How to clean your oven and get rid of stubborn grease

  • Oven cleansers, both store-bought and homemade, are both safe and effective.
  • Making ensuring the cleaning solution rests in the oven for at least an hour is the most important step.
  • A mixture of baking soda and water is all you need to clean ovens that don’t require a deep clean

It’s astonishing how easy it is to clean an oven. What is the most critical tool you will require? Patience.

The most crucial step, according to Brandon Pleshek, a third-generation professional janitor of Clean That Up, is coating the inside of your oven with oven cleaner and letting it set for at least an hour. In the long run, the dwell time — or how long you let the cleaner rest — impacts how much grease and filth comes off.

However, you’ll need to customize your oven cleaning based on its current status. “You’re either cleaning a clean oven or cleaning an oven that’s been baking pizzas for the previous 10 years and has never been cleaned,” he explains. A chemical oven solution will benefit a highly dirty oven the most, although a well-maintained oven will clean well with a DIY baking soda and water mixture.

Here’s everything you need to know about cleaning the inside of the oven, from oven rack cleaning to appropriate scrubbing technique.

What you’ll require

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Store-bought oven cleaner (optional)
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Kitchen cleaning gloves
  • Non-scratch sponge
  • Microfiber towel
  • Small broom and dustpan
  • Scouring pad
  • Razorblade scraper (optional) 

How to thoroughly clean an oven

1. Take the oven racks out of the oven.

The oven racks are where you start and stop while cleaning your oven. Pleshek recommends filling your sink with warm water, adding a few drops of liquid dish soap, such as Dawn, and letting them soak for at least an hour while you clean the remainder of the oven. “Those require a significant amount of dwell time to simply sit there and let the grease and filth to drift away,” he explains.

If your sink is too small to fit oven racks, soak them in the bathtub or take them outdoors and place them in a heavy-duty garbage bag filled with water and dish soap.

2. Clean up any smoldering crumbs.

Remove any solid bits from the surface with a tiny broom, just as you would when cleaning a floor. Pleshek advises, “You’ll want to eliminate all that burned up dry earth that used to be chunks of food.”

3. Clean the interior of the oven and let it set for a while.

Turn on your oven’s vent hood or open a window to ensure the room is well ventilated before using the cleaning.

Pleshek recommends using a store-bought solution, such as Easy-Off Fume-Free oven cleanser, if your oven is dirty. If your oven is in better shape, he suggests using a mixture of baking soda and water in equal amounts — a cup of each should suffice for a regular home oven.

Use a non-scratch scrub sponge, such as a Scrub Daddy, to coat the paste around the entire interior, regardless of whatever mixture you choose. After that, turn off the oven and leave it alone for at least an hour. The most critical step, according to Pleshek, is letting your cleaner sit in the oven because it’s crucial for removing oil.

Important: Regardless of the cleaning solution, Pleshek advises not to coat anything on the heating element, as this could cause smoke.

4. Using a damp cleaning cloth, wipe the cleaner clean.

After an hour or longer, use a microfiber cloth soaked in warm water to wipe away any residual baking soda paste or store-bought oven cleaner. “You can see what the oven cleaner cleaned up and what needs a little more care,” he explains. Make sure to fully wipe the oven with water before cooking again to ensure that no residual solutions are left in the oven.

This is also the time to clean the inside door. While each oven is unique, the majority of them include rubber seals. Pleshek recommends pulling those back and wiping them thoroughly, making sure to get rid of any crumbs or food that might be stuck in this tight position. Wipe off the glass door with a dry microfiber towel once you’ve finished wiping down the entire oven.

Spot-treat any areas that may have grease with extra treatments of dish soap or a baking soda mixture, if necessary.

If the grease accumulation persists after the previous step, use a razor blade window scraper. Pleshek recommends lubricating the oven’s surface with dish soap and scraping away any extra grease and debris using delicate motions.

5. Go through the bottom drawer and clean it out.

With all of this cleaning and soil removal, your oven’s bottom drawer is bound to fill up with crumbs. To remove any residual material, Pleshek recommends using a moist cloth or a tiny broom.

6. Clean the racks and return them to the oven.

Scrub the racks with clean water and dish soap after soaking them for more than an hour and after the rest of the oven is clean. Pleshek suggests using a scouring pad scrubber to clean the wire grates, which can occasionally trap filth. After cleaning them, properly rinse them with water and return them to the clean oven.

7. Clean the oven’s exterior.

Pleshek recommends wiping the outside of your oven with a moist microfiber towel soaked in dish soap to remove any oils if you’re trying for a thorough clean. Finally, if your oven door is made of glass, use a glass cleaner to clean it. To create a good sheen on stainless steel, use a specialized cleaner like Bar Keepers Friend.

What about ovens that have self-cleaning capabilities?

According to Pleshek, the oven’s self-cleaning mechanism works as follows: The oven will heat to between 500 and 550 degrees Fahrenheit, and the heat will bake the grease and filth away. He claims that because the oven is set so high, the fat and food remains burn off and turn to ash. “It will smell like burning stinkiness for two to three hours,” he warns.

After the oven has cooled completely, wipe down the leftover mess with a damp microfiber towel or sponge and dish soap. “This function is only as good as how well you take care of your oven,” Pleshek explains. “If you’ve ignored your oven for the last six years and cook in it every night, the self-cleaner can only do so much.”

How often should the oven be cleaned?

According to Pleshek, you should only clean your oven every few months. “Preventative maintenance is what will make cleaning easier and easier as time goes on,” he explains.

Cleaning hints for your oven

  • Spills should be cleaned up as quickly as possible. They’re far more difficult to clean once they’ve been burned on.
  • Avoid overfilling baking pans, especially those that contain a lot of liquid, such as fruit pies.
  • When cooking splatter-prone foods like beef, pig, chicken, and even vegetables, use roasting bags.
  • If you need to baste or stir things while they’re cooking, take them out of the oven to avoid spills and drips.
  • Use easy-to-clean liners to line the bottom of the oven.
  • Instead of once a year, use the self-cleaning cycle on a regular basis

Final Thoughts

Cleaning the inside of an oven is quite simple, though it may take one to two hours. It’s critical to give cleaning solutions, whether store-bought or homemade, at least an hour to soak in. Pleshek claims that this helps “loosen up and get beneath all of that grease and filth better.” When it comes time for a deep clean, cleaning your oven as particles fall beneath the racks on a regular basis will make the task easier.

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