When it comes to regular cleaning of the kitchen, there is often one key player that everyone misses: the oven. Why? The task of cleaning the oven often gets neglected because it’s so easy to shut the door and not think about the growing mess inside.
Although, a clean and healthy oven is imperative to a kitchen’s overall health. With the right hacks, cleaning the oven will not only be easy and efficient, it will be a welcome task.
Used almost every day in the common household, the oven is regularly tossed to the side when it comes to spring cleaning (or everyday cleaning for that matter).
A clean oven is crucial to a healthy, happy kitchen, as grease and tiny bits of burnt food can absorb the heat emitted by the oven and make it less likely to do its job properly. Keeping the oven door’s glass clear and clean also means you’ll be better able to see your cooking food.
Not sure how to clean an oven, or where to begin for that matter? The task may seem overwhelming and scary, but the reward of a spick and span oven – and the promise of better tasting food – makes the task worthwhile.
Thankfully, when it comes to deep cleaning an oven, it’s a much less daunting task than you’d expect. From the simple press of a button, to easy DIY concoctions that melt grease away, here’s an easy step-by-step guide on how to clean your oven.
First, How Often Should I Be Cleaning My Oven?
In the same way you clean the rest of your kitchen when you use it, the more regular cleaning you do on your oven periodically, the easier you’ll find the cleaning process in the long run. Besides making the chore easier for yourself and your family, a clean oven also makes for tastier cooked meals and leads to less germs.
It is recommended that an oven is cleaned every three to six months, or more often depending on how much it’s used. It’s also advised that an oven be spot cleaned in between big cleans, to make the job easier all-round. Just remember, as with most things, the longer you leave it the harder it will be to get back into good condition.
Why Is It So Important To Clean The Oven?
While cleaning the oven is a menial task many of us would rather put to the side, it’s actually crucial to your kitchen’s health – and the health of the food your cooking. Food that gets spilt and left in the oven will eventually burn, and in some cases, catch fire. From that point on, whatever you cook will begin to develop an unpleasant smoky taste.
Good residue left in the oven can also carry with it germs, and those germs can be passed on every time you use your oven. Failing to clean the appliance regularly makes it easy for germs and bugs to breed and infect your meals.
If your oven is dirty, the filters and mechanisms within the machine can also become blocked by grime and grease – which will eventually stop it from performing its job. Left too long, and this will have a detrimental impact on the health of your appliance.
Use The Self-Cleaning Function On Your Oven
Yes, some ovens come with a self-cleaning function. Although it sounds too good to be true, a modern oven will come with a self-clean cycle that is a time-saving convenience feature. During the cleaning cycle, the oven is heated to around 400 degrees celsius.
At this temperature, food and scraps left inside the oven are reduced to ash, which in turn, can be easily wiped clean with a damp cloth. This method of cleaning your oven is by far the easiest, and is also great for those that don’t want to clean with chemicals or other DIY cleaning methods.
The only issue with the self-cleaning function is that some ovens don’t have it, and for those that do, it can take up to three to five hours to complete the cycle. Also, when it comes to this process in summer, the oven can let off some serious heat into the rest of the home and leave an unpleasant odour.
You should also be wary of pets and children while the cycle is going on, as the oven door and its surrounds can become extremely hot to the touch. Best to keep yourself, and others, out of sight when the self-cleaning cycle is in progress.
A few more tips when it comes to a self-cleaning oven. Depending on what type of oven model you have, the pans and racks placed inside may need to be removed before the cycle begins.
It’s also important to always remember to let the oven fully cool before attempting to clean out the interior following the cleaning. While the self-cleaning function does take care of most of the work for you, some elbow grease may be required to finish off the residue left behind.
Use A Store-Bought Oven Cleaner To Remove Grease
For those not lucky enough to have a self-cleaning oven, or those that do and are wanting an extra sparkly clean interior, there are a handful of other alternatives to cleaning your oven. One of those options is to use a chemical store-bought cleaner.
Firstly, remove any large pieces of loose food from inside the oven, spray your choice of cleaner evenly into the interior of the oven (cooled, of course) and allow it to set for a minimum of thirty minutes. The cleaner will work to lift grime and grease, making it easier for you to wipe it clean.
Because chemical cleaners are incredibly potent, it’s best to open your kitchen windows and wear gloves and a face mask. It’s also best to keep children and pets away while completing this task.
Create Your Own DIY Oven Cleaner
If you’re not big on the chemical cleaners in your home, there are plenty of ways to clean the interior of your oven with some DIY natural remedies. All you need is some baking soda, vinegar and water. Skipping the chemical oven cleaner is easy when you use a safe and simple solution that gives you the same great results.
