Woman wiping oven rack

How To Clean Your Oven Without Scrubbing

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There are several ways to clean your oven naturally. Making a homemade oven cleaner with baking soda is a simple alternative, or use steam to dissolve stains so the mess is easy to wipe away.

How Often Should You Clean Your Oven?

Wipe up spills in your oven as they happen to prolong the time between more thorough cleanings. Then, clean your oven at least twice a year or every three months if you use it often.

Keeping your oven clean will prevent pests, reduce the risk of cooking fires, and prolong your oven’s life.

Steps to Clean Your Oven with Baking Soda

This method takes just a few minutes of active effort and between 2 and 24 hours of waiting time.

Step 1. Gather Your Supplies

  • Baking soda (bicarbonate)
  • Water
  • White vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • Small bowl
  • Sponge, rag, or paper towels

Step 2: Remove the Racks and Spills

Remove the racks and use a wet rag to wipe large spills from the oven’s floor. If you need to scrape or pry up any burned-on bits, use a non-metal spatula.

Step 3: Apply a Baking Soda Paste

Combine 1/2 cup baking soda with 1/3 cup water in a small bowl to make a spreadable paste that will serve as a homemade oven cleaner.

Using a sponge or paper towel, apply the mixture to your oven’s interior surfaces, avoiding the heating elements. You can use this on your oven door’s glass, too.

Wait at least 2 hours for the cleaner to dissolve grease and loosen grime. For ovens with stubborn stains, leave it in place overnight.

Step 4: Spray and Wipe

Loosen the dried paste with hot water and scoop up large bits with a rag. Then, fill a spray bottle with equal parts warm water and white vinegar and mist this everywhere in your oven — it will fizz and foam as it hits the baking soda residue.

Wait for the fizzing to stop, then the surfaces with a warm, damp rag or paper towel. Prop the oven door open, let it air dry, and then put the racks back inside.

Instructions for the Steam-Clean Option

To steam clean your oven, remove all but the middle rack. Place a large metal roasting pan or Dutch oven on the rack and fill it with 3 inches of boiling water.

Close the oven door and set it to 450°F (233°C) for a half-hour, during which the water produces steam that dissolves greasy spills.

Turn the oven off and wait for it to cool enough to touch — about an hour. Then discard the water and wipe away loosened grime with a damp, soapy cloth and rinse with a clean, damp cloth. Let the oven air dry, then put the racks back inside.

How To Clean A Self-Cleaning Oven

Self-cleaning ovens are convenient but not effortless. For one thing, you’ll need to be home and awake throughout the cycle to watch for excess smoke and fire. Also, although this function does not use harsh chemical sprays, it still produces greasy smoke.

So, you’ll need to open your kitchen windows to let in fresh air and keep pets out of the kitchen. Finally, be aware that using the self-cleaning function is discouraged since it can shorten the lifespan of your appliance.

1. To prevent fires, empty the oven and clear the cooktop. Self-cleaning ovens reach temperatures over 550°(F) so anything touching them can get damaged. Do not leave racks or cookware inside the oven during the self-cleaning cycle.

2. Wipe charred bits of food and other loose debris from your oven floor. This step helps reduce the smoke and odors produced during the cleaning cycle. It also reduces the risk of fire.

3. Most ovens will not begin the self-cleaning cycle if the door is not locked. If your oven does not automatically lock for you, press the lock button or slide the lever to lock it. Do not attempt to open the oven again until the cycle completes.

4. Turn on the oven’s self-cleaning function. How long a self-cleaning oven takes depends on which cycle you choose, and you should plan additional cooling time, too. Most offer a 2-hour cycle suitable for light cleaning and a 4-hour cycle for very dirty ovens.

Your oven will turn off when the cycle ends. It will release the lock once it cools to a standard cooking temperature (around 350°F).

5. Wipe away any ash with a damp cloth when the oven is cool. Finally, put the racks back inside and enjoy.

How to Clean Oven Racks

To clean your oven racks, line the bottom of a large sink or bathtub with a towel and fill it with hot water. Add a dishwasher pod or 2 tablespoons of powdered or liquid dishwasher detergent and swirl to dissolve.

Lay the racks on the towel and let them soak for at least 4 hours, or overnight if possible. Scrub the remaining grime with an old toothbrush, then rinse and dry the racks.

How to Clean Your Oven’s Glass Door

Mix baking soda and water to form a spreadable paste and apply a thick layer to the glass to clean greasy spots on your oven’s door. Dampen a rag with warm vinegar and lay it over the paste. It will fizz as the baking soda interacts with the vinegar to loosen grime and dissolve grease.

Wait an hour and remove the rag, wiping away any residue. Wash the glass with warm, soapy water and a damp microfiber cloth, then buff it dry. (Note: you may want to protect the floor in front of your oven by laying down towels.)

For stubborn grease on your oven door’s glass, reapply the baking soda mixture, then scrub it with a cut lemon. You may want to wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from the juice.

Some readers also recommend sprinkling the glass with a few tablespoons of water and then scrubbing it with a dishwasher tablet or a Magic Eraser.

Tips to Keep It Clean

Cleaning an oven is never fun, so it makes sense to do what you can to prevent spills and messes.

• Don’t overfill cookware. Ideally, you want a least an inch of space between the surface of whatever you’re cooking and the top of the dish. If you don’t have that much space, put an empty baking sheet on the bottom rack to catch drips.

• Apply salt to fresh spills to make them easier to clean. The salt will absorb liquids, so once the oven cools, you can wipe away the mess.

• Never line your oven with aluminum foil. Foil can fuse to the floor of modern ovens and cause fires, plus it voids your warranty. A removable, washable oven liner is a safer alternative. When a spill happens, you just pull out the liner and rinse it off.

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4 Comments

  1. I used the baking soda method and I must say it works wonder. That will be my go to from now on. Thank you again.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so happy it helped you!

  2. Unfortunately, my husband did line our oven with aluminum foil and it did indeed melt. How can I get it off? (By the way, I love your site!)

    1. Katie Berry says:

      The homemade oven cleaner can help here! First, soak the area with a thick, very hot rag loosen things up then apply a thick layer of the paste. Immediately spray a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water (both hot) and scrape the foil with a wooden spatula. Repeat from step one until the foil is gone. (Alternatively, store bought oven cleaning spray will melt the foil and make it easier to lift if your rather go that route.)

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