Etched Jennair induction cooktop

Marie_WardNovember 4, 2013

Just installed a Jennair 36" mirror finish induction cooktop as part of an ongoing kitchen reno. We never realized how hard it would be to keep it free of smudges and how easily it would scratch. Some small but noticeable scratches were on the cooktop before we even used it. The installers were not as careful as we had hoped. We read about protecting the surface by putting paper towels underneath the pans to prevent scratching and this worked well for the first 3 or 4 times. Tonight, however, the paper scorched and there is what appears to be permanent etching on the cooktop. (See photo.) We didn't think that levels 5 - 6 were too high, but obviously we were very wrong. We just feel sick. The reno isn't even finished and we already ruined the cooktop. In desperation, I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions on how to minimize the damage.

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You might try using a razor blade to scrape it clean - that's what's usually recommend for burnt on things . If that doesn't work, try calling Jennair and see what they recommend - worst case you could probably just replace the glass top.

Trying to keep a working kitchen looking pristine is a hopeless task. Better to have a few scratches on your cooktop than what you ended up with. People have also ruined their ovens by lining them with aluminum foil. Don't try that!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 10:41AM
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I doubt you have ruined anything. I have scorched paper when I let the heat get a little high, and that did certainly did leave a nasty looking deposit on the induction cooktop.

It cleaned off easily with a standard glass-top-stove cream/cleaner..

I have to say that my experience does not include any mirror (silvery?) finished tops like the JennAir. Have you checked the manual to see what it recommends for cleaning and polishing the top? Or, does it say not to use a cleaner on the silvery top?

Most induction appliance owner's manuals (at least the ones I have seen) suggest using a stove-top cleaner-cream and I suspect the Jenn Air manual will say that, too.

Ceramabryte and Weiman's are the two brands I've used, but there are others out there. Can be found in most supermarkets and hardware stores because they are recommended for radiant electric cooktops.

If the deposit is thick, start with weissman's razor blade scraper suggestion and then polish with the cleaner. Good as new when I've needed to do it.

But, as I said, I don't know anything about mirror finish induction tops, so check the manual or call Jenn AIr.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Mon, Nov 4, 13 at 13:06

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 1:03PM
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Thank you so much for your suggestions. The "mirror" finish was a term used by our salesman because the top has no tiny bumps that some induction cooktops have (and I now wish I had). The top is black with a red hue under the light. The manual suggests a "cooktop cleaner". I haven't seen the two that JWVideo mentioned but I'll try whatever cleaner-cream I find that is meant for the job.

To be clear, there is no food deposit involved. It is strictly the reaction between the paper and the hot pan that has caused a rock hard "substance" to form. It is difficult to detect in the photo. Since JWVideo experienced a similar paper/stovetop reaction and was able to solve the problem, I am seeing a glimmer of hope. I will start with the cream, then progress to a razor blade as weissman suggested.

Jennair is sending a technician next week for an unrelated oven issue and he will have a look at the cooktop. If I haven't managed to fix the problem, I hope the glass top can be replaced. Weissman, I have learned my lesson. I have to face the fact that a kitchen will never be pristine.

I am most appreciative to you both.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 8:13PM
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I use paper towels a lot and I've never seen anything like that before. Note that if it scorched, the temperature was over *450F. That's pretty hot for a lot of things. I think first time users of induction don't realize how fast it heats up a pan. I rarely go above 50% on my tabletop unit (1800 watts), and simmer at 5% - 10%.

Bar Keeper's Friend is another product that gets mentioned.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 4:26PM
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I've scorched paper on my induction cooktop more than once before I gave up this practice completely. I stir fry, sear and saute over high heat, easily taking the pan temperature over 450F. The paper carbonizes and sticks to the ceram. I think I got it off with barkeeper's friend, very gently rubbing until all the burnt bits came off.

Cleaning off any oily spatter isn't hard with a light spritz of windex.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 8:13PM
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Cheryl --

The Thermador manual says to avoid cleaners that contain ammonia (some/most Windex?) or chlorine, as it may permanently etch the surface, or (obviously) any abrasive cleansers. They suggest cooktop creme, Bon Ami, SoftScrub without bleach, and white vinegar. I'm not sure where products like BarKeepersFriend would fall.


    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 12:24AM
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BKF seems to be about the same as Bon Ami and SoftScrub when it comes to abrasiveness. What BKF has over the others is oxalic acid, a non-chlorine bleach. According to the company website, BKF is okay for ceramic glass stove stops.

The way I look at these products is by analogy to products for finishes on cars. Ceramabryte and Weiman's ("Heavy-Duty Glass Stove Top Cleaner") seem to be like car polish while BKF, Bon Ami and SoftScrub are more abrasive like rubbing compounds.

Since the BKF and Bon-Ami containers (that I looked at) both cautioned against using the product on highly polished surfaces like mirrors, I was inclined to go with the recommended stove-top polishing creams like Weiman's before resorting to the more abrasive BKF.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Wed, Nov 6, 13 at 15:22

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 3:20PM
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I haven't ever burned paper on my cooktop, but I've had marks left from high heat cooking. A good rubdown with the glass cook top cleaners mentioned above worked. For some of them, it took a little time and elbow grease, but it all came off. For some reason, it happened more at the beginning than it does now. Maybe after nearly 3 years, I have figured out where the right heat levels are! If you have actual deposits, you may want to start out with the razor blade, as recommended above.

For smudges, I like a microfiber cloth. If there is grease involved, I wash it with a lightly soapy dishcloth, then rinse with a clean one, and while it's still damp, go over it with the microfiber. If no grease, just a damp microfiber does the job. Either way, it takes less than 60 seconds. It also works just fine on stainless. Watch out for salt--it's harder than the glass and will scratch, so don't slide your pan over salt crystals.