A great homemade oven cleaner that many swear by is the combination of baking soda and water. The baking soda acts as an abrasive and the water softens baked-on grime and loosens food particles. Simply make a paste and apply it liberally to the oven’s interior surfaces.
Let it sit for at least twenty minutes or longer to allow it to break down the burned food inside. You can also add a bit of vinegar to the mix for some extra cleaning power. Spray vinegar on top and allow it to bubble and set before cleaning off. It’s best to use a non-abrasive pad to gently scrub all surfaces of the oven. Follow up with a damp microfibre cloth.
A method that is not that common, but also just as effective, is steam cleaning your oven. Just a note, this method isn’t great if you haven’t done a big clean of your oven in a while and it’s full of grease – you might need to try something a little stronger if that’s the case.
Place a large, oven proof container full of water into your oven on the lowest rack. Turn your oven onto the highest setting and ‘bake’ for twenty to thirty minutes. Allow the oven to completely cool, without opening the door, and then with a damp cloth wipe down the interior.
The steam will have loosened any grease and dirt so that it will just wipe away. Although this method is effective, its best for those that clean the interiors of their oven regularly.
Cleaning The Oven Racks
When it comes to cleaning your oven racks, no matter what type of oven you have, the easiest way to do it is always going to be removing them from the interior of the oven. It’s always best to soak the racks entirely in boiling water with a little dishwasher detergent before starting any stronger cleaning process.
The bathtub is a great place to do this if your kitchen sink isn’t big enough. Soak the racks for two hours and then scrub them with a stiff brush before rinsing them off and allowing them to dry before returning them to the oven. For racks that boiling water isn’t doing the trick, you can also use the baking soda and water mixture with vinegar spray.
Try letting it set long enough for the ingredients to really soak in, so that scrubbing is minimal.
If your racks are porcelain instead of metal, you can leave them in when your oven is doing its self-clean cycle. Some ovens also have a steam-clean option that aims to take care of small food spills on the racks. This cycle requires a much lower heat than traditional self-cleaning.
Cleaning The Oven Knobs
Contrary to what you’ve probably been taught, spraying oven knobs directly with household cleaner is actually advised against. The liquid from the spray bottle could be getting behind the knobs and switches, shorting out the control panel.
Instead, it’s best to spray a rag with liquid cleaner and then rub the controls to prevent liquid getting behind. A simple damp cloth used on and around the knobs will do the best job, and you can even add a bit of soap if the knobs require it.
Cleaning Glass Oven Doors
Your oven’s glass door requires a much gentler approach than that of the racks, since glass is not only more fragile but more susceptible to scratches. That means it’s best not to use abrasive products or the scrubbing technique suggested for the oven’s interiors.
To clean your oven door, mix baking soda and water into a thick paste. Spread the paste generously on the glass and let it sit for twenty or more minutes. After it has dried, gently wipe up the paste with a damp cloth, rinse thoroughly with water and buff it dry for a sparkling finish.
You can also spritz on soapy water or an oven cleaner to help get rid of grime. For an extra clean door, you can use a standard glass cleaner or a bit of diluted vinegar and a soft cloth to buff out the glass.
If your oven’s glass door is made up of two pieces of glass, you’ll need to add in a few extra steps to your cleaning method to ensure all the built-up crumbs, dust and grease is taken care of. First, open the door and rest it somewhere supportive, then unscrew along the top of the door.
Once unscrewed, you’ll have access to the in-between layers of the oven. Use a vacuum to dust up crumbs and other pieces of food that may have fallen into the gap. To clean grease, use a damp sponge with a long handle.
How To Keep Your Oven Clean (In The Long Run)
Now that you’ve actually done the hard yards and cleaned your oven – what’s the best way to keep it that spick and span? There are a few simple tricks that you can apply to make sure your oven stays as clean as possible, and only needs its regular spruiking every couple of months.
Below, tips on keeping your oven cleaner for longer:
- Place a large dish on the rack below whenever you are cooking, so that it will catch any overflows and can just be placed into the dishwasher afterwards.
- If your oven racks fit in the dishwasher, and are stainless steel, pop them in regularly on the hottest setting. The heat and detergent will get rid of any grease and grime, and making cleaning your oven an easier task overall.
- Clean up spills while they are fresh and you will save yourself a lot of hard work later on.
If All Else Fails…Hire A Professional
If you’ve tried all of the above and need a little extra help, try contacting a professional house cleaner or specialist oven cleaner.