If your oven has started smoking, or it’s not cooking evenly, you’ll want to know how to clean an oven. Dirty ovens are fire hazards!
Yes, it takes a little effort, but not as much as you think. Unfortunately, commercial oven cleaners are highly toxic: they’re deadly if ingested, but even breathing their fumes can cause severe respiratory problems.
How To Clean A Self-Cleaning Oven
If you’re lucky enough to have a self-cleaning oven, cleaning yours is easy: wipe up any large spills on the oven floor, remove the racks, and start the self-cleaning cycle.
Before you do, make sure to remove any kitchen towels you have hanging on the oven door, and that nothing paper or plastic is touching the oven’s exterior. Those cleaning cycles get hot!
Cleaning Your Oven Naturally
For the rest of us, knowing how to clean an oven involves a few more steps. They’re not complicated and, with a little time and effort, you can get your oven sparkling clean again.
You will need:
- A bowl
- A large box of baking soda
- Clean cloths
- A spray bottle
- White vinegar
1. Clean the racks first. Remove your oven racks and wash them in hot, soapy water in the sink. To get rid of baked-on grease, dip the corner of a damp washcloth in the baking soda and use it to scrub the grease stains.
2. Wipe up large spills. Use a clean, wet cloth to wipe up those foamy black blobs on your oven’s floor. Doing a good job getting rid of the burned food bits will make the next steps much more manageable. If you need to scrape, use a silicone or wood spatula to pry up the mess — not metal.
3. Make a scouring paste. Pour a cup or so of the baking soda into the bowl, then add enough water to make a paste. While you don’t want it chunky or crusty, it’s essential that it isn’t too runny or it will just slide down your oven walls.
4. Paint your oven with the paste. Using a clean rag, wipe the mixture all over your oven’s interior. Think of this step as “painting” — you want to cover every inch of the oven’s ceiling, walls, floor, and door (but not the heating element). Repeat the “painting” until you have a uniform layer.
5. Wait overnight. Close the oven door and let the baking soda paste sit at least four hours, preferably overnight.
6. Start wiping. The baking soda paste will have dried, so you need to dip a clean rag in hot water and start rubbing it away. It’s not a bad idea to keep a bucket of warm water nearby to do this. Get up as much of the baking soda paste as possible, but don’t panic if you can’t get it all — the next step will.
7. Spray and wipe. Combine equal parts warm water and warm white vinegar in a spray bottle, then mist this mixture all over your oven’s interior. It will fizz and foam where it hits any remaining baking soda, and you’ll now be able to wipe those areas clean with a warm, damp rag.
8. Wipe one more time. Use a fresh wet cloth to once again go over your oven’s interior. Return the racks to place, and you’re done!
How to Keep Your Oven Clean
• Put a baking sheet on the rack below things that are likely to drip (e.g., pizzas, fruit pies, full casseroles).
• Sprinkle table salt right away on fresh spills to absorb them, then wipe the mess away when the oven is cool.
• NEVER line the floor of your oven with aluminum foil! It can fuse to the floor of the oven, warp the oven, and cause fires. It also voids your warranty.
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