How to Clean an Oven Properly (5 Natural Methods)

Fred's Appliance
November 2, 2022
Oven Repair

Cleaning your oven is a household chore that is often neglected, which can lead to a build-up of grease and grime. Our simple guide will outline five natural ways to clean your oven without using any toxic or harsh chemicals. 

Before you get started, make sure you have the following supplies on hand: 

  • Sponges or soft cloths
  • Rubber gloves
  • Paintbrush
  • Plastic scraper
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon
  • Old towels or rags
  • Mild dish detergent
  • Scouring pad

1. Use the Self-Clean Function On Your Oven

The easiest way to clean your oven also happens to be one that uses no chemicals at all – in fact, combining the self-cleaning function with harsh oven cleaners is a big no-no! Many modern ovens have a self-clean feature, and it can be a big time saver. 

The process works by heating the oven to approximately 880 degrees Fahrenheit for 2-3 hours, depending on your oven. This high temperature causes all of the food and debris in the oven to be burnt to ash, which can then easily be wiped away with a moist towel. 

Safety precautions to note when using the self-clean function:

  • Always ensure that pets or children are kept out of the way when the self-clean cycle is running, as the outside of the oven can get very hot.
  • If your oven is particularly dirty, make sure the kitchen is well-ventilated when running this cycle, as it can be a little smoky. 
  • Ensure your oven has completely cooled down before you open it to wipe the ash away, to avoid burns. 
  • Make sure you remove any dish racks before beginning the self-clean cycle, as this can cause the racks to bend and warp. 

Keep in mind that self cleaning temperature has the potential to cause actual issues with the oven. We don’t recommend using high-temp self clean before a dinner event. Self clean your oven AFTER the event. Other self cleaning options that have lower temperature have little risk of damaging any electrical components. If you are not sure of what to do, reach out and we’ll try to help!

2. Use Baking Soda to Clean Your Oven

Baking soda is a natural alkaline that is perfect for removing grease from an oven. You can also be confident that you are not using any unpleasant chemicals that can affect your food. In order to clean your oven with baking soda:

  • Make a thick paste using ¾ of a cup of baking soda with ¼ of a cup of water. If your oven is large or particularly dirty, you may want to double this. 
  • You can add essential oils to this mixture if you want to. Tea-tree is a particularly good option as it is a natural degreaser. 
  • Remove the oven racks and place them aside (we will cover how to clean your oven racks later in the guide).
  • Spread the baking soda over the interior of your oven, ensuring you avoid getting it on the heating elements and avoiding the glass of the door. 
  • Leave the mixture overnight, placing an old towel or some rags around the bottom of the oven in case it drips when you open it the next day. 
  • After letting the paste sit overnight, remove it from the interior with a plastic scraper. You should find that the baked-on grime comes off easily. 
  • Once you have scraped away the majority of the baking soda paste, wipe away any last residue with a damp cloth or sponge. Your oven should now be perfectly clean!
  • If there are any stubborn spots that did not get removed during the first cleaning, you can repeat the process on the stubborn spots. One more application should be sufficient to remove the toughest of stains. 

3. Use Vinegar to Clean Your Oven Door

While baking soda is great to clean the inside of your oven, it can be too abrasive to use on the glass door of your oven. The best natural cleaner to use for this is a mixture of water and vinegar. Add a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar to a spray bottle, then spray it onto the inside and outside of the glass door. Wipe it off with a soft damp cloth, then wipe again with a dry cloth to ensure you leave no streaks.

4. Use Mild Detergent to Clean the Oven Racks

Harsh cleaners are particularly damaging to oven racks and can cause discoloration, so a mild cleaner is ideal. 

  • Place your oven racks in a container large enough to cover them with warm water – sometimes the best place to do this is the bathtub if you don’t have a sink large enough. 
  • Cover the racks with warm water and add a dash of mild dish detergent, then allow them to soak for a few hours. 
  • Use a scouring pad to clean the racks. 
  • If there is any stubborn grime, use the baking soda paste described earlier in our guide and spread it on any tough spots overnight. This can then be rinsed away.
  • The racks should be dried thoroughly before being replaced in the oven.

5. Steam Clean with Water and Lemon

If you don’t want to use baking soda to clean your oven, you can try steam cleaning it with water and lemon. Here’s how to do it:

  • Take a baking tray and fill it with an inch or so of water. Add the juice of one lemon. 
  • Place the tray into the center of your oven (you can leave the oven racks in this time).
  • Turn the oven on to a medium heat and leave it for about one hour. This will allow the steam from the tray to soften any stuck on grime. 
  • After the oven has cooled down, wipe the inside down with a sponge or cloth, then dry the interior with a towel or rag. Your oven should now be clean, and will also have a delightful lemony scent!
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