The $1 Tool That Keeps My Glass Cooktop Sparkling


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Sep 18, 2023

The $1 Tool That Keeps My Glass Cooktop Sparkling

I’ve been testing (and cooking on) smooth-top glass cooktops for two years, and

I’ve been testing (and cooking on) smooth-top glass cooktops for two years, and in my experience you don't need much to keep them really clean.

The best-ever thing for cleaning a glass cooktop—technically a glass-ceramic blend designed to withstand heat and scratches—is a microfiber rag, like the kind Amazon sells for about $15 a dozen.

Microfiber towels and cloths are made of synthetic threads that are woven together very tightly. This gives them three advantages over ordinary kitchen towels or sponges: They have an extremely tight weave and an electrostatic charge that grabs dust and tiny particles of dirt. They have a wonderful grippiness, which helps them easily wipe away dirt or grease even when they’re dry. (A regular towel or sponge often just spreads liquid around on a glass or ceramic surface.) And they don't leave tiny scratches on your cooktop, the way a scrubby pad or double-sided sponge would.

For cooktop cleaning you want both a thick microfiber rag (that's the towel) and a thin one made of very fine threads (that's the cloth). Here's when and how to use both:

For most messes—a still-wet splash of stock or sauce—a dry, high-quality microfiber towel has so much grip I’ve found I often don't even need to wet them, or if I do, I just add a few drops to get it damp. For a boiled-over mess or baked-on egg whites, I keep a little spray bottle of water and a few drops of dish soap nearby (but I rarely seem to need it).

High-quality here means a fluffy layer of fibers on both sides of the rag, not just one. You should also look for towels that are labeled for household cleaning, like the Mr. Siga Microfiber Cleaning Cloths or the MagicFiber 12-pack.

When I’m done cleaning, I don't throw the microfiber towel in with the rest of my laundry. I rinse it out in warm water in the sink and let it air-dry. If you really need to wash it, go for cold water in your washing machine and air-dry it—hot water and high heat are bad for microfiber, and so are chemical cleaning agents and lots of dish soap, said Rodrigo B. Gonzalez, a creative director of the company that makes MagicFiber. Heat degrades the fibers and cleaning agents get stuck in them, he told me, reducing their effectiveness.

I like to keep a couple of microfiber towels in darker, stain-hiding colors by the stove so that I can wipe up spills right as they happen, or right after cooking, when the cooktop is warm but not hot. Yes, I’m a professional cooktop tester, so I’m a little more fastidious than most. But cleaning a cooktop right after you use it is best practice for everyone: Amelia Hensley, the kitchen appliance cleaning expert at GE Appliances, told me the best way to stave off stains is not to cook over yesterday's spilled food. (If you do have a really baked-on mess—or stains from metal pots—you can try gently removing them with a straight razor in a retractable scraper.)

Most people associate microfiber cloth with removing fingerprints and fuzz from screens for phones, computers, and tablets. Guess what: They do the same thing on your glass-ceramic cooktop. (If you wear glasses you probably have at least two of these sitting unused at home, since they always come with a new pair; if not, MagicFiber sells a microfiber set with two towels and two cloths.) If you don't have a microfiber cloth, I also found a spritz of equal parts rubbing alcohol (70% isopropyl alcohol) and water does a great job polishing my cooktop into a sparkling black mirror.

Ever since I discovered the magic of microfiber, I can't walk through my kitchen without buffing out a fingerprint on my cooktop. It’ll happen to you, too. Walter Gonzalez, the owner of MagicFiber, which sells the most microfiber cloths and towels on Amazon, told me once you start using a microfiber cloth, "you get addicted to the clean."

This article was edited by Amy Koplin, Brittney Ho, and Sofia Sokolove.

Walter Gonzalez, owner of MagicFiber, Zoom interview, March 31, 2023

Rachel Wharton

Rachel Wharton is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter covering ovens, stoves, fridges and other essential kitchen appliances. She has more than 15 years of experience reporting on food issues and a master's degree in food studies, and has helped write more than a dozen books on that topic (including her own, American Food: A Not-So-Serious History). One of her first real gigs was reviewing kitchen gadgets in less than 50 words for the New York Daily News.

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