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
I did some research, and this does seem to be a very common complaint among owners of black or speckled cook tops. Since your stove may still be under warranty (1 – 5 years generally), please call and see if they’ll replace or repair the top or if they have specific instructions for dealing with this type of mark or damage.
If calling the manufacturer doesn’t work
Do I have to tell you to make sure the stove is cool before cleaning it? If not, please wait until the stove isn’t going burn you severely —or even minimally.
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 cooktop, no matter what you see people recommending on sites like Yahoo Answers. This is a quick way to seriously scratch your cooktop, and once it’s scratched, there’s really no recourse. And if you say you don’t care about scratches, remember that scratches catch dirt and make your stove even harder to clean.
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. Yes, this may mean a second phone call. I hate them, too.
Electric stoves or ranges have a lifespan of 11 – 15 years.
The lifespan of your range will depend upon several factors:
- The quality of the stove itself
- The amount of use the stove receives – if you use the stove multiple times a day, it will not last as long as a stove that gets used infrequently. This guideline is based on average use. If you have a large family and cook often, you are not average. Sorry?
- Whether or not the stove is regularly cleaned.
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.
Unsolicited budgeting advice¹ to make life easier in the long run.
Consider setting up a “sinking fund” for your home’s appliances.
In addition to my regular bank, I use an online bank that lets me have 26 free savings accounts. Each one of these accounts is dedicated to infrequent, but expected expenses. I have things like the car repair fund and the braces for the minions’ fund.
Even if you only start by putting $5 a paycheck into your appliance replacement fund, you’ll be glad it’s there the day the refrigerator quits or the repairman tells you that fixing the stove or dishwasher will be more costly than replacing it.
You will reduce the amount of money that comes out of your regular budget. To be clear, a broken stove may qualify as an emergency, but the dishwasher doesn’t. You can suck it up and handwash dishes. Needing to eat out will blow through more of your budget in no time. Yes, you can make do with a microwave, a grill, a hot plate, an Instant Pot, and a slow cooker for some time, depending on your circumstances. But realistically, how long will you tolerate it before calling GrubHub?
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