How to Clean an Oven

It may officially be summer now, but let's be real: It's NEVER too late for spring cleaning. And one of the most important (but oft-neglected) areas of your home that needs to be cleaned? Yep — your oven.

While most ovens these days boast a self-cleaning function, the truth of the matter is that they're, well, stinky. Literally.

Let's take a quick poll: If you're not in the mood for your house to smell like burnt rubber and you're not a fan of lots of harsh chemicals, raise your hand.

Yep. We see you. (And if you're not raising your hand, we'll assume you've probably already stopped reading because the mere mention of burnt plastic got you jonesin' to burn a Barbie doll in your fireplace while singing "Disco Inferno.") Luckily, we've got you covered with some better (and better smelling!) oven-cleaning methods.

Cleaning your oven

How to Disinfect an Oven with Baking Soda

One of your best bets when it comes to disinfecting your oven is none other than our trusty ol' pals baking soda and vinegar. Here's what you'll need to do:

  1. Make a paste by combining a half cup of baking soda with three tablespoons water, and mix until it reaches a spreadable consistency. (The number of tablespoons can be adjusted as needed; the mixture shouldn't be clumpy, but it shouldn't be runny, either.)  
  1. Once you've removed all the racks from the oven, spread the paste over your oven's interior, avoiding any heating elements and paying special attention to any particularly grimy or caked-on areas.
  1. Let it sit for at least 12 hours. We recommend beginning the cleaning process after dinner and letting it sit overnight.
  1. While you're waiting, clean your oven racks (and broiler plate if needed) by soaking them in warm water and dish soap, then giving them a good scrub.
  1. Once your 12 hours are up, use a damp cloth (and plastic spatula if needed) to wipe out your oven. For any tough areas, use a spray bottle filled with a little vinegar and spritz the caked-on paste, and wipe down the area again with the damp rag.

 And voila! Just like that, your oven is disinfected (and shiny to boot)! 

Pizza cooking inside a clean oven

How to Clean an Oven Without Baking Soda

Okay, but say you don't have baking soda on hand and you don't feel like running to the store to grab some. No need to sweat! There's more than one way to clean an oven. And as it turns out, these other methods are super easy. The solution to your no-baking-soda problem is cleaning your oven with ammonia or lemon — and we'll teach you how to do both.

Cleaning with ammonia

How to Clean an Oven with Ammonia

While ammonia may not be the most delightful smell in the world, it's a whole lot better than burnt plastic. And best of all? This oven-cleaning method is so easy.

But before we tackle how to clean your oven with ammonia, let's take some necessary precautions: First and foremost, read the instructions on your bottle of ammonia solution (which should be 5–10% ammonia) to make sure you are using and storing it safely and properly. Also, never mix ammonia with other strong cleaning agents such as bleach or oven cleaners.

Now let's get started.

  1. Turn your oven on to 200 degrees F. Once it's warmed up, turn it off.
  1. Place 1/2 cup of ammonia into an oven-safe dish on the middle rack of your oven. 
  1. Fill another oven-safe dish with two cups of boiling water, then place it on the rack underneath the ammonia. 
  1. Shut the door and let sit overnight.
  1. Remove the dishes and wipe down the oven with a warm rag or sponge. 

That's it! Easy as 1, 2, 3...4, 5. You get the gist.

Cleaning with lemon

How to Clean an Oven with Lemon

Who knew that cleaning your oven was as simple as buying a couple of lemons?! (We did. We knew.) Here's how it works:

  1. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F.

  2. Cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juices into an oven-safe dish. Fill the dish about a third of the way full with water and place it in the oven. 

  3. Let it "bake" for 30 minutes. Don't be alarmed if the oven smokes; simply open a window and/or use the oven fan.

  4. Remove the dish and let the oven cool down. Once the oven is cool, use a scouring pad (you can even dip it in any remaining lemon-water) to scrub away leftover grime, using a plastic or silicone spatula to loosen the harder-to-remove chunks. 

Four steps and you're done! Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

How to Clean an Oven Door

Considering that your oven door is the means by which you can peek at that oh-so-delicious cheesecake you're baking without opening the door and releasing heat, it's basically essential that you keep it clean. 

Cleaning the outside is as easy as getting some Windex and wiping it down, but the inside is another story entirely. A story filled with melted cheese, sauce splatters, and all kinds of unidentifiable gunk.

But getting it clean probably isn't as horrific as you think.

First, try soapy water and give the door a good scrub. If that doesn't do the trick, liberally spray the door with a degreaser (we love using a spray bottle filled with distilled white vinegar and a drop of dish soap) and wipe it down.

If that still doesn't work, use the baking soda method mentioned above! 

We get it, in the past, cleaning your oven probably sounded about as fun as a toothache — but with these methods, it can be quick and painless! All it takes is a little time, elbow grease, and channeling your inner Danny Tanner, and that oven will be sparkling like it's brand new in no time.

 

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