Person cleaning stainless steel cooktop

How to clean stainless steel cooktops in 4 steps

Making meals for your loved ones can sometimes mean big messes. If you own stainless steel appliances, you know that meal preparation can lead to smears and fingerprints. Learn the best way to clean a stainless steel stovetop so you can get it done quickly and spend more time with your family.

Stovetop grates and burners Stovetop grates and burners

What is a good way to clean a stainless steel stovetop?

You can typically use soap, water and a soft microfiber cloth or sponge to clean daily messes on your stainless steel stovetop. Dry with a microfiber cloth cleaning in the direction of the grain.Whirlpool brands recommends affresh® Stainless Steel Brightener1 for a thorough clean that clears away rust and removes heat discoloration and yellowing from stainless steel surfaces. Always consult your owner’s manual for specific cleaning instructions as they may vary by model and finish.

Discover how to clean every type of stovetop with this guide from Whirlpool.

How to clean a stainless cooktop or stovetop

This easy step-by-step process will teach you how to clean a stainless steel cooktop without scratching to maintain its finish. Include these steps in your post-dinner clean-up routine to bring back the shine to your appliance.

  • 2 clean microfiber cloths or paper towels

Food spill on stovetop

Step 1: Clear and clean the surface

Ensuring that all stovetop elements are cooled down, remove anything that needs to be cleaned separately. This can include stove grates, burner caps and knobs if they’re removable. With a damp microfiber cloth and warm water, remove any existing debris or loose food crumbs found on the cooktop.

Hand wiping down stovetop

Step 2: Observe the direction of the grain

To avoid damaging the finish, you can determine the wiping direction based on the grain pattern. The grain lines can either run horizontally or vertically. For horizontal lines, wipe from left to right. If the lines are vertical, wipe in a downward motion.

affresh® stainless steel cooktop cleaner

Step 3: Use your desired cleaning method

For regular care, use a soft cloth or non-scratch sponge dipped in warm, soapy water. Rub in the direction of the grain to avoid damaging the surface.


For a deeper clean, apply your cleaning solution of choice, gently rubbing it into the stainless steel surface in the direction of the grain with a soft cloth or paper towel. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes If using vinegar, wipe away immediately with a clean, damp cloth.


To use baking soda, create a paste with water and rub it over the stainless steel surface. Or, add equal parts vinegar and mineral oil to a spray bottle and spray the surface down, then gently rub it into the grain. 

To clear away rust and remove heat discoloration and yellowing, Whirlpool brand recommends using affresh® Stainless Steel Brightener.  Apply a small amount using a soft, dry cloth in the direction of the grain, let stand then lightly scrub away. See full product details.

Closeup of stainless steel cooktop knobs, burners, and grates

Step 4: Rinse Surface

Rinse the surface with water or wipe clean with a damp cloth to remove any residual cleaner.

Hand lifting cooktop grate

Step 5: Ensure all stainless steel surfaces are dry

Remove any remaining streaks, buffing with your dry microfiber towel and see your stainless steel surfaces shine after wiping completely dry.

Shop affresh® stainless steel cooktop cleaners

What shouldn’t be used to clean a stainless steel stovetop?

Harsh chemicals and multi-purpose cleaners that contain bleach or ammonia should not be used on your stainless steel stovetop. Other things to avoid are abrasive materials such as steel brushes and steel wool pads or other abrasive materials that can scratch the surface of your cooktop.

How do you get brown or yellow stains off of a stainless steel cooktop?

Brown stains and discoloration on stainless steel can be an eyesore. A trusted mixture of baking soda and warm water can help. For tougher, stubborn stains, Whirlpool brand recommends affresh® Stainless Steel Brightener to bring your stainless steel cooktops back to life.

How do you remove burnt-on grease from a stainless steel cooktop?

When it comes to stubborn problems that require big solutions, always refer to your user guide first. The most common at-home remedy is using either baking soda or affresh® Stainless Steel Brightener, apply and leave on the stain for 2-3 minutes. Gently scrub in the direction of the grain using a soft cloth, rinse with water and buff dry.

Burner knobs Burner knobs

How do you remove burnt oil from a stainless steel cooktop? 

You can use a familiar cleaning recipe to remove burnt oil from a stainless steel cooktop but with a little more elbow grease. Let a generous amount of baking soda mixed with warm water sit on the stain for a few minutes. With a soft cloth, wipe back and forth along the grain until the stain comes off.

How do you prevent stains on a stainless steel cooktop?

Cleaning your stainless steel cooktop regularly will be your biggest prevention solution. Having a rag or cloth on hand to wipe surfaces when spills happen, can help you avoid those messes from getting sticky or corroding. Remember to practice safety and remove stains after both the stove and the stain have cooled a bit.

Explore Whirlpool® cooktops

Find the perfect stovetop and cooktop for your busy weeknights and on-the-go weekends. Making meals, and cleaning up afterwards, for you and your loved ones can be effortless and manageable with the right choice. Whether you're looking for easy clean-up options or do-it-all functionality, the right stovetop does exist. Choose from a wide selection of electric, gas and induction options.

Learn more about cleaning kitchen appliances with Whirlpool brand

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1. affresh® brand products and the recommending brands’ products are all owned and distributed by Whirlpool Corporation.