Never use  an iron sponge or any other abrasive to clean your stove top if you want to enjoy it for a long time. The kitchen stove or gas cooker is the main appliance in any kitchen, without a stove, most
food cannot be cooked and so it deserves good maintenance and great care. The condition of your cooking stove sometimes tells how clean or not too clean the kitchen is. However, no matter how hygienic or clean we are, when we cook, the stove sure gets dirty. No one should come here and tell me that their stove never gets burnt, greasy or dirty oh. Every cooking stove also called gas cooker gets burnt especially when grains like rice are boiled, they many times boil over the pot, spill  and mess up the whole stove and honestly, no woman or man likes it when food boils and gets the stove top all messy. 
The best thing to do at that time of cooking is to clean or wipe the spill with  a napkin or tissue paper because if left on the hot cooker, spills dry up, get burnt and with time turn the stovetop to brown and then eventually black.

I haven't seen a black stove top before any way but I strongly believe that if burnt stoves are not properly cleaned for long periods of time, they can turn black and how will that look? 
The beauty of a kitchen to me, aside the clean pots which most times are stored away and you can't really see them, is the gas cooker. Your stove is never put in drawers or kitchen cabinets, cannot be kept in the pantry either. The stove is always the first large appliance that catches anyone's glance. A clean stove top means a clean kitchen. Food bloggers go through a lot to take beautiful photos and they do a great job at cropping because sometimes, the food (Ogbono soup) spill is there and you crop until the beauty of the photo begins to get affected. There were times I cooked, did step by step photo taking and refused to crop  consoling myself that every stove gets food spills while on duty and I just post them like that but those are very few time because we want to put our best foot forward, we want to show clean surroundings while cooking but to tell you the truth, no matter how you clean, a stove is a stove and must get burnt and dirty at one time or the other while trying to cook some foods. 

Stove stains when left to dry are so stubborn that dishwashing liquids alone can't clean them. Most kitchens use kitchen cleaning agents and detergents to remove those stains but sometimes those are exhausted and one needs to quickly clean that  brown looking stovetop. What do you do? Use your abrasive sponge? NO. Abrasive sponges will scratch lines on the metal and make it look worse even after forcefully removing the stains.

There are simple things we can do to ensure that the kitchen stovetop remains clean and sparkling even after the stove is old:

1. Use scouring powder on the kitchen stove top. Do not mix the scouring powder with too much water before use, dampen your palm, pour some powder in there and gently scrub or dampen the stovetop, sprinkle some powder and scrub with a soft sponge or foam If the scouring powder like we have the vim and voom in Nigeria and other brands of scouring powders, if they do not foam while scrubbing, add detergents to the powder, mix and use to scrub the stovetop very well.

2. After scrubbing with the powder, do not wash with water, just get a damp napkin kept for the purpose of cleaning and wipe and rinse off, wipe and rinse off continuously until all the stain and soap is off. When you wipe, the kitchen napkin will be full of soap and dirt and without rinsing, it cannot do a great job.

3. Use toothpicks for those areas that your finger cannot reach. If you have cleaners or house helps doing the cleaning job, show them how to insert toothpick in those corners and remove the hidden cooking oils else they may not touch those areas.
 Without inserting toothpicks and removing those thick and sometimes dry hidden oils at the corners and around the knobs/valves, the stove with time will begin to look like a public kitchen stove. After scrubbing with cleaning agents, it's very important to get a tooth pick and clean the hidden areas and cracks if any.
4. When stove top cleaning is done, you can now remove the burner covers and wash  very well with detergents. Removing them before cleaning will enable water into into the gas burners. Let the burner covers sit there until stove top cleaning is complete, then remove them, wash clean and dry in the sun or wipe properly before returning.

5. The pot stand should also be washed from time to time because that part of a stovetop really accumulates grease over time. If you fail to wash the pot stand regularly, with time, you won't want to touch it with your hands because it will feel sticky from cooking oil accumulation and dirt.

6. The knobs/valves. When cleaning them, be careful not to turn the gas flames on and off or to ignite fire. Do not turn them while cleaning because gas can escape and not everyone can smell gas in the house. Some people do not have that sense of smell and may not know gas is escaping into the house. After wiping the knobs clean, use a toothpick here too to remove hidden grease where the hands cannot reach.

7. The gas cooker cover should not be forgotten during cleaning especially when spring cleaning the kitchen. Let it cover the stove completely, while you wipe it both front and back with  cleaning agents and a napkin or soft sponge. Sometimes the reason that part of the cooker gets forgotten during cleaning is because it's never used . Get's remembered only when the owner is moving home and needs to pack the stove in a carton or something. 

Aside vim and voom that are popular in Nigeria, there are many other cleaning agents that can turn the stove top from greasy to a sparkling new stovetop:
White vinegar
Baking soda
Hydrogen peroxide.
These also have cleaning properties and can help keep the stove top clean and sparkling. 
How do you clean your stovetop? Please share with us.