How to Clean an Oven Inside and Out

Evelyn Long

Apr 5, 2021

how to clean an oven

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Do you spend a lot of time cooking? Your oven has probably taken a beating from spills, splatters, and stains. Eventually, this buildup can start to smell or even smoke when you heat up your oven. Luckily, you can clean it up and get your oven back to working order in just a few easy steps. Here’s the info you need on how to clean an oven the right way.

1. Assess the Mess

Before you even think about grabbing scrub brushes and sprays, take a peek inside your oven and assess the mess.

Has any food baked onto the racks or interior walls? Is there grease, oil, or other substances present? Consider how difficult it might be to scrub away the grime before you decide how — and when — you want to clean it up.

Depending on the extent of the mess, you may have to set aside a few hours to dislodge buildup and learn how to clean your oven.

2. Use the Self-Cleaning Button

If you aren’t sure if elbow grease and a soapy sponge will do the trick, try using the self-cleaning button to cleanse the interior of grease and grime. Examine your oven’s cleaning method and prepare to use steam or extreme heat to burn off debris.

The latter will require you to ventilate and vacate the area to avoid dangerous fumes that could affect your health. Protect pets by removing them from the house as well.

3. Gather Your Materials

On the other hand, if you deem the mess easy enough to clean by hand, or the self-clean setting doesn’t get everything, you’ll need the following cleaning supplies:

  • Water
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Sponge or rag
  • Spray bottle
  • Metal spatula
  • Newspaper or paper towels
  • Rubber gloves

Disinfectant spray, a towel, and an empty bathtub will also come in handy when you go to clean the racks and oven exterior. However, these items aren’t required.

4. Make a Paste

Next, make a paste by mixing three parts baking soda to one part water. Pour slowly and mix as you go, adding more or less of either ingredient until the mixture reaches the consistency of toothpaste. You’ll be coating the entire inside of the oven with this paste, so double or triple the recipe if you need more.

5. Apply and Let Sit

Take all the oven racks out and set them aside. You’ll get to them later. Then, slip into those rubber gloves and use a metal spatula to gently scrape off stubborn crusties.

Vacuum or wipe the debris out and apply the baking soda paste to the top, bottom, and sides of your oven. Steer clear of its interior heating elements. Let your oven sit for six to eight hours or overnight to allow the mixture time to penetrate deeply.

6. Soak the Racks

While your oven is in cleaning mode, soak the racks in a large sink or bathtub. Line your tub with a towel to protect it from chips and scratches and fill it with hot, soapy water. Allow them to sit in there for at least two hours.

Then, scrub them with more soap and a sponge or bristle brush. Rinse, dry, and set aside to put back in your oven later.

7. Wipe Clean

Cover the floor outside your oven with newspaper or paper towels and use a damp rag to wipe out as much baking soda paste as you can. It should be relatively crusty or sandy at this point and, therefore, easier to clean.

Rinse the rag as much as necessary until the oven is clean of paste and residue. If you still spot food particles and stains afterward, you can repeat this process and wipe out the interior again.

8. Spray and Sweep

Finally, spray the inside and outside of your oven with a 50-50 mix of vinegar and water. 

Pay special attention to the burners and lift the top panel up to clean underneath each one. Then, wipe the solution away with a microfiber cloth or a clean, dry rag.

How to Clean an Oven Properly

By now, your oven should be sparkling clean. Make sure it stays that way by performing a deep clean every few months. You can also prevent spills and splatters by covering your oven meals with tin foil and lining the bottom rack with drip pans or baking sheets.

Keeping up with everyday maintenance and knowing how to clean an oven will minimize the amount of time you spend cleaning so you can enjoy baking and cooking more often.

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