How to Clean an Oven Using 3 Different Methods

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Ick, you went to roast some potatoes and noticed that your oven is covered with a layer of thick and greasy slime. (That’s what you get for spending months and months whipping up delicious recipes from scratch.) But before you hit auto clean—which cranks the oven temp way up, likely setting off your smoke alarm—hear us out. There are better ways to give your appliance a good once over. Below, learn how to clean an oven without a visit from the fire department.

How often should you clean your oven? 

Technically, the right thing to do is to clean your oven after every use. But who are we kidding? Cleaning your oven seems like such a minor task compared to the hundreds of other chores you have to do around your house, so it’s easy to consistently put it off. However, as busy as life can get, it’s important to give your oven a good scrub at least once a month. Do it sooner if you begin to smell odors when you turn it on or when there are spills on trays or the door—the faster you get to them, the easier they are to remove.

Which parts of your oven should you clean?

Each oven is different, so make sure to read your manual to know which parts are safe or unsafe to clean. Generally speaking, it’s not a good idea to scrub the heating elements on the roof and floor of the oven, but the following parts can be cleaned with no problems:

  • Doors
  • Racks
  • Oven windows
  • Walls
  • Knobs

How to clean your oven naturally

So you want to give your oven a deep scrub without using harsh chemicals? There are two natural routes you can take that’ll leave your beloved baking machine squeaky clean.

How to clean an oven with vinegar and baking soda  

What you need:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Paintbrush
  • Plastic scraper or spatula
  • Damp cloth
  • Spray bottle
  • White vinegar

Step 1: Start by removing all trays and pans that are in your oven.

Step 2:  Combine two to three tablespoons of water with half a cup of baking soda to make a paste. Make sure it’s not too thick or too runny, so it spreads easily.

Step 3: Apply the baking soda paste to your oven walls and floor using the paintbrush. Wear rubber gloves so you can get to the tiniest corners without covering yourself in baking soda. (Added tip: Use an old toothbrush to get to any hard-to-reach nooks and crannies). Again, stay clear of the heating elements.

Step 4: The paste works best if it’s left for at least 12 hours, so apply before you go to bed, or early in the morning before you leave your house for the day.

Step 5: After letting the paste sit and dry, dampen your cloth and wipe out the oven. Use a spatula or plastic scraper for any residue that’s clinging on.

Step 6: Finally, mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray your oven door—steering clear of that gasket. Wipe it down with a clean cloth.

How to clean an oven with lemons  

What you need:

  • Two lemons
  • Oven-safe medium mixing bowl
  • Rubber gloves
  • Damp cloth

Step 1: Fill your mixing bowl with water and cut the two lemons in half before adding them to the bowl.

Step 3: Set your oven to 250 degrees.

Step 4: Once your oven is nice and hot, place the bowl on one of the racks. Leave it shut in for an hour.

Step 5: After the hour is up, allow the oven to cool down for some minutes, but don’t let it get cold. When it’s safe to do so, put on some rubber gloves and wipe the appliance using a damp cloth. Use a textured sponge to get to those stubborn stains.

How to clean your oven with cleaning products

Don’t have 12 hours to let your oven bask in baking soda? Don’t have any extra lemons around? No worries, you can still clean that oven using a store-bought oven cleaner.

What you need:

How to clean an oven with household cleaning items

Step 1: Remove all trays and pans that are in your oven.

Step 2: Some oven cleaners tend to have strong fumes, so it’s wise to wear protective gear like face masks and safety glasses while treating your oven.

Step 3: Spray your oven cleaner as needed, making sure you get to the tight corners that are hard to reach. As with the natural method, you want to make sure you’re not spraying the heating elements.

Step 4: Close the oven door and let the cleaner sit as written on the label—typically 20 to 30 mins.

Step 5. Wipe out your oven using a damp cloth. Use a textured sponge to scrub off any sticky residue.

Can I use a self-cleaning setting?

The simple answer is yes. The self-cleaning setting is available on more modern stoves and while it is super convenient, there are several things to know if your oven is equipped with the setting.

There are two types of self-cleaning models—high-heat or steam-based. The high-heat model is exactly what it sounds like. This setting cranks up the temperature to approximately 900 to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and melts away any food remains or gunk within the oven. A high-heat self-cleaning cycle will automatically lock your oven door and lasts anywhere between two to six hours, so you have plenty of time to tend to other chores (while keeping an eye on the oven, of course). Once the cycle is complete, the temperature is lowered, and the door unlocks.

The steam-based model typically requires you to place one cup of distilled water onto the oven floor before turning on the “steam clean mode.” Unlike the high-heat mode, this setting goes for roughly 30 to 60 minutes and leaves the oven door unlocked while temperatures climb to approximately 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s worth noting that while high-heat models have steam-based models beat when it comes to removing baked in stains, both modes tend to release strong fumes, and even harmful chemicals such as carbon monoxide, so you want to use the self-cleaning setting sparingly. Make sure your oven is empty before you begin self-cleaning—clear out all racks and remove all food particles as much as you can. Ensure that your carbon monoxide monitor is working to alert you of leaks as soon as possible. Above everything else, make sure you read your appliance’s manual so you know you’re doing the right thing. 

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