Goodbye, dirty oven! Here’s your go-to guide to how to clean an oven, featuring cleaning tips from pros, recipes for homemade cleaners, and more.
Cleaning household appliances isn’t just for neat freaks—it will actually help them run more smoothly and last longer.
For starters, bacteria can build up in the appliance, leaving it unsanitary. According to Johnny Pallares, owner of De La Rosa House Cleaning, it’s also important to clean your oven because a dirty oven may not run efficiently. “Old food can damage the heating coils on the bottom of your oven, making it harder to cook your food.” Frank Berger, CEO of You’ve Got Maids, also notes that grease left in your oven can catch fire if you’re not careful.
Knowing how to clean your oven properly—as well as how to clean your microwave and how to clean your stove top—is crucial if you want these appliances to last longer and work better. Not sure where to start? Here’s a guide to how to clean your oven, which parts to clean, how to clean them, and the best oven cleaners to use.
Let’s start with the basics: How to clean the space that gets the most grime. Here are the steps to take to get your oven looking good as new:
Yes, you can use the self-cleaner option on your oven if you don’t want to wash it by hand. Typically, there are two types of self-cleaning ovens: Pyrolytic and Catalytic. Let’s go into what each of these options are and how they help keep your oven clean.
Pyrolytic oven cleaning
Pyrolytic cleaning involves heating the oven to a temperature hotter than 750ºF so the food debris burns to dust for easy cleanup.
Catalytic oven cleaning
Catalytic cleaning, on the other hand, occurs in an oven that has catalytic liners along the sides that absorb and break down grease and grime. Because it has these liners, the oven essentially cleans itself whenever you cook something at 392ºF or above.
Each self-cleaning option has pros and cons, so it’s important to know if you have a Pyrolytic or Catalytic oven before you self-clean so you know what to expect. No matter which option you have, Berger recommends doing the following when using the self-cleaning option:
It’s also important to note that if you decide to manually clean a self-cleaning oven, you shouldn’t clean it with a commercial cleaner, as you could damage the interior and hinder its effectiveness.
Some ovens do have a steam-clean option you can utilize. You should refer to your oven’s instruction manual on how to do this for your specific model, but generally, these are the steps:
Sometimes, you need a powerful cleaner to remove heavy duty muck and grime. Here’s what to do if you’re using a store-bought oven cleaner and what to keep in mind as you’re scrubbing.
If you’re at the store shopping for a commercial oven cleaner, Pallares has a recommendation: “We use an oven cleaner product called Big Punch. It’s an instant active oven and grill grease remover. You let it sit for five minutes and it eats away all the grease.” Pallares does warn that this is a strong cleaner, so if you do use it, make sure to take the precautions listed above.
Berger says Easy-Off is a popular store-bought oven cleaner you can use, too. However, it’s especially important to make sure the oven is off before you use it. Berger also urges people not to inhale the fumes. If you need to stock up on more cleaning products, here are some of the most trusted cleaning products in America.
If you don’t want to use commercial oven cleaners, you can always create natural oven cleaners with common household items. Berger has two natural oven-cleaning solutions you can make easily.
The first homemade cleaning solution involves baking soda:
The perk of cleaning an oven with baking soda is that the baking soda naturally breaks down grease and grime. It’s a great non-toxic product that gets the job done, even if it takes a little longer.
The second homemade cleaning solution includes vinegar—Berger calls it “Grandma’s Green All-Purpose Cleaner”:
By combining vinegar and baking soda, you create a natural chemical reaction that breaks down dirt and grease effectively. Berger says if you do use this spray, wipe it with either cotton cleaning cloths or paper towels. Don’t use microfiber cloths because this solution will ruin them. By the way, you can also clean a refrigerator with a vinegar cleaning solution.
Believe it or not, soaking your oven racks in the bathtub is an effective way to remove all the gunk on them. Here’s what to do:
If you decide to clean your oven racks with a commercial cleaner, make sure you take them outside so you don’t inhale the fumes, and that you follow the cleaning instructions on the packaging.
Remember that baking soda paste mentioned above? You can use it to clean the glass on your oven door, too. Here’s what to do:
If your stove’s knobs are removable, here’s what to do to clean them properly:
If your knobs aren’t removable, here’s what to do (the same process can be used for your stove’s buttons):
Pallares doesn’t recommend using bleach to clean your oven. “Bleach will discolor the coat on the inside of your oven,” he explains. “You also don’t want your food to smell like bleach.” While bleach can be used to disinfect surfaces, it’s better to use cleaners that are specifically tough on grease and grime when cleaning the oven. Make sure you aren’t making these other bleach mistakes, either.
Pallares recommends cleaning your oven every three months if you use it regularly. However, if you see excess food that’s fallen in your oven, clean it up as soon as the oven is cool. That way, the food won’t have a chance to burn the next time you cook. You can also use your judgment. If you’ve been cooking in your oven more often, or have been cooking messier meals, clean it as soon as you see grease and grime building up.
The key to keeping your oven clean is to be proactive and attentive. If you see crumbs on the bottom of your oven, clean them out as quickly as possible so they don’t burn. If you see grease and grime building up, clean your oven so it works properly and stays sanitary. Mark your calendar and add it to your cleaning schedule so you won’t forget.
Next, learn how to clean a dishwasher and make it look brand new. Your kitchen (and dishes) will thank you later.