The $5 Cleaning Solution That Saved Me Hundreds on My Security Deposit

updated Oct 8, 2019
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Credit: Bed Bath & Beyond

When I moved into my new apartment, I couldn’t believe my luck—an in-unit washer-dryer (drool!), medium-size dishwasher (pinch me now!), and real wood flooring (stop it!). But the clincher? The shiniest glass stovetop I’d ever seen. After years of cleaning rusty gas stovetops that literally made me swear off cooking, a shiny glass stovetop was a massive step up. There weren’t any secret, dark crevices for food scraps to hide in, and since it was a flat surface with a touchpad, I didn’t have to put in all that muscle work to scrub down multiple bits and bobs.

As with any new, shiny object, I was extra careful for the first few weeks, watching for sudden splashes from simmering sauces and quickly wiping down the surface as soon as I was done. But alas, as with any new object, I eventually grew indifferent. And then one morning, milk boiled over—and things got ugly. Since the surface was hot, the spilled milk quickly solidified into a disgusting white, crusty layer that burned at the edges and seemed to have embedded itself into the surface. No amounts of Clorox, cleaning spray, or even a DIY baking soda bath could get it off. My even bigger worry? Getting my security deposit back when I moved out.

I searched the internet for solutions before my next-door neighbor kindly sent me a link to a $4.99 wonder that’s not only affordable but also works like a charm: Astonish Cooktop Cleaner and Sponge Set.

The cleaner comes neatly packaged in a compact tub. The top part is a sponge that has a soft as well as an abrasive side, while the bottom is a malleable cleaning clay that’s a blend of lemon and ginger. Unlike other heavy-duty cleaning solutions, it doesn’t require gloves when handling. The first time I used it, I simply dampened the sponge’s abrasive side with a few drops of water, dabbed on some clay, and gently worked it into the crusty burns. Like magic, I could see it all instantly peeling off.

Next, I flipped the sponge over to the soft side and gave the surface another quick rub. Once all the burns, spills, and visible spots were clean, I washed the sponge completely and gave it a good squeeze before using the soft side to sop up the remnants. The final step was to use damp paper towels to wipe off any residue. Easy-peasy!

Nine months have passed and I’m still using that same Astonish set to clean my stovetop (a little goes a long way!). Although abrasive, the scrub is still a lot more gentle than other surface cleaners and tackles tough grease, burn marks, and stains without leaving scratches or marks on precious surfaces. It’s also time efficient and takes minutes to get the job done.

As far as my deposit goes, I can safely say that a scratchy stovetop won’t be the death of me. The multiple holes in the walls in my attempt to put up a gallery wall…well, that’s another story.