Tips on Cleaning an Oven

Splatters of sauce from last night’s lasagna, drippings from a roast and bits of cheese from a pizza combined with intense heat equals a baked-on mess in your oven. While countertops, sinks and dishes tend to get a regular scrubbing, the oven usually stays a bit dirty until the next oven-cleaning session occurs.

Smaller weekly oven clean ups can lessen the need for major cleanings.

But there is no reason the oven can’t stay as clean as the rest of the kitchen. Follow some helpful tips to take the dread out of cleaning the oven for good.

Natural Oven Cleaners

Although you may have to use some extra elbow grease as a result, try cleaning your oven with a safe and natural oven cleaner that you can make at home yourself. Leaning into the oven with your scrubbing pad and inhaling the fumes of a harsh chemical cleaning agent is not the healthiest thing you can do. So mix up an effective alternative that will let you breathe easy and make the oven-cleaning experience a little less toxic. Make a paste out of 5 tablespoons of baking soda, three drops of liquid dish soap and 4 tablespoons of white vinegar, according to the Mrs. Clean House Cleaning Specialists website. Stir it into a paste. There will be a considerable bubbling reaction as the baking soda and vinegar combine. Use a sponge to rub the mixture into the oven with a sponge. Let it stand for a few moments and then use a green scrubbing pad to clean everything off. Wipe it clean when finished. You may also mix equal parts of baking soda and hot water as an abrasive to clean the oven.

Self-Cleaning Ovens

If you have a self-cleaning oven, then you only have to do a quick wipe down of the inside of the oven when the extreme heat turns all of the spills and strewn particles into a gray ash. But there are some things you should do so this is a successful venture. Remove all of the racks from the oven. They will need to be cleaned separately. Clean the stovetop, controls and the exterior of the oven door before you start the self-cleaning cycle. The oven will become very hot, as much as 900 degrees, during self-cleaning, so you don’t want to be cleaning the outside while the oven is in the self-cleaning cycle. Always consult your specific model's manual for how to set the oven up for self-cleaning.

Cleaning Racks

Once the racks are removed from the oven, whether it is a self-cleaning or a regular oven, the cleaning process is the same. Simply put, it can be difficult to get hard, baked-on food off of the metal. To make it easier, try placing the racks into a sink full of hot soapy water to soak for a while. The moisture and soap will break down the foods and loosen their grip on the metal. Along with some well-applied elbow grease, you’ll have them shining like new in no time.

Clean As You Go

One of the most important rules of thumb for your oven is to clean as you go. Wiping up spills inside the oven as soon as it is cool enough to do so saves a lot of time not having to scrub at old, dried spills later.