- The Fantastic Team
- 16min read
- Published: November 20, 2019
- Views: 19,857
How to Clean an Oven like a Professional
Cooking tasty dinners, baking delicious banana bread and desserts will eventually make a mess in your oven. Food debris and grease can easily accumulate inside of the kitchen stove, as well as, food splashing and falling over trays leaving grime behind.
Taking the time to regularly clean your oven is crucial for ensuring that the appliance is safe to use and the food you’re making has it’s best qualities preserved.
Table of Content:
The danger of a dirty oven
Not cleaning your oven regularly will not only make it unpleasant and old-looking but it can also be a potential health hazard. Over time, grease and food residue build up inside of it and food spillages turn into cooked-on carbon monoxide which can be potentially threatening for your health.
Cooking at a high temperature with old food debris stuck to the oven’s interior can become a serious fire hazard. Grease and food residues usually stick to the metal trays, grills, racks, heaters and oven bottom. If you use your oven that dirty, the debris will continue to burn which may result in a fire accident. It may also result in filling the oven and the kitchen with thick smoke which can damage the food you’re cooking.
Bad food taste
A dirty oven will have a negative effect on the food you’re cooking. An oven full of old grease and food residue can ruin the taste and the smell of the meals that you’ve worked so hard to prepare.
The dirt inside the oven can reduce the efficiency of the appliance. It can prevent the oven’s heat sources from warming up thoroughly which is likely to result in having uncooked food. This can be very dangerous in cases of cooking meat or fish because it may lead to food poisoning.
As mentioned above, heating up grime and grease over and over again will leave a nasty smell in the kitchen and eventually in your whole home. Deep cleaning your oven regularly, however, will prevent this from happening. Keeping the oven grease- and residue-free will also prolong the life of your appliance.
How to clean the inside of an oven (Step-by-step)
When it comes to oven cleaning, it is preferable to avoid using harsh cleaning detergents, especially on the inside. There are numerous recipes for homemade eco-friendly cleaners you can test. Keeping the process as natural as possible will protect your food from chemical residue that may pose a threat to your family’s health.
However, in the case of a very dirty oven, stronger cleaners may work faster. Here is how you can quickly deep clean the inside of your oven in just a few easy steps:
Disconnect the oven from the electricity or gas source before starting the cleaning process. It’s dangerous to proceed with the cleaning with the power connected. Make sure the oven has cooled off before starting with the cleaning.
Remove the shelving from the oven – trays, grills, rags etc. Place the shelving outside or in the kitchen sink and prepare to clean them as well.
Use a damp microfiber cloth and scrub the inside of the oven. This will help you remove any loose food residues from the oven.
After wiping up the surface, use a metal or plastic scraper for the stubborn debris. Gently scrub the oven to eliminate any leftover food. Removing as much residue as you can before applying the detergent will make the oven cleaner work more effectively.
Spray the oven with a cleaning product recommended by your manufacturer, following the instructions on the product’s label. Cover the bottom, the sides and the inside of the door. Pay extra attention to corners, hard to reach places and hard stains. Spread the cleaner evenly using a sponge. Close the oven door and give 30 minutes to the cleaner to do its magic. Don’t put cleaning detergent over the heating elements as it can damage the oven!
The cleaning detergent should have loosened up any hard stains. Use a bristle brush or wire sponge to get rid of the food residue by scrubbing gently. You can use an old toothbrush to reach to the corners.
After scrubbing the whole interior of the oven, take a damp sponge and start wiping up the surface. Rinse the sponge regularly to avoid spreading the dirt and wipe up as many times as you need in order to remove all dirt and leftover cleaning detergent. Be careful not to get the gas or electric heat sources wet to avoid hazards!
Cleaning hacks for different types of ovens
Different oven types require different cleaning methods. Before proceeding with the disinfection, you need to check what is the type of oven you’re dealing with.
Determine if it’s a gas, electrical, traditional, self-cleaning one or continuous cleaning stove. It’s a good idea to read the manufacturer instruction for cleaning and maintenance. They should be available online for your exact model.
How to clean a gas oven
Gas ovens have burners located on the bottom. You should clean them thoroughly, along with the rest of the appliance.
However, you may find out that the bottom of a gas oven is a real challenge to clean. You can still achieve your goal by:
- Disconnect the gas before cleaning! This is very important for your safety.
- Lifting the bottom panel to remove it. If there are screws holding it, unhitch them gently using a screwdriver.
