Last update: 2 weeks ago
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 kitchen stove, as well as, food splashing and falling over trays leaving grime behind.
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 high temperature with old food debris stuck to the oven’s interior can become a serious fire hazard. Grease and food residues stick to the metal trays, grills, racks and even on the heaters. If you use your oven that dirty, the debris will continue to burn which may result in an oven 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 food. This will not only ruin the food but can also have a negative effect on your health.
Dirt inside the oven will reduce its efficiency. It can prevent the oven’s heat sources from warming up thoroughly which is much more likely to result in having uncooked food. This can be very dangerous in cases of cooking meat or fish because it may lead to getting a food poisoning.
Heating up grime and grease over and over again will leave a nasty smell in the kitchen and eventually in your whole home. Cleaning your oven regularly will prevent it from happening.
Keeping the oven grease- and residue-free will prolong the life of the stove and you can enjoy healthy and tasty food for longer.
Step by step procedure of cleaning an oven inside
When it comes to oven cleaning, you might prefer to avoid using harsh cleaning detergents. Keeping the cleaning as natural as possible will protect your food from getting filled with dangerous chemicals that may put your health at risk.
Switch off the oven
Disconnect the oven from the electricity or gas source before starting the cleaning procedure. 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
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.
Wipe out the oven
Use a damp microfiber cloth and scrub the inside of the oven. This will help you remove any loose food residues from the oven.
Scrape off any food leftovers
After wiping up the surface, use a metal scraper for the stubborn debris. Gently scrub the oven and scrape off any leftover food. Removing as much residue as you can before continuing cleaning with detergent will make the oven cleaner work more effectively.
Spray oven cleaner
Spray the oven with a cleaning product recommended by your manufacturer. 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. Make sure that you follow the instructions on the label of the oven cleaner. Close the oven door and give 30 minutes for the cleaner do its magic.
Don’t put cleaning detergent over the heating elements as it can damage the oven!
Scrub the oven
After leaving the cleaning detergent in the oven, the chemicals in it should have loosened the hard stains. Use a bristle brush or wire sponge to get rid of the food residue and scrub the oven gently. Make an extra effort in problematic areas – hard to reach places, old stains. You can use an old toothbrush to reach to the corners.
Wipe the inside of the oven
After scrubbing the whole interior of the oven, take a damp sponge and start wiping up the oven. 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!
How to clean different types of ovens
Different types of ovens require different cleaning methods. Before proceeding with the sanitation, you need to make sure what is the type of the oven you’re dealing with.
Determine if it’s gas, electrical, traditional, self-cleaning one or continuous cleaning one. It’s a good idea to read the manufacturer instruction for cleaning. You can find them online for your exact model.
How to clean a gas oven
Gas ovens have burners located on the bottom. You should clean them thoroughly as well as the rest of the oven.
The bottom of a gas oven is the hardest to clean. Remove the bottom panel by lifting it up. If there are screws holding it, unhitch them gently using а screwdriver. With the bottom out, you should be able to inspect and clean the gas burner.
Turn the burners on. If the flames are not symmetrical from both of the side, you may be dealing with clogged holes. If that’s the case, use thin wire and insert it into the clogged holes to remove any leftover food from there.
The burner should be fairly clean, as the bottom of the oven protects it. Still, it’s a good idea to wash it with a microfiber cloth damped in hot soapy water.
Don’t forget to disconnect the gas before cleaning.
Leave the burner to air dry and proceed with the cleaning of the rest of the oven. Turn off all your gas burners and allow the stove to cool down completely before proceeding with the cleaning for safety reasons. Remove all racks and plates and use the step-by-step procedure of cleaning an oven above.
How to clean 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. Some models even have the burners visible, you don’t need to remove the bottom in order to clean them.
Wipe out the burners with a dry microfiber cloth. Mix a little dish soap with warm water. A damp cloth or a sponge in the mixture and wipe the burners gently.
Make sure you leave the burners air dry completely. Wait at least a couple of hours before turning on the oven, just to be on the safe side.
After cleaning the burners you can continue with the step-by-step procedure on cleaning the interior of the oven.
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. It depends on the frequency of usage.
