3 Tips for Cleaning Your Oven to Keep It Sparkling

From overflowing pans of lasagna to sticky fingerprints on handles, and all manner of drips and spills, ovens are susceptible to all kinds of messes. Learn how to clean an oven with these clever tips.

Honestly, we'd rather be using our oven than cleaning it. But building grime and telltale smoke signal something must be done, so we've come up with the best ways to clean your oven. Follow these tricks and tips for giving it a safe and nontoxic deep-clean from top to bottom.

To use natural products, clean your oven with vinegar and baking soda, two items you probably have in your pantry. (After you clean your oven with vinegar, put this power cleaner to work all around the house!)

A spill or overflowing dish will require a deeper clean. But regular, routine oven maintenance and cleaning are also a must. Following our clever tricks to clean an oven during your regular cleaning schedule will help build more time between deep cleans.

How to Clean an Oven Naturally

If you're hesitant to use your oven's self-cleaning feature (more on that later), turn to everyday household items for a natural way to clean your oven. This oven cleaning hack can make the job easier by using your oven's primary tool. "Place a pan of water in the oven and turn it up to 225 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 15 minutes," says Kris Koenig, CEO of Natura Clean. "When it's cool enough, add some dishwashing soap to the pan of water, then use it and a nylon sponge or non-scratch wool pad to scrub the loosened-up muck as well as the entire oven interior."

How to Clean an Oven with Vinegar and Baking Soda

You can also use natural cleaning methods to eliminate burned-on stains and tough spots. Learn how to clean an oven with vinegar and baking soda to conquer those baked-on messes.

If baked-on food remains on the oven floor, sprinkle it with baking soda. For the sides of the oven, first, mix the baking soda with water to form a paste that you can paint onto the problem areas. "Spray it with white distilled vinegar, and watch the mixture foam as it works," says Leslie Reichert, known as the The Green Cleaning Coach. For maximum effect, let the solution sit overnight. Remove it all the next day with a warm, wet rag.

cleaning over racks

How to Clean Oven Racks

Cleaning oven racks begins with an overnight soak and a good scrubbing. Start by removing oven racks. Soak them in hot, soapy water overnight in your bathtub or a large container. If they fit in your sink, you can also leave them there.

Note: If you use the tub, lay down towels first to prevent damage.

Scrub the racks with a brush or abrasive pad, then rinse clean. To clean oven racks naturally, you can use baking soda and vinegar to bust through grease. Place racks in a large container, sprinkle with baking soda, and spray with vinegar. After the mixture finishes foaming, fill the container with water and let the racks soak overnight. After soaking, wipe and scrub the racks dry. Place them back in the oven.

How to Clean the Oven Window

Not only are the racks and oven interior magnets for grime, but the glass oven door also sees its share of splatters and mess. However, getting it in like-new condition is easy if you know how. The trick to cleaning the inside of the oven window is using a razor blade. First, coat the window in an all-purpose spray cleaner, let it sit, then carefully scrape away pesky burn marks and food debris. For serious stains, apply a paste of baking soda and water, let it sit overnight, then wipe clean with a warm, damp rag.

Routine Oven Cleaning

Clean spills and dribbles as soon as the oven's cool enough to do so. MyClean COO Kenny Schultz recommends working a quick oven scrub-down, with baking soda and water, into your regular kitchen cleaning routine. And don't forget to clean the oven drawer, which can be a haven for crumbs. Pull out the oven drawer, sweep up any messes, or use a hand vacuum to get in all the crevices. Pull the oven out from the wall a few times each year and clean underneath and behind the appliance. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for moving the appliance, so you don't scratch the floor or disconnect the gas line.

Emergency Oven Cleaning with Salt

Whether you're trying to get a weeknight dinner on the table or prepare a special holiday meal, sometimes you can't stop what you're doing for complete spill damage control. So when a spill happens and you can't turn off the oven immediately, reach for salt as a natural way to clean an oven.

"When a pie or casserole bubbles over in the oven, put a handful of salt on top of the spill and continue with your baking," says author Donna Chandler in The Hints Book Almanac. "It won't smoke or smell, and it will bake into a crust that will be much easier to clean once cooled."

Prevent Oven Messes

When baking—drip-prone foods, especially—place pans on a baking sheet to catch any drips or place a baking sheet below the pan while baking. Consider keeping it there long-term and trading it out when necessary.

Note: Don't use aluminum foil to catch spills unless the manufacturer's manual for your appliance allows it.

Cleaning an Oven Exterior

Keep your oven exterior in sparkling condition by wiping up spills as they happen. A damp cloth will often do the trick. Use an all-purpose cleaner to give your oven a routine wipe down.

Stainless steel appliances are a popular favorite, thanks to their sleek profiles, but they tend to attract more than their fair share of fingerprints and grime. Make your kitchen's stainless steel appliances —including your oven—sparkle with these tips for cleaning stainless steel appliances and eliminating smudges and fingerprints.

  • Always avoid abrasive cleaners and scrubbers.
  • Use microfiber cloths so you don't leave any lint behind.
  • Wipe with the grain.

You'll sometimes see rubbing or essential oils recommended for stainless steel. While this trick lends a nice shine, the products shouldn't be used to clean an oven or other heat-conducting appliances since oils are flammable.

Cleaning a Stove Top

Cleaning a stove top depends on what type of you have. In general, wiping up spills as they happen and giving the cooktop a once-over after cooking can prevent a lot of heavy-duty cleaning later.

Cleaning Self-Cleaning Ovens

An oven that cleans itself is brilliant in theory, but this convenience has some drawbacks. Self-cleaning ovens work by using extremely high temperatures to incinerate interior grime. Since this is a potential fire hazard, leaving home isn't recommended. Unfortunately, incineration creates potentially toxic fumes, and inhaling them isn't recommended, either, so stay out of the kitchen during the self-cleaning process.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions if you choose to use the self-clean feature. Remove all pans, grates, drawers, and as much of the solid spills and grease as you can before cleaning. Keep pets and people with respiratory issues out of the area, and ventilate well.

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