How to clean your oven

How To Clean Your Oven

Learn 4 different methods for how to clean the oven and make your appliance look like new again.

No matter how many precautions you take, after many sessions of baking and roasting, the interior of the oven gets fairly grimy. Grease and over-cooked food residue accumulate on the surface of your oven and turn into carbon. This causes a strong burning smell while baking. Not only that, but carbon can also taint your food and, if you don’t remove the carbon coating, the oven becomes a fire hazard. That’s why it’s very important to know how to clean the oven and to do it regularly.

Let’s get started and see what you need and what you have to do to clean your oven!

Tools You Need For Cleaning Oven

Before you start removing the racks and proceed with cleaning, make sure you have:

  • Water
  • Rubber gloves
  • Dishcloth or kitchen sponge
  • Dish soap
  • Plastic spatula or silicone (metal spatulas can scrape the finish so don’t use them on your oven)
  • Scouring pad
  • Store-bought or homemade cleaner
  • Spray bottle

You should clean your appliance at least one time per month if you use it daily or weekly. On the other hand, if you only use your oven a few times per month, there’s no need for monthly cleaning; you can clean it every 4 months or whenever you notice residue building up.

What Is The Best Way To Clean Your Oven?

If what you want is a clean oven, you can rely on any of these methods. Granted, some methods require elbow grease while others are easier but all of them help you get rid of grease and grime. Most importantly, not all ovens are the same, thus not all cleaning methods work for all ovens. Some ovens have self-cleaning capability. Others require different methods of cleaning.

If you’re in a hurry and you need a fast method, using a store-bought cleaner is probably the best idea. If you’re not in a hurry, you can use a homemade cleaner to avoid harsh chemicals and fumes. Lastly, if your oven is moderately-dirty, you can even use lemon juice and water to create a steaming environment that will help you remove the grease and grime fast.

How To Clean Your Oven With The Self-Cleaning Function

If you want to use the self-cleaning function of your oven, start by reading the appliance’s menu. It is important to note that this method involves a lot of heat and toxic fumes, thus it is mandatory to read and follow instructions.

Classic self-cleaning feature:

  • Make sure you can be out of the kitchen while running the self-cleaning cycle to avoid breathing in toxic fumes.
  • Remove anything from the inside of the oven, including pans and racks.
  • Wash the racks in the sink with soapy water and a kitchen sponge.
  • Scrape off as much baked-on food as possible with a spatula or a sponge.
  • Lock the oven’s door.
  • Set the timer – you’ll want to use the self-cleaning feature for 2 hours if the oven is not very dirty. If it’s been a while since you cleaned your oven and there is a lot of build-up residue, set the timer to 3-4 hours.
  • After the self-cleaning cycle is complete, let the oven cool down before you open the door.
  • Use a damp cloth to remove ash residue. If the residue is loose and you’re having a hard time with a cloth, you can use a vacuum cleaner.

Steam-cleaning feature:

  • If your appliance has a steam-cleaning feature, start by pouring water into the bottom of the oven.
  • Lock the door and press “clean oven”. Typically, the steam-cleaning cycle takes less than an hour.
  • When the cycle is finished, let the interior cool down.
  • With a kitchen sponge or scrub brush, remove the residue.

How To Clean Your Oven With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Store-bought cleaners are not your only option for cleaning the oven. Cleaning ovens with natural products such as baking soda and vinegar is also possible. Homemade cleaners are just as effective as store-bought ones. In addition, you won’t expose yourself to toxic fumes and dangerous chemicals.

