Keep Your Oven in Tip-Top Shape With These Easy Cleaning Tips

Keep Your Oven in Tip-Top Shape With These Easy Cleaning Tips

Keep Your Oven in Tip-Top Shape With These Easy Cleaning Tips

How to Clean an OvenGetty Images

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I was so excited about these leftovers I had: I took last night’s basic pasta and the remainder of my weekly produce box and turned it into a baked pasta dish of sorts, combining the best of late summer’s bounty with my favorite gluten-free pasta.

After 15 minutes in the oven, I went to take everything out, ready to indulge in my culinary creation. I grabbed an oven mitt and a dish towel and went to grab both handles, then the worst possible thing happened: I didn’t cement my grasp and the handles slipped out of my holders, spilling the entire dish all over the front interior of the oven and the warming tray beneath. All of that tomatoey goodness was now red splatter and vegetables all over my new oven.

Although this is an extreme example, it was my mandatory introduction to cleaning this essential appliance. I figured out how to do it with just a few tools and a couple of basic cleaning options (so you don’t have to).

What You’ll Need to Clean Your Oven

using baking soda to clean inside of oven

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  • The best approach to cleaning your oven is the most natural one. Much of the process hinges on you acting quickly to get to the stains before they set in; if you’ve let your oven cool, but it’s still a bit warm, you can use a basic, all-natural cleaner to wipe away the mess.

  • For stuck-on stains, or for tackling a full clean on a cool oven, you’ll need to move to something stronger.

  • For the actual cleaning cloth, a scrubbing sponge or a roll of paper towels are both good options. You may also want to buy a set of scrubbing brushes for tougher spots.

The All-Natural Approach to Oven Cleaning

For most stains — even those tough, stuck-on ones — you can use a combination of your oven’s self-cleaning function and a couple of other ingredients to get everything looking fresh and clean.

The self-cleaning function is fairly self-explanatory. Your oven will lock, heat up to over 500 degrees Fahrenheit and burn off any bits or other debris, then begin to cool down and unlock when it reaches an appropriate temperature. Note: If you have sitting grease in your oven, do not use the self-cleaning function. This can cause flare-ups or even start a fire.

When I had my mishap, all of that tomato sauce quickly caked onto the glass inside the oven window and onto the door. After some online research, I bought a Bissell SteamShot and put the power of steam to work on my oven. It worked really, really well: The directed steam does a great job of loosening up the tough grime and makes it easy to mop up. (Be sure not to put your hand in the path of the steam, as it gets hot!)

A Step-By-Step Guide to Regular Oven Cleaning

If you don’t have the luxury of a steam machine, don’t worry. There’s a basic process to cleaning your oven that isn’t back-breaking or super taxing:

  1. Remove the oven racks. Sprinkle baking soda throughout the oven, or at least the areas with significant staining. It should be enough baking soda to cover everything, but not too much where it begins to pile up.

  2. Prepare either a spray bottle full of water or a 3:1 diluted white vinegar solution. Spray the liquid throughout the baking soda-covered areas. You should see almost immediate foaming if you used vinegar. Allow the solution to sit for at least 20 minutes up to an hour.

  3. Put on dish gloves if you don’t want your hands to get overly dirty. Grab paper towels and begin wiping up the foamy areas. You should see the stains coming up with it. Work your way through the oven, cleaning up as much of the mixture as possible.

  4. Use the same vinegar or water solution you used at the start to do a final wipe-down of the oven. The interior should be looking as good as new.

A Note About Oven Polishing

Polishing the exterior of a stainless steel oven door is fairly simple: Use a quality stainless steel polish spray and work in circular motions around the door with a soft cloth. Do not use anything abrasive that could scratch the material.

The same idea goes for other types of doors: Use a soft cloth, but with a more general all-purpose cleaner or one labeled “streak-free.”

Items for Oven Cleaning

The following are a few essential items to have on hand to help keep your oven clean.

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