Most people think that a ceramic (or vitro-ceramic) hob is just a big hunk of glass and, to an extent that's probably true, but it's a very expensive big hunk of glass and made from a special type of glass which requires particular care if you want to keep it clean and good looking for years. Very often this special glass will be manufactured by one of only a handful of companies in the world that can do it such as Ceran or Schott.
Ceramic hobs, be they halogen, induction or plain old vanilla ceramic are made from a sort of "soft" glass if you like that can easily be damaged, in many cases irreparably by being too rough with them. And, because of this you have to take care in the way that you use them as well as how you clean and care for them.
To keep a ceramic hob clean is actually very easy, a simple wipe with a damp cloth after use while the hob is still warm (not hot enough to burn tough obviously) will do to remove any immediate spillage but, as happens, sometimes this doesn't go to plan. Any major spills, such as a pot boiling over onto the hob and this plan is out the window, you're most likely going to need more than a simple wipe in all probability.
We do recommend strongly the use of the Toprens ceramic hob cleaner as this will clean and leave a layer of protection on the ceramic cooking surface which will make removing any future spillage far, far easier than were it not there. We know it's not cheap but it is extremely effective and is one of the few products that you can use on a ceramic hob safely.
Also extremely effective is Ecolab's fantastic Helios Brilliant stainless steel and ceramic cleaner. This cleaner is designed primarily for use in commercial situations, such as commercial kitchens and the likes, to clean ceramic hobs and stainless steel without causing any harm and it is a fantastic cleaner but again, not cheap. However, should you have other stainless steel machines and you buy this anyway it can prove very good value for money and saves the need for two cleaners.
For burnt on debris the best cure is a as this is just brilliant at removing burnt on grime and spillage. The scraper we sell you can buy extra spare blades for, from this link, so that you can always have a sharp blade. The blade has to be extremely sharp to be effective.
With these tips in mind and the ones below your hob should last years without looking old or tarnished, which is very probably why you bought one in the first place.
Whatever you do, DON'T go near a ceramic hob with an abrasive cleaner, you will mark the glass and you will remove any printing without doubt.
Ceramic hob cleaners and, for that matter, stainless steel cleaners in particular are designed to not score or scratch the surface at all. Any swirl patterns are avoided this way ensuring that the surface stays good and clean but undamaged.
This also includes ensuring that your pans are smooth on the bottom, undamaged and that there's no debris between the pan and the cooking surface. If there is, it can scratch the ceramic surface of the hob and that, while not hampering the operation of the hob, will be unsightly.
From The Gaurdian, July 2007
Have I ruined my new hob?
Can you tell me how to clean the 'shimmering metallic discolouration that has been caused by using old-ish pots on a new ceramic hob? The hob's handbook refers to the problem, but doesn't offer a solution. Is the hob ruined for life?
Cleaning guru Stephanie Zia says, 'Discolouration with a metallic shimmer will come off with a specialist cleaner; scratches or marks that have been caused by a pan base with sharp edges, however, won't come off, though they won't impair the hob's function. Easy-do's Ceramic And Halogen Hob Power Cleanser (£5.60 for a box of two; 07020 921524, mpb.co.uk/easy_do.htm) is a powder you mix into a paste to remove stubborn, burnt-on deposits, salt and mineral stains. You can buy regular ceramic hob cleaners, such as Hob Brite, from supermarkets. Cerapol (£3.99; lakeland.co.uk) is biodegradable and environmentally friendly. Electrolux Toprens (£8.49, plus p&p; ukwhitegoods.co.uk, 01563 559600) is a high-quality cleaner that leaves a silicone film, protecting the surface from spills and making future cleaning easier.
'Ordinary kitchen surface cleaners should never be used on ceramic hobs - as well as possibly damaging the surface, the bleach in them may react with the citric acid in hob cleaners to produce dangerous fumes. If you have used surface cleaners in the past, ensure you've washed away all traces before proceeding.
'Ceramic hob scrapers (Ã£5.99, plus p&p; from ukwhitegoods.co.uk and hardware stores nationwide) will easily remove burnt-on food and stubborn stains without etching the surface. Lakeland has a kit that includes three replacement blades and a conditioning cloth (Ã‚Â£6.99, plus p&p; as before). Nasty spills, such as plastics and burnt-on sugar, should be scraped off immediately while the hob is warm. If it has been left to cool, warm it before cleaning. For day-to-day maintenance, wipe with a damp cloth and a tiny drop of washing-up liquid, then dry with a clean cloth.'
Both Helios Brilliant and Toprens cleaner can also be used on other cooking glass surfaces. For example, glass oven doors and they will do a fantastic job on these as well as on a ceramic hob.
The proves extremely effective for removing burnt on grime and grease from inner oven door glasses as well. Again, used in concert with the cleaner this will give good results.