Grease, grime, dust and baked-on food bits make your oven a bit grungy and, to be honest, kind of gross. But leaving your oven sitting without cleaning it regularly just makes the problem worse. Fortunately, there are easy ways to get through this arduous task without a lot of extra work. Here are some tips, hints and suggestions to help you get the job done and keep your oven looking fabulous.

How to Clean an Oven

Do I Have To Clean My Oven?

Yes! It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it. Fortunately, there are several options you have available to make the job easier. When you’re shopping for a new appliance, look for self-cleaning models. Some ovens and ranges available today include steam self-cleaning options, where you can add a specific amount of water to the oven, then begin the cleaning cycle, which saves energy by lowering the temperature at which the cleaning takes place.

How Often Should I Clean My Oven?

The frequency with which you should clean your oven will depend on how often you use it. A confirmed bachelor friend of mine admitted after several minutes of questioning when we were moving a mutual friend into his house that he’d never used his oven for anything except crafting. By comparison, my oven is used at least once a day. Obviously, my oven will need cleaning much more frequently than his will. But how do you tell when you should clean your oven?

There are three signs to look for: sight, smell and smoke. If you see grime building up on your oven door and interior, if there’s a distinctive smell when you start your oven (unless your oven is brand new – brand new ovens will often have a little smell as they’re used the first few times) or if it smokes when you start it up, it’s time to clean. Of course, the easiest way to keep your oven clean is to wipe up spills as they happen, before they can dry in and become a problem.

Cleaning a Self-Cleaning Ovens

Self-cleaning ovens use a high temperature to burn off any food residues that are inside of your oven. Some models, as mentioned above, allow you to pour a particular amount of water on a specific location in the oven to run a lower-power steam-cleaning cycle, which gives you an option between deep cleanings.

During a high-temperature cleaning cycle, the oven may smoke a little and let off a scent that many people find bothersome. If this is the case for you, you may want to plan on running your cleaning cycle when you’re away from home or on a nice day when you can open the windows and allow the fresh air inside. Though these do provide a simple fix to the problem, they may not be able to actually get all of the grime out of your oven. If this is the case, you’ll need to look at one of the two cleaning options below.

Cleaning Chemical Oven Cleaners

There are a number of chemical oven cleaners available on the market, which do a great job of cleaning your oven very quickly. These cleaners spray onto your oven’s surfaces and then are wiped off within a half-hour or so in most cases. However, the trade-off for many people are the strong scents and chemicals that are used in these cleaners, which can be bothersome if you’re sensitive to them or are concerned about what is being used around food.

Because these cleaners tend to be very harsh, start by protecting your floors with a layer of newspaper. This step also prevents you from having to mop the floor immediately after cleaning, because you can simply throw the newspapers away instead of having to clean up drips of the mess that have landed on the floor. Read the instructions for the cleaner, and make sure that you put on cleaning gloves before you begin. Some individuals prefer to also wear safety glasses or goggles so they don’t accidentally get oven cleaner droplets into their eyes. Remove your racks, pans, baking stones and similar items from the oven. If you’re concerned about the fumes, opening a few windows can help keep the air in your home fresh while you clean.

Spray the cleaner into your oven’s surfaces, including the top of the oven. Once you’ve finished coating the surfaces, set a timer for the amount of time recommended in the instructions and keep any small children and pets out of the kitchen while the cleaner is working. Place your racks in a garbage bag and spray them down with oven cleaner and let them sit while the timer is running. Once the time is up, wipe down the interior of the oven with damp rags, ensuring all the cleaner has been removed. Rinse off your oven racks with warm, soapy water and you’re done!

Naturally Cleaning an Oven

If you prefer a more natural approach to cleaning your oven, you may not need to look any further than your own kitchen cabinets. Baking soda and vinegar, that powerhouse combination for so many cleaning options in the home, works wonderfully on ovens. Though it does take a lot longer than chemical oven cleaners, many families find the reassurance of the natural combination well worth the extra time and effort required in the cleaning process.

As with chemical cleaners, you’ll want to lay down newspapers and remove everything from the oven, but this time, set your oven racks in the sink to soak in warm, soapy water for a couple of hours. Make a paste of 1/2 cup baking soda and 3 tablespoons of water, then spread the paste with a paintbrush across your oven’s interior and allow it to sit for 12 hours. Use a damp rag to clean up the dried paste, using a plastic or wooden spatula if needed for tough spots. Spray the oven’s interior down with 1/2 cup vinegar in 2 cups of water. Wipe out the remaining residue with a damp cloth and enjoy your clean oven.

The Bottom Line

By staying on top of your oven cleaning, you’ll be able to get through this process very quickly, making it easy to keep your oven looking wonderful and performing beautifully. But what if you’re short on time or just don’t want to spend your free time cleaning your oven? The experienced professional cleaners at Cleaning Exec are ready to help! Please feel free to contact us today with any questions, for more details or to get a free estimate on our exceptional office cleaning and home cleaning services.