- With the bottom out, you should be able to inspect and clean the gas burner if necessary. Normally, this part should be fairly clean, as the bottom of the oven protects it. Still, it’s a good idea to wash it with a damp microfiber cloth soaked in hot soapy water.
- Leave the burner to air dry and proceed with the cleaning of the rest of the oven. Remove all racks and plates and follow the step-by-step procedure of cleaning an oven mentioned above.
Cleaning an electric oven
Unlike gas ovens, electric ovens have two heating elements – one on the top and one on the bottom. Most of the models have the abilities to disconnect the oven door from the hinges. This way you’ll be able to reach deeper and clean thoroughly.
Like gas ovens, electrical ones can be with a removable bottom, so you should be able to clean the burners again. Some models even have the burners visible, so you don’t need to remove the bottom in order to clean them.
Wipe out the burners with a dry microfiber cloth. Then mix a little dish soap with warm water. Put a cloth or a sponge in the mixture and wipe the burners gently.
After cleaning the burners you can continue with the step-by-step process of cleaning the interior of your electric oven that we mentioned at the beginning of the guide.
How to clean a self-cleaning oven
The self-cleaning cycle of some ovens turns any spills, stains and residue to a pile of ash which can be easily wiped away after the cleaning cycle. Most of the homeowners are not sure how often to use the self-cleaning cycle of their oven. Truth is, it depends on how frequently you turn the appliance on.
If you use your oven every day to cook meals, you should clean it at least once a week. Still, using the self-cleaning cycle for every little spill of food is not a good idea. Run the cycle only when you want to deep clean the oven.
There are two types of self-cleaning ovens – traditional, using high temperature, and steam cleaning ovens. Some of the newer models offer both types of cleaning methods. These types of ovens do most of the cleaning for you, but still, you should be involved in the process.
There are a few important things to remember before proceeding with the oven cleaning:
- Before using the self-cleaning cycle you should remove the oven racks and trays. Leaving them inside during the cycle can damage them. They can lose their sheen or it can become hard to remove them afterwards.
- Remove also any detachable plastic knobs from the oven.
- Wipe out the inside of the oven and get rid of any food debris, before proceeding with the self-cleaning cycle.
You can learn more about the process by checking our detailed guide on cleaning a self-cleaning oven.
How to clean an oven with a traditional high-temperature self-cleaning method
The traditional self-cleaning cycle can be between 2 to 5 hours long, depending on how dirty is the oven. The temperature can get as high as 400-500°C. The food residue will become ash on the bottom of the oven after the cycle is finished.
During the cycle, food residue is burned and carbon monoxide is produced. Make sure you have the windows open and the fans turned on the whole time to help the smoke leave the room easily and prevent it from sticking to walls, furniture and ceilings.
After the cleaning cycle, wipe out the inside of the oven, until you remove all ash left inside. You’ll also need to wipe out the inner side of the door with warm soapy water to remove oil residue and ash.
How to clean an oven with a steam self-cleaning method
During the cycle, water is added to the indicated place on the bottom and the high temperature produces steam to remove food debris. The steam self-cleaning cycle is much shorter. Usually, it lasts between 20-40 minutes.
Throughout the process, less smoke is produced and the method is safer than the traditional self-cleaning. It’s still a good idea to open the windows and ventilate the room. Wait until the oven cools off and wipe out the inside with a cloth or sponge to remove ash and residue.
Again, never use a cleaning detergent during any of the self-cleaning cycles.
How to clean a continuous cleaning oven
Continuous cleaning ovens have a special coating of a porous ceramic material, usually dark-coloured and rough to the touch. While spills happen during the cooking, they fall on the texture and burn off the residue. The surface absorbs the grease and brings it continuously to the surface, masking the spills that occurred.
Because of its special coating, it’s not recommended to use harsh chemicals or commercial oven cleaning, because they can damage the surface.
To clean an oven of this type, remove the racks and scrub out any food residue that can be easily removed. Use a few drops of soap in warm water and scrub the inside of the oven with cloth or sponge.
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How to effectively clean different oven parts
When it comes to cleaning the parts inside of the oven we’re talking about a job that rarely gets done. That is why it needs extra attention and hard work.
How to clean oven racks
The oven racks are quite a pain point when it comes to cleaning. You can’t leave them in a self-cleaning oven cycle and they’re nearly impossible to scrub effectively by hand.
There are a few ways to clean the oven racks and almost all of them include soaking them in hot water. Here how it’s done in short:
- Start by placing the oven racks in the bathtub or sink. Keep in mind that if they don’t fully fit in the sink, you have to repeat the procedure for the other half of the racks.
