The 10 Craziest Oven Cleaning Hacks That Really Work

oven cleaning hacks
Reagen Taylor

Part of spring-cleaning is that you’re cleaning all the nooks and crannies you don’t get a chance to reach all year round—and your oven should not be forgotten. I’ve been searching high and low for some oven cleaning hacks lately. It all started because I live in an old apartment and realized I have no idea the last time it was cleaned. (Yes, that’s a bit scary). Not only does grime and dried-up oil look unpleasant, but it often produces a foul odor when things are cooking.

Forgetting to tend to your oven once in a while also has some more serious hazards far beyond creating some smelly odors. Firstly, it can be unhygienic since old bits of food are being heated and they can actually permeate into your food. To make sure this isn’t the case for you, follow these totally easy oven cleaning hacks that will make this “chore” a cinch.

Try to always clean up oven spills when they happen as they can get caked on and can actually cause smoke and even lead to fire.

Method 1: Water + Ammonia

  • Warm your oven to 150 degrees Fahrenheit and then turn it off.
  • If you have a gas stove, turn off both the gas and the pilot light (this is crucial for safety).
  • Put a large pot of boiling water on the bottom rack and a baking dish with a cup of ammonia on the top rack.
  • Close the door and let it rest overnight.
  • Open in the morning and remove the racks.
  • Air out the oven with the door open for 15 minutes or more.
  • Add a couple of teaspoons of dish soap to your leftover ammonia, plus a quart of warm water; mix.
  • Using plastic gloves, dip a scrubbing pad into the liquid and use it to wipe the remnants of grease out of your oven.

Method 2: White Vinegar + Baking Soda

  • Empty your oven and remove racks.
  • Mix up your own cleaning solution of 1/2 cup of baking soda and some water (a few tablespoons should do the trick). You want to add enough water so that it becomes a paste.
  • Using gloves, spread the mixture all over the interior of the oven, taking care to avoid the heating elements.
  • Let it sit overnight or for a minimum of 12 hours.
  • Using a dampened cloth, wipe the mixture off (it will turn brown from the grease).
  • Spray white vinegar on any areas where it’s a challenge to remove the paste; the vinegar will react with the baking soda to loosen it up.
  • Continue to wipe down the appliance with water until the oven is clean.

Method 3: The Self-Clean Function

A few words of warning: some people say that the self-clean function can actually cause your oven to break since it’s reaching such high temperatures (over 900 degrees Fahrenheit). But to be honest, my mom has always used the self-clean “method” on her oven and has never had any issues. It’s not an option on all ovens, but it is worth considering. Here’s how to do it:

  • Open nearby windows to ventilate.
  • Press the button and let the oven do its thing (the door will lock itself for safety reasons).
  • Most ovens will take anywhere from two and a half to four hours to fully clean themselves (do not leave the house until the cycle is done).

Method 4: The Oven Rack Soak

  • Remove oven racks from the oven.
  • Spray them with an oven cleaning product.
  • Seal them in large bags for around 30 minutes.
  • Rinse them with warm water to get rid of the residue.

Method 5: Quick Glass Cleaner

  • Slightly dampen a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
  • Use it to wipe off any leftover grease for a quick clean for a final sweep after you've already used a few other methods.

Method 6: Spot Treatment

  • Treat little spots causing you major difficulty with cleaning solution and a toothbrush.
  • Dip the brush in a cleaning solution and start scrubbing (this method is great for reaching small nooks and crannies).
  • If stains still refuse to come off, consider investing in a cheap electric toothbrush to help you do some of the work.

Method 7: Dishwasher Detergent Tablets

  • Use a dishwasher detergent tablet to clean the inside glass on your oven door.
  • Wet a dishwasher detergent tablet with hot water.
  • Scrub it against the glass door like a sponge or eraser in order to eliminate built-up grime.

Method 8: Cream of Tartar

  • It may sound odd, but cream of tartar—typically used as a baking ingredient—acts as a polish when used to clean the oven.
  • Swipe in on the inside of the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Rinse away the cream of tartar to reveal a polished oven that looks brand new.

Method 9: De-crumb

  • If your oven is filled with crumbs, you can remove the door to get to those hard-to-reach areas.
  • Turn to your appliance's instruction manual to learn how best to unhinge the door; many have hinge locks that you can unlock with a screwdriver.
  • Lift the door up and out to remove it and make room for a deep clean.
  • Use a handheld vacuum to remove excess crumbs before you start using any cleaning solutions.

Method 10: Water + Lemon

  • For a natural cleaning method, ditch the chemicals and pick up a few lemons at the store.
  • Fill a pan with water and add the juice of two lemons.
  • Place the pan in the oven and turn it on.
  • When the water comes to a boil, the steam will act as a natural cleaner, breaking down grease and other stains.
  • Turn off the oven and let it cool before using a damp cloth to wipe down the interior.

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