Whether you produce award-winning cakes and cookies or your baking difficulty level tops out at frozen pizza, your oven needs a thorough cleaning periodically. While cleaning the oven might not be your favorite task, it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you think. Determine whether you have a self-cleaning oven or a standard gas or electric model, and then follow these easy step-by-step instructions to clean your oven.
How to Use an Oven’s Self-Cleaning Cycle
If your oven has a self-cleaning cycle, you’re in luck. This process isn’t labor-intensive, but it does demand some preparation to ensure safety.
Step 1: Read the Owner’s Manual
Before you start the cleaning process, take the time to read through the owner’s manual for your self-cleaning oven. Follow any additional instructions or safety precautions before launching the cleaning cycle.
Step 2: Remove People and Pets From the Area
It’s important to understand that during the cleaning process, a self-cleaning oven will reach temperatures as high as 1,000 degrees and may release some fumes. An interior pyrolytic coating allows the oven to generate such extreme heat while reducing spills and food scraps to ash. It isn’t safe for most pets and some people to inhale the fumes that result, so declare the kitchen area off-limits during the cleaning cycle.
Step 3: Ventilate the Kitchen
Take extra steps to ensure your family’s health and safety. Turn on the kitchen ventilation fan or open a nearby window to push the self-cleaning fumes outdoors as quickly as possible.
Step 4: Remove Objects From the Oven
Since the oven gets so hot during the self-cleaning process, you’ll need to remove everything from inside and around the vicinity. Remove oven racks and baking stones from inside, and pull baking sheets out of the warming tray. Be sure to remove pots, pans, kettles, and any other items on top of the oven, too.
Step 5: Scrape Away Food Residue
If there are any large spills or excessive food residue inside the oven, use a kitchen implement to scrape them away. Take care not to scratch the fragile pyrolytic surface of the oven, though.
Step 6: Run the Self-Cleaning Cycle
Press your oven’s self-clean button to start the cycle. Don’t open or approach the oven during the cleaning process, which typically takes two to four hours.
Step 7: Wipe the Oven Down
After the self-cleaning cycle has finished and the oven has cooled completely, open the door. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the interior gently and remove any remaining ash.
Step 8: Replace the Oven Racks
If you need to clean the oven racks or door, follow the steps below. Otherwise, put the racks back in place and enjoy your clean oven.
How to Clean a Standard Gas or Electric Oven
Cleaning an electric or gas oven requires more elbow grease than using a self-cleaning cycle. You’ll still end up with a sparkling clean oven after following these steps, though.
What You’ll Need
Before you get started with this cleaning project, make sure you have all the necessities on hand. You’ll need the following supplies:
- Dishwashing Liquid
- Baking Soda
- Warm Water
- White Vinegar
- Clean Paintbrush
- Plastic Scraper
- Soft Dishcloths
- Scouring Pad
- Spray Bottle
- Rubber Gloves
Step 1: Remove Oven Racks
First, remove the racks and any other objects that you typically store in your oven. Set everything aside.
Step 2: Soak and Scrub Racks
Fill the kitchen sink with warm water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid, and let the oven racks soak. Let them sit for several hours to loosen any spills or food residue. Then put on a pair of rubber gloves and scrub the racks with a scouring pad to remove any remaining stains.
Step 3: Make a Natural Paste
Form a natural paste by mixing baking soda and warm water. The average oven needs a mixture of three-quarters of a cup of baking soda and a quarter cup of warm water, but large ovens may need a bigger batch.
Step 4: Apply the Paste
Use a clean paintbrush to apply the paste to the oven’s interior. Coat the sides, top, bottom, and back thoroughly, but take care not to apply paste to the door. If there are any major stains or spills in the oven, put on a pair of rubber gloves and use a dish towel to work the paste into those areas. Let the paste dry and harden overnight, or for about 12 hours.
Step 5: Remove the Paste
After the baking soda mixture has dried, use a plastic scraper or spatula to remove the paste. Put on a pair of rubber gloves and use a clean, damp dish towel to remove any stubborn areas.
Step 6: Spray Some Vinegar
Pour equal parts white vinegar and warm water into a spray bottle, and spritz the interior of the oven. It will react with any remaining paste mixture, allowing you to wipe it away easily. Ensure that no more baking soda remains in the oven.
Step 7: Clean the Oven Door
Lightly spray the oven door with the white vinegar and water mixture. Use a clean, dry dishcloth to clean the oven door and window. Take care not to spray the gasket, as this could effect the oven’s seal.
Step 8: Replace the Oven Racks
After thoroughly cleaning the oven’s interior and racks, put the racks, baking stone, and other accessories back in place. Your oven is ready for immediate use.
When you bake, spills and drips are bound to happen. Follow the right cleaning method for your oven, and you’ll easily make your kitchen sparkle again.