You know the smell. Sugar burned beyond all recognition, from last Thanksgiving’s apple pie. Carbonized cheese, that dripped down one Friday night when you and the kids made mini pizzas. And let’s not even talk about the smoke. You recognize the signs. You know what they mean. It’s time to clean the oven.
Growing up, I never actually learned how to clean my oven. Follow these easy steps and oven cleaning tips, and you’ll be back to roasting, broiling and baking in no time. Advances in technology (thank you, self-cleaning ovens and non-stick surfaces!) mean there’s less and less reason to use harsh and caustic commercial oven cleaners, except in the most severe cases.
You Will Need
- 4 tbsp. baking soda
- White vinegar
- Spray bottle
- Dish soap
- Plastic scrubber
Steps to Clean Your Oven
- The key to easy oven cleaning is preparation. Start by removing the oven racks and soaking them in lukewarm water and dish soap. Mix baking soda and 1 liter of water in a spray bottle and coat the inside of a cold oven. Make sure you saturate any charred food or stains. Wait 1 hour.
- Test the charred and baked on food. If it isn’t coming off, douse it again with baking soda and water. Use a plastic paint scraper or ice scraper to remove the carbonized food. Wipe up the loosened pieces with a wet paper towel.
- Spray the oven again with the baking soda solution, wait another hour, and scrub to remove any remaining carbon or debris.
- In your spray bottle, mix a solution of half white vinegar and half water. Spray and wipe down your oven a final time. Use the plastic scrubber on your oven racks, rinse, and replace them in your clean oven. Leave the door open and allow the whole thing to air dry, about 30 minutes or so.
Additional Tips and Advice
If you’ve got a self-cleaning oven, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure you remove the racks and ventilate the area by opening a window or turning on a fan. Once the self-cleaning cycle is over, carefully wipe out your oven with a damp sponge and you’re done!
For Tough Messes
If you’ve had some sort of critical meltdown in your oven, it may be time to pull out the big guns and clean your oven the old-fashioned way. Commercial oven cleaner is caustic, so make sure you wear rubber gloves and a face mask, work in a well-ventilated area, and keep children and pets out of the kitchen. For best results, coat the oven in cleaner before you go to bed, and wipe it down in the morning.
I promise – if you can clean your stovetop, you can clean your oven, often without all the harsh chemicals that would have been required a generation ago.