How to Clean an Oven in Just 7 Steps

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The average person has enough household work piled up than to be worried about battling grime in the oven. However, without regular cleanings, ovens can turn into veritable wastelands of dirt and bacteria. Unfortunately, cleaning an oven isn’t as simple as wiping down a countertop or mopping the floor. Those old food particles can be remarkably stubborn.

The good news? Cleaning an oven doesn’t have to be a back-breaking chore. It can actually be surprisingly easy with the right tools and techniques. Although, the approach does has to be tailored to the specific type of oven being cleaned. There are three types of ovens found in most households: standard ovens, textured ovens, and self-cleaning ovens.

Read on to discover how to clean every type of oven and restore that like-new sparkle.

Self-Cleaning Ovens

Self-cleaning ovens are equipped with the ability to destroy dirt and weaken stains using extremely high temperatures. In self-cleaning mode, the oven may reach as high as 800 to 900 degrees, so it’s very important to use caution with these types of appliances.

  1. Remove the oven racks. These will be cleaned separately (see “Oven Racks” below).
  2. Lock the oven door. All self-cleaning ovens should be equipped with a locking mechanism, as it’s extremely dangerous to meddle inside of a 900-degree environment. That’s literally the temperature of the planet Venus.
  3. Turn on the self-cleaning function. A complete cycle should take about four hours. After the process is done and the oven has turned off, wait about two hours before opening the door. This is extremely important.
  4. Open the oven door and wipe down the interior with a damp cloth. Any remaining food particles should wipe away effortlessly. If any remaining dirt refuses to lift from the surface, spray it with equal parts water and white vinegar, then wipe it down with your damp cloth. That should do the trick.

Textured Ovens

Also called “continuously cleaning” ovens, these ovens are noted for—as the name suggests—continuously cleaning themselves after each use. They’re typically constructed of porcelain on the inside and are relatively easy to maintain. Still, even the most reliable textured oven needs a manual wipe-down from time to time.

  • Clean your oven while the inside is cold. Do not attempt to manually wipe down the inside while it’s still hot from recent use.
  • Remove the racks.
  • Wipe down the porcelain interior with a damp sponge. For particularly stubborn stains, spray inside first with equal parts water and white vinegar. Don’t use a chemical-based cleaner; this may stain or damage the porcelain.

Normal Ovens (Mild Dirt)

For regular ovens that are maintained on a fairly consistent basis, a bit of baking soda should do the trick.

  • Remove the racks.
  • Fill a spray bottle with water and add four tbsp. of baking soda.
  • Spray the entire interior of the oven (while cold) and let soak for an hour.
  • Wipe down the interior with a damp sponge.
  • Remove any remaining caked-on dirt with an abrasive scrubbing brush or spatula.
  • Spray any remaining stains with equal parts water and white vinegar.
  • Wipe away remains with a damp cloth.

Normal Ovens (Heavy Dirt)

This is the most difficult type of oven to clean, but once again, baking soda makes the job much easier. If anything, this process is more time-consuming than it is laborious.

  • Remove the oven racks.
  • Make a paste of water and baking soda. It’s best to start with the baking soda and add drops of water until the mix has a thick, paste-like consistency.
  • Cover the entire interior of the oven with the baking soda paste. This may be done with rubber gloves, a soft-bristled brush, or a soft cloth. Spread the paste evenly across all of the oven walls. Do this while the oven is cold.
  • Let the baking soda penetrate the dirt overnight. It’s best to let it sit for eight to 12 hours.
  • Wipe away the baking soda using a damp cloth.
  • Spray any remaining stains with equal parts water and white vinegar.

Oven Racks

Oven racks have their own cleaning demands, so it’s important to treat them as a separate effort.

  • Soak the oven racks in a sink filled with water and mild dish soap for about an hour.
  • Rinse the racks and then use an abrasive scrub brush to scrub away any remaining dirt particles.
  • Wipe down the racks with a clean sponge containing water and mild dish soap.
  • Rinse the racks one final time.

For especially dirty racks, try filling a large basin with water and add half a cup of dishwasher detergent. If you’re using a porcelain basin, like a tub, place towels at the bottom of the tub to protect the material, then place the racks on top of the towels overnight. Rinse the racks and return them to the oven.

Up next, learn how to organize your space in less than 20 minutes.

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