How to Clean an Oven Efficiently and Easily

how to clean an oven featured

In this guide, I will share how to clean an oven step by step.

I have used them to clean my own oven efficiently many times. If you follow them one by one, I am pretty you will make it in your kitchen, too.

To make it clear and you can follow the steps easily, I will cover these aspects in the following contents.

What We Need for Cleaning an Oven

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Soft cloth or old towel
  • Rubber gloves
  • A spray bottle
  • Plastic or silicone spatula
  • Soft sponge, or cleaning toothbrush, or non-abrasive scrub brush (Depending on which one you have, and no need to have them all)
  • Bathtub (if necessary)
  • Dishwasher detergent or soap
  • 2 or 3 lemons

First Thing First

Every time when we plan to clean our oven, the first thing to do is turn off the power and wait for it to cool down. By that, we will not burn ourselves. Besides, we will clean the oven with some liquids and the temperature inside the oven will be suddenly dropping. The sudden cooling will have some negative impacts on its interior parts.

Empty the Oven

remove oven racks

Before we start off the cleaning job, we need to remove the racks, trays, food, and anything else in the oven.

Besides that, we can use paper towels or soft cloth to clean up the food residues. If there are some residues out of our reach, normally, I would dip a cotton swab in the detergent and use it to finish the work.

Clean the Oven Inside

Now we can work on the cleaning project. First, put on the rubber gloves. I will strongly recommend you have them on throughout the whole journey. Because we will use baking soda, white vinegar, and more stuff later. Rubber gloves will create a barrier for your skin. The second benefit of having them on is that they can increase our grip. So we can have a more pleasant cleaning experience when we need to scrub something. Most importantly, rubber gloves can protect our manicure.

Then it is about the heating elements. We know that there have already been some oven brands designed with hidden heating elements. However, ovens with exposed heating elements are still popular among some families. If you are using such one, like me, we can use soft cloth to wipe them gently. Please never use over-wet cloth. Because it can reduce the insulation of the heating elements and cause short-circuit or electrical leakage.

Please do not use the steel wool to do this job. Because if there are some steer wires falling into the heating elements, there will be some smell when you use the oven next time. Or in more serious cases, they will lead to short-circuit.

After finishing cleaning the heating elements, a practical tip of mine is using tin foil or aluminum foil to wrap around them. So when we clean the inside of the oven later, we would have no worries about them. Just remember to remove the tin foil or aluminum foil after we finish the inside cleaning.

clean oven inside

Now we are going to make a baking soda paste. In a small bowl, mix the baking soda and water. Please note that we aim at making a paste. So please control the portion between the baking soda and the water.

You may wonder why I use baking soda. Mostly, we may stuff a box of baking soda in the back of the fridge to absorb odors. However, this magical white powder can also be a great helper when we are cleaning the oven. Baking soda can partially saponify grease to produce fatty acid sodium which is soluble in water. And then we can get rid of the grease dirt.

After you finish making the paste, you need to spread the paste all over the inside of the oven. Make sure that the paste covers any inside surface of your oven, including the interior of the glass door.

Finishing the paste spreading? Now what you need to do is just let the oven aside for 12 hours or overnight. During this period, you may notice that some of the paste becomes brownish. It means that the paste is absorbing and decomposing all the dirt adhering to the oven, like the grease. It is fine and normal. You have no need to worry about that.

Meanwhile, we can go to clean the oven racks, since we can do nothing to the oven in a while. And the detailed steps about how to clean the oven racks is right in the following part.

After 12 hours or overnight, first find a damp cloth and wring out the excess water. Then use it to wipe out the dried baking soda as much as you can. If there is some paste hard to remove, no worries, and we can use plastic or silicone spatula to remove the rest of it. Please do not use the metal material spatula, or it will hurt the coating of the oven with a high probability.

If the plastic or silicone spatula is also unable to remove all of the paste, we have another magical tool to help us, the white vinegar. White vinegar is non-toxic and 100-per-cent natural with antibacterial properties. It is my secret weapon to make my home healthy and sparkling clean.

Put some white vinegar in a spray bottle and spritz the liquid to the parts of the oven where there is still some paste. Personally, I would like to splash the white vinegar all over the inside surface of it. Surely it would take more white vinegar.

The remaining baking soda paste will react with the vinegar and make some little bubbles. This will clean the oven more thoroughly and 100% remove all the baking soda. Leave them for about 5 minutes. Then use the damp cloth to wipe out the baking soda and white vinegar. Still, please make sure to squeeze out the excess water from the damp cloth.

And now, that’s it. We have just finished all the operations of cleaning an oven. You will see your oven shining.