- Sprinkle baking soda extensively. Add white vinegar and wait for about 10-15 min. Then, fill the bathtub or the sink with very hot water.
- Soak the dirty oven racks in the water for at least 30-45 min. Hot water is really important here, as it helps break down the grease.
- From here on you have a few options. You can either scrub the oven racks with a toothbrush or a sponge. Also, you can use some dish soap.
In addition to using baking soda and vinegar, there are other available methods for cleaning the oven racks. Our favourite method, though, is to use a ball of aluminium foil. Learn how to do it yourself by checking the info on How to Clean Oven Racks with Aluminium foil.
What else can work well? That can be ammonia and a garbage bag combination. It’s appropriate for oven racks that have never been cleaned. However, it is very important to be extremely careful.
If you decide to use this method, do it outside. Place the oven racks in a heavy-duty garbage bag. Lay it flat and add ammonia in the bag. Wear eye protection and gloves while you’re doing that!
Tie the bag securely and let it sit for 12 hours. The next morning cut the bag and rinse off the oven racks with water. It might look like they are still dirty but the grease will come off really easy with just a steel wool pads.
How to clean oven trays
The trays of your oven can easily build up a lot of grease over time. Therefore, if you want to save yourself a lot of efforts, it’s important to choose the right cleaning method for removing it. Our suggestion is to use two very simple ingredients that you probably already have – baking soda & vinegar.
Step 1: Sprinkle a little baking soda in the oven tray and add just a little bit of water. Use a scrubby sponge to work the baking soda into some of the different stains.
Step 2: Add some white vinegar to the baking soda. It will create a foam. This is the acid in the vinegar working on those built up grease marks. Gently keep scrubbing and you’ll see the dirt coming off.
Optional: You can add some sea salt. Thus, the mixture will be abrasive and really aggressive on different stains. Keep in mind, though, that the sea salt may scratch your oven tray.
Step 3: For really hard stains put the tray back and heat the oven. That will activate the vinegar to work a little harder. After that turn off the oven and let the tray sit overnight.
Step 4: In the morning you can give it one more quick scrub. After that rinse it with warm water and it will be as clean as new.
How to clean a glass oven door
Cleaning the outside of the glass oven door is not that hard. You can use a store-bought glass cleaner. However, if you’re looking for something natural and cheaper, here is a recipe for simple homemade glass cleaner:
- ½ cup of rubbing alcohol
- ½ cup of water
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- Empty spray bottle
Mix them together, spray the solution on a microfiber cloth and use some elbow grease to wipe the glass oven door. For best results, use a clean cloth to dry out the glass.
If you haven’t cleaned the glass door in a very long time or if there’s grease marks or tough stains on the surface, use the same recipe but add 1 tbsp of cornstarch. It will make the solution stronger. Mix them together in the spray bottle and don’t forget to shake well. Also, shake well before every use.
How to clean the stove top
You can’t skip on taking care of the stove top of your oven, too. You can make it clean and eye-pleasing in no time.
How to clean an electric stove top (glass):
The easiest way to clean an electric stovetop is to do it every time after cooking. Simply wipe away any stains while it is still hot. Still, remember that baking soda is your best friend and it can help you clean that stovetop fast:
- Make a paste of baking soda and water.
- Use the abrasive side of the sponge and gently scrub off as much of the visible grime.
- Add some dish soap and continue to scrub the dirt away.
- Use a clean cloth to wipe away the paste.
- Dry out the surface with a clean rag.
Remove the burner plates and caps.
Soak them in hot water and dish soap while you clean the rest.
Remove any leftover crumbs and debris.
Mix ½ cup of baking soda with a little warm water to create a paste.
Apply the paste to and apply some elbow grease to scrub the dirt away.
Spray some vinegar to disinfect the stove and neutralise the paste.
Wait 10 minutes and continue to scrub until you see the dirt coming off.
Wipe away the vinegar and the paste with a clean rag.
Vacuum the crumbs that you created while cleaning.
Put the burner caps and grates back on.
Sprinkle some baking soda on a scrub brush or abrasive pad.
With it clean the residue from the grates and caps and rinse everything thoroughly.
Wipe the grates clean with a towel.
Alternative oven cleaning methods to try
Knowing as many oven cleaning hacks as possible can come in handy. Some of the most popular involve recipes for eco-friendly oven cleaners, which is no surprise considering the central role of the appliance in the preparation of food. Here are some common oven cleaning methods that are safe, easy to also effective:
Clean oven with baking soda and vinegar
This is definitely something to try, as both necessary ingredients cost very little, but they are known to create an efficient homemade cleaner. Here’s how it works:
- Empty the inside of the appliance by taking out the racks, trays and all other removable parts.