Best of luck,

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 4:22PM
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"The top is black with a red hue under the light."

Which light?

Do I see red under the eye/hob of that burner? If it turns red when hot, it's not induction.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 6:11PM
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Yes, I'm wondering if it's a radiant cooktop, not induction. A radiant unit has a heating element that glows red under the glass top. I have no experience with induction but I wouldn't think there's any light emanation or red glow from them.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 6:57PM
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My induction cooktop doesn't glow, but if it's off and there's a really bright light on it, you can see a red disc underneath that's the size of the hob. That might be what we're seeing in the picture.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 7:50PM
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"Yes, I'm wondering if it's a radiant cooktop, not induction."

The OP wouldn't be cooking on paper towels, on a radiant top.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 8:51PM
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And a quick look at JA's site shows the only 36" cooktop with lines from from front to back burners (bridge?) is an induction.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 8:56PM
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HI Everyone. Went to a few more stores and did find Weiman's cleaner amongst others. It states on the container that the product will not scratch and some of you had used it with success, so I bought it, plus a scraper. With a little elbow grease, the whole mess came off! I am thrilled! My husband could hardly believe it. I bought a pack of microfibre cloths as well as Weiman's wipes, so I'm set.

cj47 explained the red hue very well. It really shows up when the hood light or the kitchen overhead lights are shining right on it. The camera flash made it look even redder.

I obviously have a lot to learn about induction cooking. I feel a little foolish acting like Chicken Little. The sky didn't fall after all.

I've already learned a lot from your comments and suggestions. Many thanks to all of you.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 8:57PM
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I'll have to check the T'dor manual again, but I think they mention Windex glass cleaner by name. I've used it a couple of times to get all the residue off. So far I haven't noticed etching. I recall the ban on chlorine-based cleaners. We also use ceramabryte which was recommended on GW rather than Bon Ami.


    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 10:51PM
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I've been lucky (so far) to not have anything get burned & crusted on to our T'dor induction cooktop. For regular cleaning I have used Clorox "Green Works" with great success. In fact, I think it was named as an example, in the owners manual. Vinegar & water has worked well, too. Anything with chlorine bleach will ruin it.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 7:12AM
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"I think they mention Windex glass cleaner by name. I've used it a couple of times to get all the residue off. So far I haven't noticed etching."

My recollection is that the problem with Windex is not etching the cooktop surface but the possibility of streaking that makes cleaning take longer. There is no reason to think it could etch the glass-top. However, there is a possibility that Windex left on on stainless steel trim (often found around the cooktop or stovetop) could penetrate the chormium oxide layer of the SS and maybe cause little speckles of corrosion. Kitchenaid support has something to say about this with regard to their fridges with stainless steel doors. I'll try to find the link which I'm having no luck with right now.

Frankly, though, I've used windex regularly and often on the SS Surfaces of both my stove and fridge with no ill effects.

I suspect that the problem with chlorine-containing cleaners is similar. The chlorine can penetrate the surface layer of chromium oxide and cause some corrosion. Seen this on boats, too, where salt water exposure (ie., sodium chloride solution) will do a number on even reputedly marine grade SS.

So, my take is that when a cooktop/stove's manual says not to use Windex, then don't use it until after your warranty runs out. If you get a problem, a SS polish will likely take care of the problem.

As for the Thermador manual's prohibiting Windex type cleaners, I wonder if that might have something to do with special finish on T'dor induction cooktops. Is that silvery sheen maybe a ammonia-sensitive coating rather than bare and highly polished ceramic/glass? But then, the folks who write the manuals seem to have all kinds of odd ideas. For example, I recall reading the manual for Viking's induction range a year ago and finding that it expressly forbade ever using cast-iron cookware with induction!

This post was edited by JWVideo on Thu, Nov 7, 13 at 16:45

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 4:34PM
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Marie - I am so happy that it all came off. I have to get some of Weiman's cleaner - just in case.
Have fun cooking. I thought about using paper towels - but pretty easy to clean, so haven't bothered and after seeing your - I think I will not try to paper towel trick.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 6:50PM
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JWVideo - The Windex prohibition probably comes from the fact that a lot of Windex formulas have ammonia in them. It would be easier to tell consumers to avoid, than ask them to read labels which may, or may not, accurately say the formula has ammonia. Better safe than sorry, and there are a lot of good alternatives that work well.

Our T-dor induction cooktop is the black glass, and owner's manual says

"Avoid these cleaners:
- Glass cleaners which contain ammonia or chlorine bleach. These ingredients may permanently damage or stain the cooktop."

Abrasive cleaners, oven cleaner, scrub sponges and metal scouring pads, WD-40 are all to be avoided.

BonAmi and SoftScrub without bleach are suggested as a last resort for metal marks, immediately followed with reapplying the glass ceramic cooktop cleaner.


    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 9:44AM
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Thanks for posting the info from your t-dor manual.

Interesting that either they think Bon Ami and SoftScrub are not abrasive or else they think the products are mild enough that they won't cause problems. Somewhere, I've seen a user manual that says to use baking soda instead of those products because it is a milder abrasive. Maybe the stove makers' product testing has turned up some untoward results that the rest of us have yet to see?

Otherwise, I'm with you on using the cleaner.

Good to see that T-dor forbids using WD-40, though. Using WD-40 as a stove top cleaner is one of those contrarian internet "tips" that keeps turning up and is just a bad idea. (There's a recent thread here debunking the idea that WD-40 is a good cleaner for tops of pro-style stoves. Also, I think has a debunking page on oft recommended but bad idea for using WD40.)

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 2:57PM
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