge to apply and wash off the chemicals.

The first thing I'd try is something strongly alkaline. This is what tends to work with burned-on grease. It would be difficult to work with lye on a stove, so I'd try sodium carbonate. Pure sodium carbonate will go up to pH of 11 - if that's too much for you, you can also try a carbonate-bicarbonate solution, which is usually formulated to a pH of 9 or 10.

The second option would be ammonia. Alternatively, you can try "oven grease spray", which has nitrous compounds that are less harsh on the environment and on your body. For me, I've never succeeded removing truly recalcitrant burned-on fats with this kind of spray.

You'll probably have to buy sodium carbonate or ammonia on purpose. If you want something more common, you can try the harshest chemical cleaner you're likely to have at home - dishwasher detergent. Make a thick paste with it (if you use tabs, break them up into powder first) and smear that onto the stove.

In recent years, I have seen "degreaser" products turn up in the drugstores. I don't know what's in them - due to labelling laws, they don't list anything other than a regular all-purpose-cleaner - but I can attest that they do work well on especially sticky grime, where other products don't manage. I don't know if they're good enough when the grime is burnt-on, though.

For any of these, make sure that you apply a thick coat and leave it for a long time to work - several hours, maybe even overnight. And if it doesn't work the first time, try it 3-4 times in a row.

A really good supplement to the chemical methods is a handheld steam cleaner. You can pre-treat the burned-on spots with it, but it's also especially effective after the treatment, when the chemicals have loosened the grime a little, but not to the point where it can be swiped away with a sponge only.

In the end, it might turn out that none of these work. Then, you'd be left with either a lye treatment (probably by physically lifting the top off the stove and soaking it in a large plastic vessel) or physical removal options only, which do leave scratches. You can buff the surface with powertools afterwards, to improve the appearance of your stove.

  • Are any of these methods things that you personally have tried?
    – FuzzyChef
    Mar 9 at 19:03
  • I don't have a stainless stovetop, but I've used almost all of them on the same kind of burnt-on gunk on ss pans, oven pans, oven cavities, and enameled (electric) stovetop. And what doesn't damage enamel, it doesn't damage stainless steel either. The one thing I haven't tried personally is carbonate or bicarbonate - but I know from many sources that this kind of stuff goes away with bases (much better than acid!), and have used lye successfully on smaller items. None of the methods is certain to work, but in my experience, this is the palette of best shots you have.
    – rumtscho
    Mar 9 at 19:40
  • BTW, the scratches aren't just a cosmetic matter; if the steel surface is scratched up, more things stick to it.
    – FuzzyChef
    Mar 9 at 21:21

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