how to get a clean ovenAs far as appliances goes, what takes more hits than your oven? Things bubble over, drip, and splash. Grease and baked-on food are everywhere and you can’t even remember when you last had a clean oven. When it finally gets to be too much and you’ve decided to clean it, where do you even start? Well, we know and we’re here to help. Our easy steps will help you keep your oven gleaming.

Self-cleaning Oven

This one is really easy, but not without its drawbacks (we’ll explain more in a second). Select the option for “self-clean.” The cycle time will be about 4 hours and after it’s finished, you’ll have to wipe out any ash or debris. That’s it! You should never use the self-cleaning function while you are not at home.

That sounds perfect, right? Well, occasionally the self-cleaning option can damage the oven. An oven self-cleans by running at an ultra-high temperature that burns off anything stuck to its walls and turning it into an easy-to-wipe-away ash. However, modern ovens often have hidden heating elements (elements that are not exposed and so can’t get dripped on—a design, somewhat ironically, meant to make cleaning easier). When the oven runs at such a high temperature, these enclosed heating elements have little or no ventilation and can burn out or damage control panels.

Many ovens have no problems running their self-cleaning cycle. Others will be fine running their self-clean cycle for only an hour or so. If you want to keep to the safety of scrubbing, we’ve outlined some more tips on how to get a clean oven below.

The Inside  

Remove the oven racks. Combine 1/2 cup baking soda with 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Spread the paste over the interior of your oven. Let the mixture sit overnight. Then wipe out in the morning.

Oven Racks

If you haven’t done so already, remove racks from oven. Fill your sink with hot water and place the oven racks in. Add a mild liquid dish soap to the water. Let racks soak for 1 hour then scrub any remaining gunk or stains off with a non-abrasive brush. Rinse, dry, and replace.

Oven Door 

Mix 1 cup of baking soda with 1/2 cup of warm water. If needed, add more baking soda until the mixture is thick. Wet a rag with warm water and scrub the door gently, removing any dirt or debris. Apply paste evenly and scrub into the door in a circular motion. Allow the paste to sit for 15 minutes. Rinse off using a soft wet cloth.

Keep a Clean Oven

Avoid frequent oven cleanings by using large enough pans to accommodate the food that is in them. Wipe away food spills or debris as soon as possible.

Gas Ovens

Whenever you’re cleaning a gas oven, it’s never a bad idea to turn out the pilot lights and make sure the main gas lines are shut off. Once that’s done, mix 2 tbsp Borax, 2 Tbsp dish soap, 1 1/4 cups ammonia,  and 1 1/2 cups hot water in a bowl. Apply to spills and let soak for 30 minutes. Scrub with nylon scrubber then wipe with a damp sponge.

Continuous-cleaning Ovens

A continuous-cleaning oven has an interior with a porous enamel finish. The enamel contains substances that help turn burnt-on food to ash at normal baking temperatures. Because the effectiveness of this technique depends on the enamel finish, you should treat it carefully and never use harsh abrasives or commercial oven cleaners to clean it.

A Clean Oven Isn’t Hard to Find…

There’s a whole world of different oven technologies out there, each with their own conveniences. It can be overwhelming to sort through the benefits and cleaning requirements of each. You can become an oven-cleaning aficionado…or you can just contact a local professional house cleaning service and get them to do the job for you.