How to clean burnt milk off a glass cooktop: Four methods compared
There are some things I’m not allowed to do.
I’m not allowed to buy potatoes (they invariably go rotten before I remember to use them)
I’m not allowed to eat thai spice potato chips in bed (apparently the aroma keeps other people from being able to sleep – ya big baby)
I’m not allowed to have a sewing machine (until I clear out enough other crap to have a proper place to put it)
And, as of now, I’m not allowed to boil milk.
Not allowed to boil milk? I can’t imagine why not!
I make oatmeal for the kids two or three times a week, and I normally do it in the microwave. Last week I decided to be a Better Betty Homemaker and make it on the stovetop, as the texture really is nicer. This is what happened:
As I heard the sound of sizzling milk hitting the hot burner, my first thought was “Goddammit! Not again!”
Fortunately for you, my next thought was, “Take photos! This could be a great blog piece!”
After I wiped up the parts that weren’t cemented to the cooktop I was left with this:
And I was struck with an idea. What if I tried several methods to clean the burnt milk off the cooktop to test the efficacy vs. effort to get it clean?
My super scientific method was as follows:
- Choose a number of cleaning methods that THE INTERNET claims make quick work of cleaning burnt milk off a glass cooktop
- Divide the burner into quarters by taping foil over it
- Clean each section for a set amount of time
- Compare the results
Here is what I tried:
- Norwex kitchen cloth + hot water
- Cerama Bryte + a razor
- Melamine foam sponge (commonly known as a magic eraser)
- Weiman’s Cooktop Max (includes a scrubby sponge)
Other methods I considered but ultimately decided against:
- Cover the messed up burner with a plate and just pretend that I don’t see the burnt milk (I totally would have done this but my husband wouldn’t let me) — an “ease” score of 100 but a “quality of result” score of zero.
- Replace the entire cooktop (another method the hubster didn’t approve of) — Quality of result would be 100 but ease score would be zero.
Method A: Norwex + Hot Water
I’ve been sold a Norwex cloth or two in my time, and there’s not a thing wrong with them but even the amazing Norwex is no match for burnt on milk. I soaked the cloth in hot water, pressed it onto the quarter of the burner to which it was assigned, and left it for half an hour. Then I scrubbed with all my might. After five solid minutes of elbow grease, this is what I’d accomplished:
The lower left quadrant in the picture below shows the cloth/water section compared to the areas that hadn’t been touched yet.
A lot of work and dismal results.
Norwex + Hot Water verdict
Ease of Use: 0
Quality of Results: 10
Method B: Magic Eraser
Next I tried the truly miraculous magic eraser. I’d read all over the Internet that it worked great on any sort of burnt on mess, but I was pretty skeptical. I gave it five minutes of steady scrubbing and was surprised at how well it worked! I didn’t press too hard (pressing hard doesn’t help when using melamine) but kept steady motion. I was very pleased with the results!
Magic Eraser verdict
Ease of Use: 60
Quality of Results: 90
Method C: Weiman’s Cooktop Max
Now we move on to Weiman’s Cooktop Max. I’ve been using this for some time and it does a nice job of getting off the usual weekly buildup. It’s a paste with “Micro-Beads [that] provide extra scrubbing power to cut through tough, burned on food”. It comes with a special sponge – though how special it is, I don’t know. I followed the instructions by applying the paste and rubbing in circles with the included sponge. As with the other methods, I gave it five good minutes of swirling. Then I buffed it with a paper towel. It worked well, but not as well as the magic eraser, which surprised me. You can see that there are spots I missed because they were obscured by the paste.
Ease of Use: 60
Quality of Results: 50
Method D: Razor + Cerama Bryte
Finally, I pulled out the big guns — a razor blade and Cerama Bryte. I was sure this would be the easiest, fastest, most effective method. I mean… I was planning to push a razor blade across the glass. Surely that would be easier and more effective than rubbing magical beads around, right? I bought a $4 glass scraper with a handle that allows you to easily hold it so the blade is at a 45° angle. I followed the instructions by using the scraper on the dry surface.
I couldn’t believe how much gunk I was scraping off! Blech! While I enjoyed the zen of scraping my cooktop, I was surprised at how much effort it took.
After I scraped off as much as thought I reasonably could in three minutes or so, I used the Cerama Bryte cleaner for another couple of minutes.
The results were pretty disappointing. I have no doubt that I could have gotten it cleaner with more time spent on scraping and scrubbing, but I wanted to test efficiency vs. effort in the time allotted and this scored surprisingly low compared to other methods. I did go back over it again later with the Cerama Bryte and improved the results quite a bit, but I’m sticking with my five minute total effort score.
Razor + Ceramabryte verdict
Ease of Use: 35
Quality of Results: 30
The Final Results
The Cerama Bryte section looks a little better here, for two reasons:
- I got itchy fingers and worked on it a little more before I remembered to take the picture.
- The angle and light combined show — in the bottom right corner particularly — the scratches that plague my entire cooktop.
Up close and personal though, the Magic Eraser section looked better.
The chart below shows the results of my test.
The upper right quadrant of the chart above represents the best quality results attained with the least amount of effort.
The razor blade and Cerama Bryte combo did an excellent job, but does not get my top rating because of the time required to get results similar to that of the Magic Eraser or Weiman’s Cooktop Max.
After my experiment I went back over the whole cooktop with the magic eraser. It looked so pretty I decided I couldn’t bear to dirty it up by cooking on it for, ohhhh a week? Yeh, kids and hubby didn’t go for that either.
What have you tried, and what has worked for you, in cleaning burnt milk or other horrible messes off a glass cooktop?