I know the thought of cleaning your oven is probably making you cringe, but enough is enough.
Do you even recall the last time you cleaned your oven? If not, then it is time to stop procrastinating and include “clean the oven” on your to-do list this week. Schedule it on a day where you know there is going to be little to no activity in the kitchen.
Finally deciding to tackle the challenge of cleaning your oven is an excellent thing, trust me. In any task that involves in-depth cleaning, preparation is vital. Since you have decided to clean your oven, while you’re at it, you can go ahead and clean the stove top as well. Better to do the whole bit in one weekend, for that, follow this step by step guide on how to clean your stove top.
First, you need to check if your oven has a self-cleaning setting. It is safe to use that setting but be aware that your oven will heat up to 800 – 900 degrees Fahrenheit or 427 – 482 degrees Celsius. This will permanently burn any grime or dirt to ashes, and once it cools after about two hours, you will just need to sweep it clean.
If your oven does not have the self-cleaning option, then you are going to have to do it the old-fashioned way, with a little know-how and some elbow grease.
You can use two different kinds of cleaning products when attempting to clean your oven. Chemical products like oven cleaners which are manufactured for the sole purpose of eliminating burnt food stains and removing carbon deposits.
Ammonia is another harsh chemical product which is a useful household cleaning agent but both ammonia and oven cleaners expel noxious fumes. There are oven cleaners that claim to be fume-free , so keep your eye out for those at the store if you decide to take the chemical route.
The second kind of cleaning product would be our naturally made cleaning solutions. This would be baking soda mixed with water or dishwashing liquid, and you can use vinegar for a final touch up, the same household cleaning solutions used in my previous article how to thoroughly clean your bathroom.
Tools to prepare for oven cleaning
- Rubber Gloves
- Cleaning Product
- Old towel
How to clean an Oven
It is imperative not to clean an oven until after it has cooled, usually two hours after it was last used. If you own a self-cleaning oven and have completed its self-cleaning cycle, just grab a mini broom and dustpan and sweep clean.
For good measure and to get that sparkle back spray some oven cleaner inside your oven, let it sit for however long the directions say then wipe clean with a sponge or you can also use vinegar in a spray bottle to get that shine back and wipe clean with a damp washcloth.
You may have a self-cleaning oven and do not trust that feature, who can blame you? Who would want something heating up close to a thousand degrees inside their home? You don’t have to worry, just follow these steps, and your oven will be cleaner than you thought possible.
Depending on what you decided to use as your cleaning product the steps below will provide you with all the information for all the different product options, just directly follow the details for your product of choice. Lay the old towel or large rag under the oven door to catch any debris.
Step 1 Rack removal
Oven cleaner – You can buy these online or at your local grocery store. They come in a convenient, ready to use spray bottle. First, take out the racks and lay them on a large plastic sheet, a regular trash bag should do the trick.
Just lay them flat on the ground on top of the plastic bag and spray every inch of the racks. Make sure to turn them over and target each part and give them a good coat of oven cleaner then let it set. Read the directions to verify how long you would have to wait.
Ammonia – If you decide to use ammonia, first thing you need to do is put on rubber gloves. Then you can remove the racks and put them in a trash bag and pour a cup of ammonia in, tie the bag closed and put it in a bucket in case it leaks. Bring the bucket to the garage or a guest bathroom and put it in the bathtub.
This way, just in case the plastic bag ruptures the fumes will not assault your family’s senses.
Baking soda and water or dishwashing liquid – If you decided to use the homemade cleaning solution made from baking soda and liquid dishwashing soap or water. Use a cup of baking soda with a few teaspoons of water and mix well to form a paste. You can use dishwashing liquid instead of water, then all you need to do is follow the steps below.
Remove the racks, put them in your kitchen sink, utility sink or if your sink is not big enough for your oven racks to fit in, then lay them in your bathtub. Then add several drops of liquid dishwashing soap plus hot water, make sure the racks are entirely submerged and leave them to soak.
Step 2 Cleanser application
Oven cleaners – Simply open the oven door and spray away, make sure to target the spots where there is any buildup of baked grease or other foreign materials that are not supposed to be there. Spray the sides, the bottom, avoid the heating element of the oven, spray around it though.
If you are wondering how to clean an oven window, this is one of the best ways. Just spray the oven window and let it all set.
