How to clean an oven

How to clean an oven and stay satisfied

Everyone who owns an oven has been there, small mishap after small mishap happen while you’re cooking and before you know it every part of your oven is filthy. Cleaning an oven can be a real chore with all the elements that need to be cleaned, there’s the top, the inside, the doors, the racks, the list goes on, and many people don’t know proper techniques for cleaning these parts, or what products to use. But that’s okay, there are ways to clean an oven quickly and easily, and with Thanksgiving just around the corner now’s a great time to learn how to clean an oven. 

What do I use to clean an oven?

Do you ever ask yourself “What is the best way to clean an oven?” But what we really want to know is how to clean an oven quickly. Now some ovens have an auto cleaning feature, which removes burnt on food from the inside of the stove using heat. This method is easy sure, but it smells horrible, and even if your oven claims to be ‘self-cleaning’ it’s not going to deal with everything for you. We’d recommend instead whipping up this easy to make, all-natural, homemade oven cleaner and scrubbing yourself; it’ll take a bit more time and elbow grease sure, but it’ll end up even cleaner then the auto clean could get it, and smell a whole lot better too.

The first thing you’ll need to clean the oven is a cleaning solution. You can buy many special made oven cleaning solutions, but commercial oven cleaners are full of chemicals, and for those of you looking for a more inexpensive and natural homemade oven cleaner you can make one out of 3 things you probably have readily available: Baking soda, vinegar, and water. 

Homemade Oven Cleaner Recipe: 

  • ½ cup of baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons of water
  • 1 spray bottle with white vinegar 
  • 1 dishcloth
  • 1 spatula 
  • Some rubber gloves (recommended but optional)

Getting your oven ready to clean

Before cleaning your oven, you’ll want to make sure that there can be about 12 hours to let the homemade cleaning solution sit. During this time the oven shouldn’t be used to cook anything, so try and time your cleaning so it can either sit overnight or be left alone during a time you know you won’t be using your oven to cook anything. The first step to cleaning your oven is going to be preparing the homemade cleaning solution. To start all you’re going to need is your ½ cup of baking soda and 3 teaspoons of water. Put the baking soda in a bowl, then begin adding water by the teaspoon until it forms a frosting-like paste. Feel free to add more or less water if you feel that the solution is ready early or that it isn’t quite pasty enough yet, 3 teaspoons is just what worked for us.

Before you can use the baking soda and water solution, you’ll have to remove the racks and clear any movable elements from your oven. Simply open up your oven (make sure it’s completely cooled off first) and pull out the racksalong with any other removable elements such as pizza stones or thermometers. Now if the oven is dirty enough to need cleaning it’s highly likely that your oven racks will be messy as well, so before we get to actually cleaning the inside of the oven we’ll explain how to clean oven racks.

Cleaning oven racks

Anyone who’s cleaned an oven before knows that it’s difficult to completely scrub all the gunk off of an oven rack. There’s an even easier way to clean your oven racks if you have a few hours to spare, and if you’re following this guide and cleaning your oven racks at the same time as the whole oven, then you can just let the racks sit at the same time as your oven.

First, you’ll need to get your bathtub and a couple of old towels. Make sure you’re using old ragged towels and not your bath towels since these are going to be getting a bit messy. Lay the towels out so that they cover the bottom of your bathtub so that the racks don’t scratch up your tub, then simply lay the racks down in the tub and turn on the hot water. You don’t need a full tub, just enough to fully cover up the racks. Make sure that the drain is off so that the water stays sitting in the tub, then get some dish detergent from your kitchen. Measure out about ½ a cup of dish detergent then add it to the water, mixing it around for a while to make sure that it’s evenly spread out across the water. Then you’re done, for now. Time to get back to the kitchen. 

Cleaning the inside of the oven

Now that your oven racks are dealt with you can finally get to cleaning the inside of the oven. This will probably be the trickiest part, but it’ll get your oven as clean as it can be. You’re going to want to get the bowl of baking soda and water you mixed earlier and bring it over to the oven. Then you’ll need to spread the mixture all over the interior of your oven, avoiding the heating elements. We’d recommend using a pair of rubber gloves for this, merely dipping your gloved fingers in the mixture and spreading it with your hand, but if you’d prefer you can use just about anything that could spread it. Try and get an even amount everywhere, and don’t worry about some parts seeming too chunky or liquidy, the texture doesn’t matter too much as long as it’s evenly spread and it sticks to your oven. When you’re done, the oven should look something like this.

