It was time for me to do some deep cleaning in the kitchen. My cooktop was looking pretty, shall we say, loved. I wish I could say that it ended up like this because I've been crafting from-scratch gourmet meals five nights a week, or that I've been experimenting with exciting new recipes, but in reality, this cooktop has been servicing Joel and I with lots of coffee kettle boiling, egg scrambling, and the occasional batch of Ramen noodles.
On a day-to-day basis, when I'm done cooking, I give the surface a good wipe down, and I try to catch spills as they happen, but in preparation for this post, I let things get a little bit dirtier than usual. You've gotta have a good before picture, right? Since it's a black cooktop, and it hides more than a white or stainless one, I had to let it get pretty dirty in order for things to show up in photos. Oh, the sacrifice. So, let's have a look shall we?
So step one in cleaning your cooktop, is to fill one side of the sink with some extra hot, extra soapy water...
I use the sprayer to really get it good and sudsy.
Step two is to remove the coil burners. Obviously, if you've just cooked something, you'll want to let them cool down completely. Then just lift them up...
And pull them out. That simple. You can clean these as long as you don't get any of the electrical component wet. Usually they just need to be wiped down to remove any food that may have spilled on them. If they are super dirty or have dried food stuck to them, you can coat them with baking soda paste and rinse. Just don't submerge them in any water or get the metal prongs on the end wet. Mine weren't too bad so I just set them aside.
And now for those drip pans...
Take them off...
And put them in that soapy sink water...
While you're at it, take those knobs off too...
They should just lift off.
See how much easier it is to clean underneath them now?
Take them over to the sink...
And let them 'marinate' with the drip pans...
Grab your cleaning product of choice...
And give the whole surface a quick spray down.
Then just wipe away any crumbs or sticky stuff. This is not the final scrub-down, just a 'first-rinse'. Mostly because looking at all of that junk was driving me crazy..
Now the really fun part begins. Most cooktops like this actually lift up to allow for cleaning. They even have a handy little support rod to hold things up so you can really get in there. Like the hood of a car.
See how much stuff falls through the drip pans when you're cooking? Ew. Right?
Fear not, because I'm about to introduce you to your new best friend. The Bar Keepers Friend that is. This stuff is pretty heavy duty, but it's awesome. You'll want to go around cleaning all the things... The first time I used this stuff was like the first time I used a magic eraser. Life changing stuff I tell ya.
Just make sure that you grab yourself a good pair of these. Your hands will thank you for it.
Sprinkle a good couple of shakes...
Take a wet paper towel and smear it around. It'll form a thin paste. You can let it sit for up to a minute if you'd like, but don't leave it sitting there all day. Just keep sprinkling, smearing, and wiping everything down. Get in all of the corners and crevices. If you're cooktop is really dirty (like mine), be prepared to use a lot of paper towels or cleaning rags. There's a lot more hidden grease under there than you may think.
Repeat the process until everything is nice and shiny like this...
Totally done right? Nope. We've got a bit more to do, like deal with those disgusting edges.
Yeah, it's pretty nasty.
You're not judging me are you?
This is the part where some toothpicks would come in handy. Just spray those edges down and run a toothpick along the seam until you get all of the 'gunk' out. Fair warning, what you get off of that toothpick may slightly nauseate you. You might want to quickly scroll past the next picture.
I told you it was disgusting. But look how clean and gunk-free it is now...
So much better right?
Now it's time to focus on the cooking surface again. But, because we don't want all of the cleaning that we just did to go to waste, it might be worth your while to grab a couple of pieces of foil to lay down. Now, you might be thinking, 'Couldn't you clean the surface first and then clean under the cooktop so you could skip this step?'. The answer is yes, but apparently I like to do things the hard way...
You'll also want to cover up any electrical components or wires before you really start spraying.
Now you can go to town...
Spray everything down and let it sit for a minute. Then keep wiping everything until the whole thing shines.
Once everything is all clean, just lift up the top and remove the foil. Some people probably leave foil in there all the time to catch crumbs, but it makes me too nervous to do that. I've experienced one house fire in my lifetime and I'm in no hurry to do it again.
Those drip pans have been soaking for a good while now, so it's time to give them a scrub. Pull one out at a time. No need to rinse.
Sprinkle some of the Barkeepers Friend on them...
Then grab a sponge or a scrub brush. The brush really works better.
And really use some elbow grease. Depending on how bad they are, this process might need to be repeated.
Just give them a rinse when you think they're done, and set them aside to dry. And don't worry if you can't get them perfectly clean. Mine have burns on them that I don't think will ever completely come off. You can buy replacements from most home improvement stores. I just haven't gotten around to that yet. Nonetheless, they will look a lot better. Some people wrap these in foil before putting them back on, but I find that to be too much of a pain, and I don't love how it looks.
Now the knobs. While they're still wet, grab another toothpick or two, and run it around the edge.
I'll spare you another closeup toothpick picture this time and just show the after. Much better.
The last step is to put all the knobs, pans, and coils back on. Everything should slide back in just as easily as it came off. Turn each element on for a second to make sure the coils were reconnected properly. Then take any cutting boards, utensil holders, cooking oils, etc. off the counter and spray and wipe the whole thing down.
Put everything back and enjoy your super shiny, super clean, new cooktop. Ta-da!
Shall we have a close-up?
And yes, I put out a bowl of cherries and a bouquet of flowers just for the after pictures. Yeah, it's overkill. I know. But look how pretty they are...
One last before...
Now, the real last step is to open a bottle of wine, pour a glass, and have a seat... And since you wouldn't want to go spoiling all that hard work you just did, I highly recommend you also order a pizza for dinner.