- Pour half a cup of the bicarb soda into a bowl and start adding a small amount of water until you get a paste. Adjust according to your judgement.
- Put on your rubber gloves and start applying the paste with the help of a sponge, as you stay clear of the heating parts. Leave there to work for a few minutes (or more if you have the time).
- Scrub away all accumulated stains and grime. You’ll know it’s working when the white paste turns into a brown one.
- Combine two parts vinegar with one part water in a spray bottle and cover the whole interior of the oven, plus the door.
- Once the concoction stops sizzling, you can use clean water to wipe every corner inside your oven. Repeat as many times as needed, until all paste is gone and the surface is shiny again.
How to clean an oven with a lemon
Lemon is not just a good provider of vitamin C but also another example of a great natural oven cleaner. There are a few ways to implement the fruit into the disinfection of the appliance:
Clean oven with hot water and lemon juice
This is a more suitable method for regular wiping and maintenance of the oven, but could also serve as a pre-treatment before deep cleaning. Removing tough stains and food pieces is hard, but you can save yourself a lot of effort by putting a bowl of water mixed with lemon juice inside the oven and turning it on.
The steam from the bowl will loosen any grease and burned on pieces, which leaves you with less scrubbing to do. Just make sure the oven is a bit warm when you begin cleaning it to avoid burning.
Use lemon as a scrubbing tool
Take advantage of more than just the lemon juice for making your oven shine again. For a general freshening of the appliance, cut one lemon in half and gently scrub the inside of it, followed by wiping with warm water. The lemon will leave a nice smell, eliminate greasy stains and disinfect the oven.
Clean the oven with ammonia
First of all, is cleaning your oven with ammonia safe? When handled properly and in small amounts, the product could be used for the disinfection of the appliance. Ammonia offered for household cleaning purposes varies from 3 to 10 %, which means you have the option of choosing a more diluted product with a lower percentage of actual ammonia in it.
However, it has some disadvantages in comparison to the previously mentioned cleaning methods. The biggest one being the smell. It’s a strong smell that could cause watering of the eyes and hard breathing for people with allergies and higher sensitivity. In addition, it should be handled only with gloves and immediately rinsed off if in contact with the skin.
It is known to be quite effective for cleaning different oven parts like racks and trays by soaking them in water, preferably warm, along with half a cup of ammonia. They should stay in the solution for 15-20 min before washing and wiping them.
The inside of an electric oven can also be cleaned with ammonia by:
- Placing a pot filled with water at the lower rack of a preheated and turned off oven (65 Celsius/150 degrees).
- Adding another one with 1 cup of ammonia at the top rack.
- Closing the oven door and leaving it all overnight (check again if you turned the oven off).
- Wiping the appliance with dishwashing liquid mixed with the ammonia and some warm water. Given the powerful odour, your kitchen may need good airing in the morning.
How often should you clean your oven?
The true answer to that question lies in the frequency in which you use your oven. We all wish to be able to wipe the oven after every use, but life shows us that this isn’t always possible. Still, there are hidden dangers of cooking in a filthy oven, so don’t deprive your appliance of special care.
On average, your oven should get a good thorough clean of each element at least twice a year. You can also do a good wipe and scrub every two and twelve weeks. The time frame really depends on your habits.
For example, if you have a big family and cook large family dinners every single evening, your oven gets dirty faster and could use a wipe every week and thorough cleaning every 3 months or so. But if you’re a person who eats out a lot and uses the microwave more often, then your oven won’t need cleaning as often.
Do’s of cleaning an oven
Many guides advise to heat the oven before cleaning it on the inside, which is a good tip, but it’s also dangerous because you can easily burn yourself. Make sure the oven is completely cool and turn it off from the socket before cleaning it, to avoid accidental electrocution. Remove all possible elements from it – racks, pans, pots – to gain easy access to the oven walls, floor and roof while cleaning.
Many horrors hide in the gaps between the oven and the wall or the oven and the cabinets. We usually clean inside the oven very thoroughly, but we often forget about these small gaps. They fill with crumbs and food over time, and they attract all kinds of pests. A good trick to clean these spaces without moving the appliance is to wrap a kitchen knife with a damp washcloth and gently rub it inside the crack. Keep the angle of the knife up, so the dirt won’t fall to the floor. Shake the dirt in the trash after each time, and when you remove all the dirt, damp the washcloth in some vinegar for a final wipe.
