Nigella, I've recently moved into a apartment where there's been a sadly unloved ceramic hob that's seen better days -some time ago! Each of the ceramic plates (the rough grey kind, not the nice shiny new ones available) are stained and marked with burnt on 'food'. What can I use to restore the plates? The smell of burning 'matter' is revolting. Short of replacing it I'm at a loss what to do! I've used cream cleaners, but that just adds to the acrid burning smell that I'm hoping to avoid.
To clean a ceramic hob you usually first need to carefully scrape away any burnt on food residue. We would suggest that you try to acquire a special tool to do this as it usually involves a sharp blade which needs to be angled correctly to prevent scratching the ceramic surface. These can usually be found in DIY stores (see links below) as well as some kitchenware stores and supermarkets.
Once the surface debris has been removed then some form on non-abrasive cleaner should be used. Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) made into a paste with a little water and applied with a soft cloth is a good option, or you can use a commercial product such as HobBrite. With any cleaning product we would suggest testing a small amount in an inconspicuous area first, to make sure that it will not stain or makr the hob. Rinse away any residue with fresh water then dry the hob with a soft cloth.