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The best way to clean stove burners is to gently pull them out of the stove top, and wash with warm, soapy water. Use a gentle detergent such as that used to wash dishes. Do not submerse them or allow the electrical connection to get wet. If there is food or burnt particles stuck to them, use baking soda as a cleanser. Use it as you would a cleansing scrub, or if you have stubborn stains you can make a paste with baking soda and water and let it sit for 30 minutes, then scrub. Be sure to rinse them thoroughly with clear water. Depending on the condition of the burners you may not get them just like new (if they are scratched, worn, etc.), but you should be able to get them thoroughly clean. To prevent buildup and burned on food, wipe burners thoroughly during your regular kitchen cleaning ritual.
Unfortunately I just stumbled onto this site.About 2 weeks ago I asked this same question to at least 5 friends and the internet.With no answers I used oven cleaner.So did I destroy my burners??Haven't used them yet.(Obviously I don't cook alot)
Sudsy ammonia is the best thing I have ever found to clean around burners. Just pour it on (not on the burners themselves) and let it stand. Then mop it up with a sponge. Wipe on the burners sparingly with a sponge to avoid clogging them. Use gloves; it's hard on the hands.