Many people use aluminium foil for that purpose, which is not a good solution, we’ll tell you why later. If you want to protect the inside of your oven, you can easily get oven liners or an oven mat made of fibreglass in every home improvement store or on Amazon. They provide better heat resistance and protection.
Oven cleaning involves all kinds of chemicals and potentially dangerous substances. So, to protect your skin, you should wear rubber gloves and long-sleeved clothes. You can also wear goggles to protect your eyes from the sprays and spills when scrubbing.
Good ventilation is pivotal when you’re working with detergents because their smells are often harsh and dangerous to your health. Keep the children away and open all the windows to provide lots of fresh air. After you’re done, leave the oven door open for a few hours so the detergent can evaporate.
Don’ts of cleaning an oven
The regular kitchen cleaning routine is more focused on the dishes and the countertops than the oven, and often dirt and grease sit in there for days, even months. This makes the buildup harder to clean and leads to smoke and other unpleasant effects. The risk of accidents increases with solid materials like melted plastic, which needs to be properly cleaned from the oven on time. Try to wipe the spills as soon as they happen and include the oven in your cleaning schedule more often, this way the cleaning will be easier and will take less time.
If food or grease lands somehow on the heating element, it will start smoking, fumes will appear, and this will keep happening the next few times you use the oven, even if you try to clean it. And cleaning the heating element is not recommended. If it’s necessary, it has to happen very gently, because these things damage easily. You also can’t use oven cleaning products directly on the heating element or the fan, because they can cause damage.
The self-cleaning cycle basically burns all the grease and dirt inside the oven using a temperature of around 500°C. Many people use mainly the self-cleaning option to take care of the dirt inside their ovens, which is not a good policy. This setting works great on moderate amounts of dirt, it’s not as efficient with big messes, and you still have to wipe the ashes left after that. If you leave the build up in there, it will start smoking. Also, the self-cleaning cycle doesn’t clean the oven door and all the hidden panels on the back, it’s best to use a professional company for those, because the oven has to be taken apart to reach them.
We touch the oven knobs all the time while we cook, and sometimes we even do it after handling food. Grease can easily get on them and slide into the cracks, and regular wiping won’t take care of the problem. To make sure you’ve cleaned them from every angle, pop them off the stove and soak them in a bucket of warm water mixed with some all-purpose cleaner or dish soap. Clean each one separately, scrub the oven panel with a degreaser and place them back.
Many homeowners have the habit of lining the oven floor and sometimes the walls with aluminium foil, to protect them from spills while cooking. But it’s not such a good practice, because aluminium foil reflects and blocks the heat both in gas and electric ovens. This can lead to overcooked or undercooked food, depending on the oven type and the position of the foil. What’s even worse, if you cook in very high temperatures, the foil can melt, stick to the oven floor and damage the oven permanently. This is why oven liners are the better solution.
Benefits of a clean oven
The food tastes better
When the oven is clean, it retains heat more efficiently and it gets distributed evenly in the entire oven, which means that your food will be cooked well from each side. It’s always a pleasure to cook in a clean oven when there are no bad elements inside that can influence the taste of the food.
Your oven is way more energy efficient when it’s properly cleaned both inside and outside. The clean oven reaches the needed temperature faster by using less energy, and the whole cooking process takes less time. This will save you money on electricity each month.
When looking through a brown and stained oven door glass you can’t see anything inside, which makes people open the door more often to see if the food is ready. This releases heat, the appliance tries to compensate it by using more energy to get back to the original temperature, and this makes the food cook slower. So, simply wiping the oven doors from time to time will save you some money.
The burnt food and grease produce smoke and fumes, which are dangerous to our health because they can cause momentary respiratory irritations and coughing, and many other unpleasant effects in the long term. Also, oven dirt harbours a lot of bacteria, and this is not a good environment to cook your food in.
Carbonised grease is what happens when grease and dirt stay for too long in the oven, they become rock hard and almost impossible to remove. It settles all over the appliance – over the walls, the grates, even the hobs – and it’s a serious fire hazard. Since grease is flammable, it can cause a fire in the house or apartment.
Grease and dirt can also build upon the internal fan, which can make its work more difficult, damage the electrical circuits, cause a spark and ignite a fire. So, keeping your oven clean is a good fire prevention method.
Prolonged lifespan of the appliance
Last, but definitely not least, ovens that are cleaned regularly last a lot longer and need fewer repairs. The grease and splatters have the ability to get to even the most hidden parts of the oven over time, so regular maintenance is the only way to prevent that.
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- Last update: February 24, 2022
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