How to Clean an Oven

Your oven is one of the hardest-working appliances in your kitchen. It requires regular cleaning to function at its best. Here is how to clean an oven and make it look sparkling new.

how to clean an oven before and after

Cleaning an oven is a chore we all dread. It’s usually the last thing on a to-do list, and by the time we get around to doing it, grease and build-up are worse than expected.

I made flatbread pizzas in the oven a few weeks ago, placing them on the rack as directed. I would have never dreamed the pizzas were so greasy that they would cause a gross mess in the bottom of my oven.

Needless to say, I didn’t use my oven for a few days until I had time to clean up the mess. Once it was cleaned, it still smoked for several usages afterward.

To minimize gross messes in your oven, use aluminum foil or place a pan on the rack below to catch drips.

What is the best way to clean an oven, and how often should it be on your to-do list? Let’s talk about it.

Self Clean Setting

Oven interior after a self clean cycle.

Before we learn how to clean an oven by hand, let’s discuss its self-cleaning feature.

Although an oven’s self-cleaning feature can save you a lot of elbow grease, you still need to prep the oven before use.

  • Remove any large food debris manually to avoid heavy smoke and unpleasant odors.
  • Remove oven racks. The extreme temperature during the process will remove the coating from your racks, which cannot be restored. They will not move in and out of the oven easily and will not feel smooth anymore.
  • Wipe away ashes once the cycle is complete.
  • Clean with warm soap and water to remove residue.

Check with your manufacturer because every self-cleaning oven is different, but a self-cleaning cycle can take up to 3 hours to complete

The oven reaches extremely high temperatures, so you must ventilate your kitchen by opening the windows. This will help keep fumes out. 

Do not leave your house for any reason while the self-clean feature is on

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Cleaning Supplies

Before you start cleaning your oven, you’ll need to gather the following supplies:

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • Rubber gloves
  • Old towels or rags
  • Scrubbing sponge or brush
  • Oven-safe bowl or container
  • Commercial oven cleaner (optional)
  • The Pink Stuff (optional)
  • Cleaning pumice stone (optional)

How to Clean an Oven: Step-By-Step

Once you’ve gathered the essentials, you can follow our handy step-by-step guide for regular and deep-cleaning oven maintenance.

Step 1: Remove Oven Racks

Man removing oven racks for cleaning.

Remove the oven racks and set aside for separate cleaning. This will allow easy and complete access to the oven interior. 

Step 2: Make a Baking Soda Paste

Ingredients for paste to clean an oven.

Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water in a bowl to create a thick DIY oven-cleaner paste. Adjust the quantities as needed to achieve the right consistency.

Step 3: Apply the Oven Cleaner

Baking soda paste applied to oven interior.

Spread the solution evenly throughout the oven’s interior surfaces, avoiding the holes for the heating elements. Focus on areas with stubborn stains and grease build-up. Leave it overnight.

Step 4: Wipe Down the Interior

Wiping down the oven interior with damp sponge.

Use a damp sponge to wipe down the oven’s interior the following day. The paste should have loosened the grime, making it easier to remove.

Step 5: Use Vinegar for Tough Stains

Image of tough grease stains inside an oven.

For persistent stains, use equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the affected areas and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Wipe down with a clean, damp sponge or microfiber cloth.

There are many brands of distilled white vinegar; I recommend Heinz, a natural, non-toxic option that works wonders on oven glass. Its acidity helps break down grime and leaves a streak-free shine.

Step 6: Clean the Oven Door

Cleaning an oven door with a microfiber cloth.

Window cleaner works well for glass doors. If you’d like a natural remedy, combine water and vinegar in a bowl, dip a cloth in the mixture, and wipe down the glass. Vinegar will also work well to clean the stainless steel exterior of your oven.

If any food particles are stuck, use a kitchen knife or a razor blade to scrape them loose gently. Keep the blade at a 45-degree angle to avoid potential damage.

Step 7: Clean the Oven Racks

Oven racks being cleaned with soap.
  • Soak in hot water and a few drops of dish detergent to help remove tough grease. Consider adding lemon essential oil droplets to the water mixture to aid in breaking down stains. 
  • Use a scrubbing sponge (or brush) to remove any residue and rinse them thoroughly. 
  • Rinse everything off with a clean microfiber cloth or sponge. Ensure you wipe everything down so no cleaning products remain on the interior, and risk consuming any chemicals. 

What to Buy Instead of DIY

The Pink Stuff cleaner used for cleaning an oven.

If you are looking for a store-bought oven cleaner, try The Pink Stuff, a vegan, miracle-cleaning paste that works wonders on tough stains all over the house. This cleaning paste is very similar to the DIY solution and is safe to use inside the oven

Many cleaners have harsh chemicals that make them unsafe to use for food prep appliances.

Natural Cleaning Solutions for Your Oven

All natural products for cleaning an oven.

Oven spray cleaners can be intimidating, and the leftover fumes irritate the lungs and airways. Natural cleaning solutions are fume-free and safe to use.

If you incorporate natural cleaning solutions, you’ll be assured that no chemical residue is left behind before you use your oven again.

You can clean your oven with items you probably already have in your kitchen. Baking soda and white vinegar are great tools for cleaning grease and stains, but even lemon can get a sparkly clean oven.

Cut a lemon in half and rub the cut side onto the oven surface. The acidity of the lemon helps break down stains, so it’s a win/win product that you probably already have around the house, too!

Another way to remove stubborn stains from the oven’s interior is to use a cleaning pumice stone. This type of pumice stone differs from the type you use on your feet. I saw this tip in an Instagram Reel. I haven’t tried it yet, but I will the next time I clean my oven.

Regular oven cleaning is necessary, whether by hand or with a self-cleaner, using natural products or the best in-store solutions. Make sure to wipe up spills when they happen, and do a deep clean at least once a month to keep your oven in clean working order.

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