Ways to Clean the Oven

You may think that cleaning your oven is a mundane task that takes time and costs money; however, it can be done quickly and at a low cost if you do it right! By considering the different ways to clean the oven, the benefits, and how little and often can really make a difference, then you will be on track to have a sparkling clean oven in no time.

Introduction

You may think that cleaning your oven is a mundane task that takes time and costs money; however, it can be done quickly and at a low cost if you do it right! By considering the different ways to clean the oven, the benefits, and how little and often can really make a difference, then you will be on track to have a sparkling clean oven in no time. 

Here we are going to not only discuss the ways to clean the oven but also stress why you should, how often it needs to be cleaned, the materials you may need and tips on keeping it clean. Cleaning your oven does not have to be the big task that it is built up to be as regular cleaning really does have an impact (and means the job is done quicker!). 

Keep reading for ways to clean the oven and much more!

How Often Should I Clean My Oven?

There are always signs to look for that show you the oven needs a good clean. How often it should be cleaned does depend on the use of the oven as it goes without saying that an oven that is extensively used will develop grime quicker than an oven that is used less. 

The first sign is arguably the most noticeable one, the general appearance of the oven. This means the appearance of the oven door, the inside, and the racks are an indication of whether the oven needs to be cleaned or not. 

When the door of the oven is no longer a see-through glass but is coated in grease and grime, creating a dark layer on the inside of the oven then you may want to think about giving it a good scrub. 

If there is burnt crusts and residue collecting at the bottom on the oven when you are looking inside of it then this is another sign that the oven needs to be cleaned. This residue will most likely be burnt and may have been there for a while, meaning it may need a little more elbow grease, but your oven will be much better off for it. 

Even if you use baking trays, the oven racks do tend to get dirty over time. They can become stained with residue from overflowing food, or from any splatters while cooking. The racks will most likely need to be cleaned less than every other aspect of the oven as they are exposed to less grime.  

So, in terms of the appearance of the oven, how often you should clean it does depend on what you think. If you notice that your oven is starting to look dirty, then give it a good clean. There are no set rules on exactly when you should clean your oven. 

The second sign that you need to clean your oven is the smell. A clean oven will not have a smell to it when you open the door (when there is no food cooking in it, of course!), or when you turn the heat on. If you notice your oven emitting an odour, then it is probably time to give it a clean.

Smells coming from the oven are a sign that there is food or grease lingering in there. This goes along with the appearance of the oven as when you can see anything at the bottom then it will most likely be creating a smell when the oven is turned on. 

You want to be sure that the only scent coming from your oven is the delicious smell of the food you are cooking, not old grease and grime from past meals! If you have noticed an odour coming from your oven, then it is a sign to clean.

The final sign that your oven needs a clean is the appearance of smoke. If you are part way through cooking, go to check your food by opening the oven and are met with a cloud of smoke hitting you in the face or fogging up your glasses then this is definitely a sign that your oven needs a scrub. 

The smoke is another sign of a build up of food and grease in the oven as a clean oven does not fill the room with smoke each time the door is opened. Instead of having to waft the fire alarm with a tea towel then a good way to get rid of the smoke is by cleaning your oven. 

As mentioned, how often the oven is used does depend on how often you will want to clean it. To prevent all the signs that the oven is in desperate need for a clean that are above, the general rule is that ovens that are frequently used should be cleaned every three months. 

By frequently used we mean avid chefs or bakers that relies on their ovens. Not only does cleaning it prevent the problems mentioned above, but also will improve the quality of the food that you are making, so it is important to clean it often.

For ovens that are used less, of course look out for the warning signs, but it may only be necessary to do a good clean every 6 months or so. Again, it does depend on what you think but generally, every 6 months should prevent a build up of grime and grease.

Why Should I Clean My Oven?

In addition to preventing the problems that we have already discussed above, there are other reasons as to why it is important to clean your oven. It may be a more of an unpleasant task, depending on the last time it was cleaned, but there are benefits to regularly cleaning your oven. 

Cleaning your oven prevents the oven from looking dirty which improves the overall look of your kitchen and means that you will be happier cooking food in there. It also prevents the odours that emerge from the burnt food residue which are usually unpleasant and stops the room from filling with smoke when you open the oven door. 

In terms of hygiene, a clean oven will cook more hygienic food that also tastes better. Taking away the old grime and grease that could find its way to your fresh food is much more hygienic than leaving it all to be cooked together. It could be argued that the high temperatures would remove any issues, however a dirty oven is not the best environment to prepare food in. 

An unclean oven results in poor performance of the oven itself. It is important to keep the oven in working order and cleaning it prevents damages to the filters as they can become clogged, therefore resulting in a poor performance. There can also be temperature issues with unclean ovens as the grime build-up will affect the temperature that food cooks at. 

To prevent all of these from occurring, it is important to regularly clean your oven, therefore saving yourself from more hassle later when the oven is full of grease and grime. 

What About Self-Cleaning Ovens?

