Tackling Difficult Stains on a Smooth Top Stove

Dear Home Ec 101,

I am well acquainted with the razor blade to clean the dried food spots on my smooth-top stove; however, there are “places” on my stove that cannot be felt with the fingers, and there is nothing to scrape with the razor blade, they’re just mars, I guess. I have a less than two-year-old stove that has these little places all over the burners and do not come off even with the special cleaner.
Do you have any ideas about these stubborn spots?
Stuck in Stuart

Heather says:

A few things to try, but always on a cool stove are:

Try making a paste of Bar Keepers Friend and water OR baking soda and water, OR dampening a paper towel with white vinegar and placing any one of these over the stained areas. Allow this to sit for several hours before trying a nylon scrubby style sponge.

Never use copper or steel wool on your ceramic cook top, no matter what you see people recommending on sites like Yahoo Answers. This is a quick way to seriously scratch your cook top and once it’s scratched, there’s really no recourse.

I did some research and this does seem to be a very common complaint among owners of black or speckled cook tops. If your stove is still under warranty (1 – 5 years generally) you can call and see if they’ll replace or repair the top or have specific instructions for dealing with this type of mark.

I have seen MAAS recommended by some home care experts, but I would suggest discussing this with the manufacturer of your stove first, to avoid voiding your warranty or inadvertently causing further damage.

An unfortunate fact of life is that some stains and wear are inevitable in our homes and at some point, you try to fix them, realize that it’s going to be more effort than it’s worth and start calling it a patina. I hope one of the suggestions listed above is helpful, but really, don’t get your hopes up too high. Sometimes stains are permanent.

Submit your questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.


  1. KeterMagick says

    I recently had a huge mess on my black (speckled with a little gray) glass cooktop when I accidentally let some strawberry jam-in-progress boil over.  After wiping and scraping as much as I could, I tried scouring with baking soda on a Magic Eraser, which usually does the trick, but not on this.  So I grabbed the Brasso and went at it.  It took some elbow grease, but the burned stuff did polish off and the surface was left smooth.  I then washed off the Brasso residue.  If there’s any discoloration left, it doesn’t show, ‘cuz it’s already black.  ;o)
    One of my friends, however, had a white cooktop that got yellow/brown stains.  At various times she used vinegar, bleach, TSP, and hydrogen peroxide  (SEPARATELY!!!) left soaking on a cloth for a few hours, with varying degrees of success from each. In an all-white kitchen, a white cooktop looks awesome, but once stained…well, it sticks out like a sore thumb.  She has a gas stove now.
    BTW, I don’t know about the others with black cook tops who complained of staining, but I’m 10 years on with this one and it still looks terrific (minus one little scratch courtesy of the hubby, which isn’t visible unless you are viewing it from one precise angle).  Two years ago I had to replace the control for the high heat burner, but it was a relatively simple DIY job.  I wouldn’t have anything but a smooth glass cook top after my experience with this one….so long as it’s black!

    • casey1977 says

      @KeterMagick: How did you get the new contold? My ‘big burner’ (the one that has both a small and large ‘spot’ has a broken knob courtesy of my cleaning lady. I’ve been calling and emailing the company for months and all I get is ‘there is no retailer in your area’. I’m assuming the knobs are brand specific – of course I don’t recall what brand mine is right now.

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