When you are cooking, keep one of those terrycloth facecloths handy. Make it damp even before you start cooking. If you have any spills near your hotplate, wipe it off with the cloth. As it is cotton, it won't burn easily. The terrycloth will absorb surprising amounts so even bigger spills get removed without trouble and before they 'bake in' and are a nightmare waiting for you when you're finished. Be careful though: damp fabric transfers heat very easily, so don't burn yourself. If you are scared of getting burned, use an ordinary cotton kitchen towel, the kind you use to dry your washing up.