The promise of a self-cleaning oven can make it sound like the problem is solved. Easy. Just turn on your self-clean function and there you go! Unfortunately, this is a slight exaggeration. There is still work to be done by you when you have a self-cleaning oven.

They work by turning the oven up to an extremely high temperature to help melt and remove and dirt and grime. This saves you time as the food residue will burn to ash, meaning all you need to do is sweep up whatever is left rather than scrubbing the oven using elbow grease and chemicals. 

There are quite a few negatives to a self-cleaning oven that are important to know so you can make the best decision for you. For the self-cleaning function to work, this requires a large amount of energy which can cost you money and is not the best for the environment.

Due to the large amount of energy and high temperature, the oven can give off a strong burnt smell, removing the grime but emitting fumes that can be toxic and can also cause dangerous fires. 

Self-cleaning ovens also take a while to complete a cycle (cycles range from 2-6 hours) as they have to reach the high temperature. Then it is, of course, not safe to remove any debris while the oven is still hot, meaning you must wait until it is cooled down to finish the job. As it takes a while, it may just be quicker to clean the oven yourself rather than leaving it to the self-clean function. 

It is up to you to weigh up the pros and cons to a self-cleaning oven. The best time to use a self-cleaning oven is when there are only small amounts of grime in the oven due to the possibility of fires and fumes. Also keep in mind that you will also have to finish the job, the oven does not fully clean itself. 

What Materials and Equipment Will You Need?

  • A quality cleaner

There are a few options for cleaning products depending on which method you would like to use to clean your oven (different methods are below in the following section). 

Store-bought cleaners are the easiest type of product to use as there are so many to choose from that are made specifically for oven cleaning and therefore are highly effective. Saying this, however, store-bought cleaners tend to have harsh chemicals in them to remove the grease and grime. This includes include ethylene glycol, ethers, methylene chloride, lye (sodium and potassium hydroxide), petroleum distillates and pine oil which may not be recognisable to you but that just goes to show that the chemicals can be dangerous. If you do not want to use these harsh chemicals, then there are other options for ways to clean the oven. The next cleaner option (and one of the ways to clean the oven) is a mixture of baking soda, water, and vinegar. This is more of a DIY cleaner that can be poured into a spray bottle that is less harsh than store-brought cleaners. When this solution is left over nightit proves to be an effective cleaner that is something that you can make using items found in the house. 

The final cleaner option is a mixture of lemons and water. This is another DIY option that if left to set for a couple hours is an effective cleaner. This cleaner option is a good choice for if you want to clean an oven that is not overly dirty, but you want to get rid of some grease and grime. The mix of lemon and water will not be effective with an overly dirty oven as it is not strong enough to break through the grease but will work for mildly dirty ovens. 

  • Rubber cleaning gloves

It is important to make sure that your gloves are rubber and not disposable. This is because you will want a heavy-duty barrier between you and the cleaners (especially if you are going with a store-bought cleaner) to protect your skin from irritation. If your oven is particularly dirty then you will need to use a bit of force and elbow grease to get the job done, meaning the protection between you and the oven needs to be strong. 

  • Old newspapers, paper towels or bin bags 

These are what you will need to lie on the floor underneath your oven. It will protect your floor from any chemicals and drips that may occur. You may have a tiled floor that can be easily cleaned, but by protecting it with something it will save you time from cleaning that as well later. You can also use these items to place the racks on so that you are protecting the floor and can have a decent space to clean them well. 

  • Damp cloth/rags

Once your cleaner has been applied and left to set, you will need a damp cloth or rag to remove the cleaner and grime from the oven. Making sure it is damp will help to remove the solution easier, leaving small amounts of the solution left. Going over it a few times will leave the oven looking sparkling clean and you can then go over it with a dry cloth or rag to get any of the moisture left.

  • Protective safety goggles

This is more of an optional piece of equipment as it is up to you if you need the goggles or not. When using harsh chemicals, it is better to be safe but if when you are cleaning you are careful, you should not get any in your eyes.

Ways to Clean the Oven 

There are different ways to clean the oven based on which cleaner you have decided to use. Here we will be doing a step-by-step for the different methods so that you can decide which method will be best for you based on how dirty your oven is, how much time you have and which cleaner you have. 

Store-Bought Cleaners

  1. Remove everything from your oven including the racks, any extra trays e.c.t. so that there is a bare oven to be cleaned. 
  2. Lay out your newspapers, paper towels or bin bags on the floor underneath the oven to protect your floor and catch any drips and Put on your rubber gloves (and safety goggles in necessary).
  3. Spray the cleaner around the inside of the oven, making sure that you get the bottom, sides, corners and do not forget the oven door. Be careful not to spray onto any heating elements or the gap where gas comes through. Then close the door to leave the spray to sit for the time listed on the product container (will most likely be 20-30 mins depending on the cleaner). 
  4. While you are waiting for the cleaner to set, take your oven racks either outside or place them on another bin bag/newspaper to give them a clean with a damp cloth/rag and the cleaning solution. 
  5. After the correct amount of time, open the oven again and go over the surfaces with a damp cloth/rag. There may be some areas that need a good scrub with some elbow grease but as the solution has been set, the grime and grease should come off. Be sure to get in all the areas that you have sprayed to remove everything possible from the oven. If there is some moisture left, you can go over it with a dry cloth so that when you have finished it will be sparkling clean. 
  6. Place the racks back in the oven and there you go! An oven that you can see right though, does not emit an odour (only delicious smells), and does not blow smoke in your face when you open the door. 

