Should You Clean the Stove While It's Still Hot?

You can risk ruining your stove if you're not careful.

woman's hand cleaning stove with paper towel with a red circle illustration over the burner
Photo: Getty Images

When you have a big, bubbling pot of soup or a saucy stir-fry on the stove, avoiding splatters can seem nearly impossible. Your first instinct may be to clean up a spill ASAP before it dries and sticks to the surface, which, you know, will just mean more scrubbing later on. But should you wait for the stove to cool down first?

Whether to clean a hot stove actually comes down to one main factor: the size of the spill. Keep reading to learn how to handle spills on electric stoves, gas stoves, and induction stoves, and what kind of cleaning cloth to use (it matters more than you think).

On average, burners reach between 200 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit, but the stovetop itself doesn't get as hot, registered dietician Kelly Jones, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., told Allrecipes. Still, you should always turn off the burners before you clean around them to avoid accidentally burning yourself or catching the cleaning cloth on fire.

For small spills, it's best to wait until the stove cools down before you start cleaning to protect not only your hands but also your appliance. For starters, cleaning your electric stove while it's hot can crack the glass top.

"Synthetic materials, such as polyester, are more likely to damage at high heat, and likewise certain plastics in some cloths may burn onto the stove," Jones said. In addition, cleaning agents on a hot stove can burn and leave lasting marks.

A major spill, such as a pot boiling over, however, will give you a good reason to clean your stove right away. When this happens, turn off the burner, get the cookware off the stove and onto a trivet or heat-safe surface, and use warm water and a cloth that doesn't contain any synthetic materials to clean as much of the still-hot stove as you can.

What if you have an induction stove? Even though this appliance works very differently (the heat transfers to the cookware, not the stove itself) the same guidelines apply. Major spills aside, it's best to wait until the temperature sensor turns off before you clean an induction stove.

"For induction tops, certain cleaning sprays and cleaning cloths may actually cause long-term damage to the cooktops if used when the burners are still on or too hot," Jones said.

The bottom line: Wait for your stove to cool down before you clean it, unless you're dealing with a mess along the lines of a pot boiling over. In this case, turn the stove off, and stick to warm water and a non-synthetic cloth to wipe up the spill.


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