Everything You Need to Know About Cleaning Your Oven



It could be dirty AF and most of us will put it off. After all, no one looks inside of your oven. I mean Carrie Bradshaw stores sweaters there. And if it’s too dirty you can always BBQ or cook on the stovetop. 

But the problem is, the more you delay, the worse it gets. There’s a residue on the bottom and maybe some bits in the back. The door has an odd coating of grease and grime. When you do dare to turn it on, there’s the tell-tale smell. And as we talked about in My Oven is Smoking – What Do I Do? there’s smoke. 

The good news is this chore doesn’t have to get the best of you. There are awesome cleaning products on the market and baking soda and vinegar work magic that doesn’t require much effort.

Your Oven’s Self-Cleaning Function

Many of the newer ovens are equipped with a self-cleaning feature that can be used to eliminate grease and burnt food. Thank you GOD. Instructions are usually provided by the manufacturer and cleaning cycles may run up to 4-5 hours. Just do it overnight and don’t think about it.

This function typically heats the oven to around 900 degrees Fahrenheit to burn off the goop. Once it cools, you simply scrape out the ash and wipe the surfaces clean. The downside is  a gross smell and the potential to set off sensitive smoke alarms. And, if your oven is a real hot mess, you’re probably going to have to scrub it by hand anyway.

Cleaning Your Oven with Chemical-Based Products

There are a variety of oven-cleaning products that you can buy at CVS or whatever. They do contain harsh chemicals so you’ll definitely want to wear gloves while cleaning the oven and be sure to crack a door or window so you get fresh air. 

They typically have a simple process where you spray or pour the cleaner over the interior of the oven then wait 20-30 minutes before wiping off the residue. You’ll definitely want to rinse the towel or cleaning rag after each wipe and do a full rinse with water to prevent smoking when you turn the oven on again.

Cleaning Your Oven with Elbow Grease

DIY oven cleaning solutions are made from stuff you have on hand and are far less harsh on your hands, breathing, and oven.

You’ll need:

  • Baking soda
  • Rubber cleaning gloves
  • A few soft cleaning rags
  • Good dish soap
  • White vinegar
  • A spray bottle
  • A soft dish brush
  • A sponge

This process may take a bit of time so if you think you’ll need your oven within 12 hours it’s best to wait. We recommend letting the solution set overnight.

  1. If you haven’t already done so, cycle through your oven’s self-cleaning option.This step is optional, but it makes the process easier by getting rid of most of the baked-on mess in your oven.
  2. Once the cycle has completed and your oven is cool, make a paste of equal parts baking soda and water. It should be the consistency of a thick yogurt.
  3. Remove racks, thermometers, steel plates, and any other items you store in your oven. You’ll clean your racks separately (don’t worry … we’ll explain that, too!).
  4. Spread the paste over the glass and interior and let it sit for 20 mins or up to overnight depending on how dirty your oven is.
  5. Spread the paste over the baking racks and let that sit. Scrub with a stainless steel scrubber. If needed, apply a layer of cleanser such as Bar Keeper’s Friend and repeat the scrubbing.
  6. Move back to the oven when the time is right and wipe the paste off using a microfiber or other cleaning cloth, taking care to rinse the rag with water between wipes.
  7. Spray the interior, doors, and glass with a vinegar and water mixture and wipe down the interior, taking care to dry the surfaces thoroughly.
  8. Spray a clean rag with the vinegar mixture then wipe the knobs. Never spray the knobs directly as you risk shorting out the switches or control panel.
  9. Return the racks and other items to the oven.

Happy oven cleaning! Have a tip to share? Drop us a note below.