Baking Soda, Water and Vinegar

  1. Remove everything from your oven including the racks, any extra trays e.c.t. so that there is a bare oven to be cleaned. 
  2. Lay out your newspapers, paper towels or bin bags on the floor underneath the oven to protect your floor and catch any drips and Put on your rubber gloves (and safety goggles in necessary).
  3. In a bowl, mix ½ a cup of baking soda (around 65 grams) with 2 to 3 tablespoons of water. You may need to tweak the ratio but the result you want is a spreadable paste. If you think that this will not be enough then you can add more or less depending on the size of your oven. 
  4. Put on your rubber gloves and use your fingers to rub the paste around the oven making sure that you get the bottom, sides, corners and do not forget the oven door. Be careful not to put the paste onto any heating elements or the gap where gas comes through. Then close the door to leave the paste to sit for 10-12 hours, or overnight. 
  5. To clean your racks, place them in the sink (or bathtub or bowl outside if you have extra large racks). Sprinkle some baking soda over the racks and then pour vinegar over the top. This will create a foam that will eventually stop. When it does stop, plug your sink or bathtub, and fill it with hot water until the racks are fully submerged. This will also need to sit for 10-12 hours, or overnight. 
  6. After the 10-12 hours, put your gloves on again, open the oven again and go over the surfaces with a damp cloth/rag. There may be some areas that need a good scrub with some elbow grease but as the solution has been set, the grime and grease should come off. Be sure to get in all the areas that you put the paste to remove everything possible from the oven. If there is some moisture left, you can go over it with a dry cloth so that when you have finished it will be sparkling clean. 
  1. Remove the racks from the water and scrub them with a damp cloth/rag unless all the grease and grime are gone, and the rack looks clean. 
  2. Dry the racks, place them back in the oven and you are all done! Leaving you with a beautifully clean oven. 

Lemons

  1. Fill an oven-proof mixing bowl with water and place 2 lemons cut in half in the bowl and heat the oven to 250 degrees.
  2. When the oven is heated, place the bowl onto one of the racks and leave for an hour. 
  3. After the hour is up, turn it off, open the door and let it cool slightly to be safe. 
  4. When oven is still warm but not too hot that it hurts to touch the inside, place your rubber gloves on and go over the oven with a damp cloth/rag. Make sure to get in all areas of the oven to remove any hidden grime and grease. 
  5. Go over the areas with a dry cloth/rag to remove any moisture and you are done!

There you have it, the different ways to clean the oven using different cleaners. To avoid a big, deep clean it is a good idea to keep up with regular oven cleaning. Now we have gone through the different ways to clean the oven, now we are going to give you some tips on how to keep it clean.

Tips to Keep the Oven Clean

It is much easier to clean your oven when you keep on top of it. This is because when you do regular, little cleans the oven stays healthy and in working order and avoids a big clean that takes time and means that your oven is out of use for up to 12 hours. 

Now we know the ways to clean the oven, we should look at how to keep it that way. 

  • Liners

You can purchase oven liners that are slotted into the bottom of the oven, protecting it from any dripping or spilling from the food above it. With oven liners, the bottom of the oven is guaranteed to stay clean and when the build up is too much, you can simply clean it or replace it with another. 

  • Put a lid on it

Cover up any dishes with an oven-proof lid to protect the inside and the door from any spitting while cooking. This added feature will even protect the liners from getting dirty so why not just pop a lid on your food? 

If the dish specifically requires no lid, then you can stop overflowing by making sure that your trays or bowls are not too full as filling up a dish right to the top is practically asking for trouble!

  • Baking trays

Another way to prevent spilling is by putting and dishes on a baking tray instead of putting it straight into the oven. This means that any spills are caught and can be washed away after the meal is cooked. 

  • Little and often

Giving the oven a once over with a bit of spray and a damp cloth or rang each week can make a drastic difference in how often you need to deep clean your oven. Doing little and often means that your oven will never get so dirty that you will need to dedicate hours to cleaning it as adding it to your kitchen cleaning list will make all the difference. 

Summary

To summarise, cleaning your oven does not have to be the tedious task that you may have in your mind. By being prepared with the right materials and knowing the different ways to clean the oven, you can make sure that it is sparkling clean.

Not only do the different ways to clean the oven all result in an oven that looks clean, but also comes with the other benefits too such as preventing odours, improving the food quality and stopping fumes from being released into your home. 

Now you know the ways to clean the oven and the benefits that go with it you can make sure that you and your family are eating food prepared in the best oven possible!

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