Once the inside of your oven is covered in the baking soda mixture, you’ll want to let it sit for about 12 hours, but we can get the last couple parts of the oven clean before having to wait. 

Cleaning the outside surfaces

The grime that builds up on the inside of your oven isn’t the only thing that needs cleaning, the outside of an oven can also get covered in stains from random cooking mishaps, dropped food, and natural day to day little accidents. The exterior of the stove is probably the easiest part to get clean, you just need some dish soap and water and a sponge or dishcloth.

The outside of an oven is cleaned just like you’d clean any other surface, or like cleaning a dish; you merely get your warm soapy water in a container, move that container over to the oven, then rub all the dirty surfaces of your ovens outside using a warm soapy sponge (or dishcloth). Most stains on the outside of your oven will come off with just a little bit of scrubbing, so you’ll want to just keep going until it’s as clean as you want it to be.

After that, there’s only one part of the oven that can still be cleaned before you’ll have to wait for everything to sit, the oven door.

How to clean a glass oven door

Now if your model of oven doesn’t have a glass door then it’s as simple as cleaning the rest of the outside surfaces is, you simply scrub it with warm soapy water. But if you’re cleaning your glass oven door (or a glass stovetop like mine has), then you’ll need to go about it a bit differently. Conveniently the same homemade oven cleaner we made before can be used to clean a glass oven door.

In case you forgot the mixture is made up of: 

  • ½ cup of baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons of water

As before you merely pour a half a cup of baking soda into a bowl, then add water by the teaspoon until it has a nice frosting-like consistency to it.

Once the second batch of the cleaning solution is made you’ll want to take a clean rag or cloth, dip it in the cleaning solution, then spread the solution over all your ovens glass surfaces.

Once the solution has been spread you’ll have to wait for a little while, it won’t take the 12 or so hours that the inside of the oven and the oven racks will take, the solution only takes about 15-20 minutes to do its job depending on how dirty the oven is. During this time you may want to work on cleaning up and putting away the dishes and ingredients you used for making and applying the cleaning solution, you won’t be needing it anymore.

Once the 15-20 minutes have passed, you’ll want to use a clean rag (not the same rag that was used to spread the cleaning solution, unless that rag is already clean) to wipe off all the cleaning solution on your glass (not the solution on the inside of your oven). A damp washcloth is recommended as the warm water will make it easier to get the solution off and give the stove that extra polish. Then with the oven door clean, the ovens outside surfaces clean, the oven racks soaking, and the homemade cleaning solution applied to the inside of the oven, you’re done for now.

The interior of the oven and the oven racks will take about 12 hours to be ready, so just let them sit for about that long, be sure not to use your oven or drain the bathtub until the time is up. In the meantime take a break, you’ve earned it if you did this before bed, feel free to sleep and let the oven clean itself overnight.

Finishing the job

After 12 hours have passed, you’ll be ready to finish getting your oven clean. First, we’ll remove the cleaning solution from the inside of your oven. Take a damp and clean dishcloth or rag and use it to wipe up the dry cleaning solution from the inside of your oven. If there are any clumps you can’t get off using a dishcloth then use something like a spatula to scrape it off.

Once you feel that the cleaning solution has been wiped off sufficiently, you’ll want to get your spray bottle of white vinegar. Using the spray bottle, spritz every surface of the inside of your oven with white vinegar, the baking soda in whatever is left of the cleaning solution will react by lightly foaming.

While the inside of your oven is foaming you’ll want to clean off your dishcloth or rag or get another one, and once the foaming has died down some you simply wipe up all the foamy oven cleaning solution with your dishcloth or rag.

If you feel that the oven isn’t quite clean enough after this feel free to repeat the process, spraying in a bit more vinegar then wiping it down again until your oven is sparkly clean. Then with the oven cleaned out the final step will be cleaning the racks.

Go back to the tub where you left your oven racks, and grab a sponge or brush. Since the oven racks have been soaking in warm soapy water for so long, you’ll find it easier to brush off the remaining gunk. It should be doable with just a little bit of scrubbing.

If there are any bits of gunk you still can’t remove even by scrubbing feel free to use something like a spatula to scrape it off, just like the hard to get spots on the inside of the oven. Keep scrubbing until the racks are as clean as you want them to be, then dry them off with a towel and put them back in your oven.

Then you’re all done! The oven should now be as clean as the day you bought it.

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