If you use your oven every day to cook meals you should clean it regularly. But using the self-cleaning cycle for every little spill of food is not a good idea. Run the cycle 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. Self-cleaning ovens do most of the cleaning for you, but you should still be involved in the process to assure safe and qualitatively 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 any detachable plastic knobs from the oven.
Wipe out the inside of the oven and remove any big particles and food debris, before proceeding with the self-cleaning cycle.
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.
Don’t leave anything on top of the oven during the cycle as it can melt and damage the stove. Don’t block the vent during the cleaning cycle. The oven should be locked during the process.
Make sure you have the windows open and the fans turned on during the cycle to help the smoke leave the room easily and prevent sticking to walls, furniture and ceilings. During the cycle, food residue is burned and carbon monoxide is produced.
The smoke fumes can be dangerous to birds, hamsters or other small pets, so be sure to remove them from the room during the cleaning.
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.
It’s not recommended to apply oven cleaner or another harsh chemical onto the oven door.
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, last 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.
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 and masks 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.
How to clean different oven parts
Inside of the oven
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.
There are a few ways to clean the oven racks and almost all of them include soaking them in hot water. So start by filling the bathtub or the sink with very hot water. Keep in mind that if the racks don’t fit in the sink you have to repeat the procedure for the other half of the racks. After that, add dish soap or laundry detergent to it. Soak the dirty oven racks in the water and wait for about 15 minutes. Hot water is really important here, it helps break down the grease and activate the detergent.
From here on you have a few options. You can either scrub the oven racks with a toothbrush or a sponge. Also, you can either use dish soap or laundry detergent. Our favourite method, though, is to use a ball of aluminium foil. Here is more information on How to Clean Oven Racks with Aluminium foil.
Ammonia and Garbage bag
Another method to clean the oven racks is to use ammonia. It’s appropriate for ovens 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 get really built up with burnt up grease over time. That is why if you want to save yourself a lot of elbow grease, it’s important to choose the right cleaning method for it. Our suggestion is to use two very simple ingredients that probably you already have.
Baking Soda & Vinegar
Step 1: Sprinkle a little baking soda in the oven tray аnd 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 really scrubby and really aggressive on the different stains. Keep in mind 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.
Outside of the oven
The most important thing about cleaning the outside of the oven is the following rule: The more often the better.
How to clean a glass oven door
Cleaning the outside of the glass oven door is the easiest part when talking about oven cleaning. 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 glass, 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
The easiest way to clean a stove top is to do it every time after cooking. Simply wipe away any stains while it is still hot. If you haven’t been doing that, it will take much more elbow grease. Still, remember that the baking soda is your best friend and use these techniques to clean the stove top:
Other common oven cleaning methods
Knowing some tricks for enjoying a spotlessly clean oven is always of use. The most popular being 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 do and 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 oven 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.
As for the racks and other removable elements, they can be soaked for a few hours in a solution of baking soda and water. Then scrubbed with either a sponge or a toothbrush (for deeper cleaning) if you really want to make them perfect.
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.
Cleaning 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 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.
Ammonia is best to be avoided for cleaning gas ovens, as it could cause a reaction. Baking soda, vinegar and other eco-friendly alternatives are a better and safer option.
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. In average, the oven should get a good thorough clean of each element at least twice a year. You can also do a good wipe and scrub between 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
Don’ts of cleaning an oven
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. The dirty oven contains dried grease, oils and food splatters which loosen up every time you turn it on. Some of these things can get directly on your food, this way spoiling it and making it taste horrible. The fat and grease also evaporate into the air you cook your food in, which doesn’t help the taste either. The clean oven works efficiently and 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 the oven door is dirty and covered with grease 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 oven 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 on the long term. Also, a recent study suggests that some charred foods like meat and fish can contain cancer-causing elements. So, once these food particles stick onto the inside of your oven, they can end up being transferred onto your food. 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 oven – the oven walls, the grates, even the hobs – and it’s a serious fire hazard. This dirt inside the oven produces a lot of smoke, and grease is flammable, so it can cause a fire in the house or apartment. Grease and dirt can also build up on 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.
Your appliance will last longer
Last, but definitely not least important, ovens which are cleaned regularly last a lot longer and need fewer repairs than ovens which stay dirty for long periods of time. 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.
Or book a professional oven cleaning and skip the hassle!