  • To clean the oven with baking soda and vinegar, you have to start with making a white paste by mixing together half a cup of baking soda with 3 tablespoons of water. Adjust the measurements if necessary until you get a spreadable white paste that’s not too runny but not clumpy either.
  • After you created the white paste, remove everything from the oven – racks, pans, and everything that you store there. Soak the racks in the sink in soapy water.
  • Spread the paste over the interior of the oven. You can use a brush to spread the paste and coat the interior evenly. Use more baking soda paste on the areas that have more grime and build-up residue.
  • You can use this natural cleaner on the door of the oven as well. However, don’t coat the heating elements with it since this can be dangerous.
  • After you coated the oven with the baking soda paste, let it sit overnight or for at least 8 hours before rinsing it. Since baking soda is natural it needs more time to break down the food residue. If your oven is particularly dirty, you can let the mixture saturate for 12 hours. Close the door during this time.
  • During the waiting time, you may notice that the baking soda paste will turn brown. This is perfectly normal and it means the solution is working.
  • Clean the racks. You can use dish soap and a kitchen sponge or a scouring pad to scrub the racks clean.
  • After 8-12 hours have passed, take a damp dishtowel and clear off the dried baking soda paste.
  • For harder bits, use a plastic spatula or a scouring pad.
  • Mix 2 cups of water with ½ cup of vinegar and pour the liquid into a spray bottle.
  • Spritz the interior of the oven with the liquid to foam the remaining baking soda. This will ensure that all the baking soda paste is removed. It will also help you clean the surface better because vinegar has great cleaning properties.
  • To finish off, wipe the inside of your oven with a damp cloth and place the racks back inside.
How To Clean Your Oven With Lemon Juice_

How To Clean Your Oven With Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is also a great natural cleaner you can use for cleaning an oven. How to use lemon juice for cleaning your oven:

  • Fill 1/3 of a baking dish with water and add the juice of 2 freshly squeezed lemons. To obtain the lemon juice, cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juice with your hand or a citrus press. Add the lemon skins to the water as well.
  • For this method, you don’t have to remove the racks from the oven.
  • Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  • Place the baking dish on a rack and bake for 30 minutes. The lemon juice and water mixture will soften any residue and grime.
  • If the oven smokes during baking time, you don’t have to worry; it is totally normal. Open a window and turn on the fan if necessary.
  • As soon as the 30 minutes have passed, turn off the oven and open the door to speed up the cooling down process. This should take about an hour.
  • Use a scouring pad or a kitchen sponge to wipe away grime and grease. For tougher spots, use the plastic spatula.
  • Once you’ve cleaned the interior, you can use a dry towel to dry the surface or let the door open to let the oven air dry.

How To Clean Your Oven With Store Bought Cleaners

How To Clean Your Oven With Lemon Juice_

If you don’t have the option of using the self-cleaning function, you can get your oven cleaned with store-bought oven cleaners. Here’s how to do it:

  • Remove everything from the oven – racks, pans, and foil.
  • Set the racks aside or soak them in hot soapy water in the sink.
  • Lay paper towels or old newspapers on the floor around the oven to catch grime that drips during cleaning. This will make the cleaning process easier since you won’t have to mop the floor once the oven is clean.
  • Open the windows since the harsh chemicals can affect your eyes. If you’re using a particularly toxic cleaner, put on protective glasses too. Children and pets shouldn’t be in the kitchen while you’re cleaning the oven with store-bought cleaners because they are more sensitive to toxic fumes.
  • If your oven cleaner comes in a spray bottle, spritz the interior of the oven with it. If not, use a sponge or a cloth to distribute the cleaner on the surface of the oven. Pay more attention to the areas that are very dirty or where you see more caked-on food.
  • Let the cleaner saturate the grime per label instructions.
  • In the meantime, clean the racks with dish soap and a kitchen sponge. Rinse them with water and let them air-dry.
  • After the time indicated on the label passed, you can proceed to remove the residue. Use a damp cloth or a damp dishtowel to wipe out the grime and the cleaner from the oven.
  • Use a spatula on hard-stuck areas or scrub them with a scouring pad.
  • Make sure you get to every corner of the oven with the cloth to ensure that cleaner residue is wiped away. Repeat the process if necessary with a clean and damp cloth.


We have covered some of the more popular ways to clean your oven. 

Find the way that suits you best and stick with that. Remember you don’t have to spend a fortune on cleaning products to get the job done and as well, the methods talked about here are fairly environmentally friendly. 

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