Clean the Oven Racks

Oven racks can also be full of grease or some other dirts. However, compared to the oven inside cleaning, the racks cleaning would be a little easier.

Step 1. Find a place where we can clean the racks. I clean my oven racks in my bathtub every time. And I would sincerely recommend you also use it. Some people also use the dishwasher for this job, well if the racks fit its size.

Step 2. Put one or two old towels at the bottom of the bathtub. By this, we can prevent the oven racks from scratching the bathtub, since we will scrub the racks later in the following steps.

Step 3. Place the racks on the towels and cover them with hot water. Let the hot water cover just cover the racks and it would be enough.

Step 4. Pour ½ cup of the dishwasher detergent into the hot water or just simply use soap. I prefer soap.

Step 5. Similar to cleaning the oven inside, now, we need to leave them for several hours. 4 or 5 hours would be enough. If you are doing this job at night, leave it overnight.

Step 6. After soaking in the hot water with the dishwasher detergent or soap, oven racks would become very easy to clean. Take a soft sponge or non-abrasive scrub brush to wipe off the dirts. For those parts where the soft sponge or non-abrasive scrub brush cannot reach, we can sue cleaning toothbrush.

Step 7. Rinse it with water and then wait for it to dry naturally.

Step 8. Lastly, get the cleaned oven racks back to the oven. And that’s it.

Clean the Oven Glass Door

When we are cleaning the inside of the oven, we have actually used the baking soda paste to clean the interior side of the oven glass door. For the outside, we can still use the baking soda paste to make it. There would be no difference from the operations mentioned in the first part.

What I want to make this part unique is that we can also remove the glass door to clean it, if you can. Mostly, I would do that. Because owing to having removed the glass, we can access the in-between layers of our oven. And usually there are many crumbs and dust. I usually use a vacuum hose to remove them.

Clean the Oven Knobs

clean oven knobs

After a long period of usage, the oven knobs can also be very dirty and even grossy. Here is how to make it clean.

Follow the manuals and remove the knobs. Then soak them in the dishwasher with white vinegar. If the oven brand does not enable you to remove the knobs, you can spray the white vinegar around them. Meanwhile, you can also spray the white vinegar over the surface around the knobs, if it is dirty and you want to clean it. Then leave them for several minutes

Next, wipe down the entire surface with a damp cloth, especially where the knobs sit. Then, take the knobs and clean them thoroughly with soft spondage. And then make the knobs dry natuarry and put them back to the oven.

Eliminate the Smell

This would be our last part for cleaning the oven. After we take advantage of baking soda and white vinegar in the oven, there would be some smell. Besides that, normally the oven often is also with the chemical smell, if it is a quite new one, and burnt smell.

To get rid of them, I mostly use lemons. Tea can also be a very good option. Wash the oranges and cut off the orange peel with a knife. The orange peel should have some pulp. Then put the orange peel in the tray and bake them in the oven at 170 degrees for 5-8 minutes. You will get rid of the smell efficiently.

How Often Should I Clean an Oven?

This is a real question with varying answers from person to person. However, I have three suggestions which can help you make the decision.

The first one is checking the general appearance. If you see some or lots of crust, residue, grease or grime in the oven, then you can do the job. The second one is the odor. If the oven has a distinct smell, and worse when you fire up the oven, you can do the job. And the last one is if there is smoke when using the oven.

Should I Use the Oven Self Cleaning Function?

On the oven market now, there are many brands having the self cleaning function. Many people think it is a quite user-friendly feature. You don’t need to do a bunch of things, like above, to clean the oven, but just enable the self cleaning function. It will do all of the rest of things. Well, this is ture. However, I do not recommend you to use it. Why?

Because there is the possibility of danger. I have researched on the web and asked many friends of mine. More and more people have complained that the oven self cleaning burnt out the fuse.

The reason behind it is that most of the newer ovens normally have heating elements hidden underneath the oven floor and above the oven ceiling. We have said in the first part that this kind of design is very user-friendly for cleaning. But the question is that it’s also more difficult to emit the heat from those elements. Normally we bake in the oven at 350 to 500 degrees. However, the self cleaning function often requires temperatures at 1000 degrees or even more.

So considering your safety and the lifespan of the oven, I would definitely recommend you say no to the self cleaning function.

What to Do Next?

If you want to clean the oven less frequently, one of my life tips is making some simple and basic cleaning every time I finish using it. Besides, I have also placed a tin foil right below the heating elements at the bottom of the oven. It can catch the basking residues and will save a lot of work of cleaning. What I need to do is just change the tin foil regularly.

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