Expert DIY Guide on How to Clean your Oven at Home
A clean home is a happy home. But we all know that cleaning the home can sometimes not be a happy task. From curtains to carpets, and walls to dusty shelves, there is always something that needs to be cleaned and tidied.
A kitchen is no different. The one room in the house where we spend most of our time, preparing the meals we love. Everyone knows that a clean kitchen makes it easier and more enjoyable to cook, but are we really always cleaning it completely? Sure, once the dishes are dried and put away, the counters washed and tidy, and the stove top wiped down, it make look clean, but what about the oven? Is it truly getting the attention it deserves?
One of the most important pieces of equipment in any kitchen, the oven is also probably the least often cleaned. This may be partly because we do not know how to clean it properly, or because we think it may take us more time than we can justify spending, to cleaning it.
With the right tools and knowledge, however, you can make quick work of your oven-cleaning chore. Baked on grease, food, and debris on the bottom of the oven is not only a risk because it is flammable, but a dirty oven can also cause the foods you cook to take on the smells of the burnt food inside.
There are a few ways to clean an oven thoroughly. There is the store bought cleaner approach, and the DIY, homemade solution approach. It is up to you to choose which one works best for you. Sometimes, depending on how baked on the food is, or how heavily used the oven might be, the store bought cleaner approach might be the best fit to get the job done right.
If you choose to go the Store bought cleaner route, make sure that you have the following materials to get started:
- Rubber gloves to protect your hands. Oven cleaners are usually both abrasive and corrosive to break down the baked on food, so it is important that you protect your hands.
- Oven cleaner. It is important that you read the labels carefully. Some cleaners are more for a “light clean”, while others are more heavy duty and work better on a heavily used oven.
- Paper towel or sponges to wipe down the oven after the chemicals have had a chance to do their magic. You can use a more abrasive sponge on the metal racks, but not on the walls or floor of the oven. Never use steel wool, as it can permanently damage the oven.
- A washtub or large resealable bags to wash the oven racks in.
Once you have these materials you are ready to begin.
- First things first, put on your rubber gloves!
- Remove all the oven shelves and place them in the resealable plastic bags, one per bag. If the shelves are too big, place them in a washtub that will fit them. Next, pour half the oven cleaner into the washtub or bags, and let them soak.
- Pour the remaining oven cleaner into the oven. Work with the sponge to scrub all the interior surfaces of the oven with the cleaner. Do not forget about the door and ceiling of the oven.
- Now let the oven cleaner do its magic. Each product will have a different wait time, but try to leave the cleaner sit for one full day. If you cannot wait, four to six hours should be okay too.
- Once the time is up, use a warm, soapy, clean sponge to wipe down the interior of the oven, removing all the cleaner and baked on food particles that it has removed. Remove the shelves from the solution and wipe them down too just like you did with the oven.
- Wipe the shelves and inside of the oven with a clean cloth to remove any last residue, and return the shelves back to the oven.
Not so hard was it? Now remember, while it may be a little laborious, and probably not a favorite chore to do, the more often you maintain a clean oven, the less effort it will take the next time to clean.
For a more natural, DIY approach, there are many different recipes for homemade oven cleaners too. One popular recipe is made using baking soda and white vinegar.
To make this DIY oven cleaner, you will need:
- ½ cup baking soda
- Rubber gloves
- Dish cloth
- Spray bottle
- White Vinegar
To get started, just like with a store bought oven cleaner, put on your rubber gloves and remove the oven racks. Once they are removed, set them aside, and follow these simple steps.
- Mix the ½ cup of baking soda with enough water to create a spreadable paste that you can spread on the interior of the oven. Usually a few tablespoons will be good. You want the consistency of somewhere between muffin batter and toothpaste.
- Cover the inside of the oven with the paste, again remembering to also spread the paste on the oven door. Once the oven is coated, clean your oven racks with the remaining paste. Here you may want to use an abrasive sponge depending on how much cleaning is required to remove the baked on food.
- Close up the oven and let it sit for about twelve hours.
- Using the dishcloth, wet it with warm water, and wipe down the oven, and oven racks to remove the baking soda paste and the baked on food.
- Next, put some white vinegar into a spray bottle and spray the vinegar into the oven where you see some baking soda residue. The vinegar will react with the baking soda and foam up, releasing any remaining food particles from the oven walls.
- Lastly, using a clean damp cloth, give the oven and the racks a final wipe down, and replace the shelves.
Just like with the store bought oven cleaner approach, the more often you clean your oven, the less effort it will be to clean it.
Once your oven is clean and ready for the next big family meal, there are a few tricks that you can use to maintain its clean and fresh look.
- Use a liner on the bottom of the oven, under the heating element, to catch any falling bits of food that would otherwise stick and bake onto the oven walls and floor.
- Bake pies, pastas, casseroles, cakes, or any other foods that may leak over the sides of their dishes on top of a cookie sheet. This will stop the fluids or foods from dripping all the way down. One cookie sheet is much easier to clean than an entire oven!
- Clean any food debris that is left behind in the interior of the oven right away! Do not leave it to be baked on.
- As soon as the oven is cool enough, quickly run a damp sponge through it to clean up any debris before using the oven again. It will save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.
Whichever method you choose, you will be able to enjoy a clean kitchen at last! Your oven will be clean, and may even work better for you, and you will be able to make beautiful food without the smell of burnt food each time you turn it on.
Remember, a regular cleaning will only make it easier to clean each time, so put the oven on your regular list of things to clean, and you will not see it as so much of a chore.