Ammonia – Pour a cup of ammonia in your oven and close the oven door shut. Make sure it is locked tight. If you can still smell the ammonia even with the oven door closed, consider putting some tape or plastic wrap around the edges of the door to prevent the fumes from leaking out.
Baking soda and water or dishwashing liquid – If you have mixed the baking soda and water to form a paste that is great. You can also do the same thing and pour a cup of baking soda and a cup of water in an empty spray bottle. Either delivery method will work the same.
For the paste, just apply the paste mixture using a sponge or spatula throughout the insides of the oven. Make sure to apply it generously in all problem areas, the sides and the surrounding area of the heating element as well. It is recommended to let it set for 12 hours or overnight. This is one of the most popular ways on how to clean an oven.
Step 3 Elbow Grease
Oven cleaners – Now grab the oven racks that you left on top of the plastic sheet and use a sponge to scrub and get the grease out. The grime and old carbon should just peel right off; you would need to rinse your sponge several times during this process.
This is one of the best solutions on how to clean oven racks. Scrub the racks clean with your sponge and then rinse in hot soapy water. After you are done with the racks, it is now time to scrub clean the inside of the oven itself.
You may need to use a heavy duty scrub sponge for the tough carbon deposits. Just plough through the inside of the oven with your sponge and good old elbow grease to get the gunk out.
Use a paper towel to scoop up the build up gunk and proceed with cleaning. Once you have scrubbed and wiped the whole inside of the oven, use a damp washcloth for a final wipe down.
After you are done cleaning the inside of the oven and the oven window install the racks and you are done.
Ammonia – Go to where you left your bucket and open the trash bag and take the racks out and wipe clean with a sponge. Once you have removed all the racks from the trash bag, you need to dispose of the ammonia.
Just puncture the plastic bag if it isn’t already ruptured and let the ammonia fill the bucket so you can quickly pour it in the toilet then flush it away.
Throw the plastic bag away as well. Now get back to scrubbing the racks, you should notice the carbon just peel off. This method is one of the best ways on how to clean oven racks. After you have scrubbed the racks clean, it is now to clean the inside of the oven.
Remove the tape from the sides of the oven and if your sponge is still usable go ahead and reuse it. If it is not, then grab a new sponge and start scrubbing the inside of the oven. You may want to position an electric fan beside you so that it can work to blow the fumes away.
Scrub and wipe the inside as well as the oven window until you have removed all the gunk, rinse your sponge as needed. Use a paper towel to scoop up the accumulated debris inside the oven. When you are done cleaning the inside, grab a damp washcloth and wipe down the inside of the oven.
Use a spray bottle filled with vinegar for the final touch up and to remove any remaining smell of the ammonia. You may need to do this several times for good measure. After making sure the entire oven is clean and free from any lingering smell of ammonia, reinstall the racks and that should be it.
Baking soda and water or dishwashing liquid – Remove the racks from where you left it to soak for a few hours and start scrubbing them clean using a sponge. This may take a quite a lot of elbow grease. The warm water and liquid soap should have loosened the gunk from grills of the rack so cleaning them should be more comfortable.
Use a heavy duty sponge if the regular one gets worn out and rinse it out as needed. Once you’re done cleaning the oven racks, it is now time to clean the inside of the oven.
After letting the natural cleaning solution set for 12 hours, you can go ahead and launch a full-scale attack using your heavy duty sponge plus your muscles to scrub it clean.
You should notice the dirt just coming off the oven. For the tough spots spray some vinegar on the baking soda paste, it will create a chemical reaction which intensifies the cleaning process. Follow it up with more elbow grease to get all the stubborn stains out.
Don’t forget to clean the oven window and oven door; this is one of the best ways available on how to clean an oven door. Once you are satisfied the inside of the oven is clean enough, use a damp washcloth to wipe every inch.
Then all that’s left to do is reinstall the racks and there you have it, one clean oven.
Most of us put off cleaning the oven for so long that it becomes quite unsanitary if you think about it. Now that you know it does not take much to clean your oven do not procrastinate too long. Add it to your monthly schedule.
Choose a cleaning product that works best for you. Try them all out and see for yourself. Use Foil wrap or a baking sheet at the bottom of your oven when you bake something, this way the mess drops on removable layers instead of being burned into your oven.