Maintenance & Care \ Ovens \ How to Clean an Oven

How to Clean an Oven

Many people will only clean the dishes and wipe down the counters when cleaning the kitchen. But why not spend a bit more time and get your oven into pristine shape? Using a dirty oven may cause you to burn stuck-on leftovers and stains, smoke up the kitchen, and transfer terrible odours to an otherwise tasty meal.
Our guide will teach you how to clean an oven in a few simple steps and with a little preparation.

What You’ll Need

Before you knuckle down and start cleaning the oven, you’ll want to prepare accordingly. Depending on what parts of the oven you’re cleaning, you’ll require the following materials:

For Cleaning Oven Racks

  • Water
  • Dish soap or detergent
  • Old rag or dishcloth
  • Stiff bristled brush
  • Towels

For Cleaning the Inside of an Oven and Doors

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Vinegar or lemon juice
  • Spatula and a small bowl
  • Spray bottle
  • Plastic scraper
  • Old rag or dishcloth
  • Rough sponge or brush
  • Gloves
  • Newspapers or old towels

For Cleaning the Outside and Cooktop

  • Rag or dishcloth
  • White vinegar, glass cleaner, or stainless steel cleaner (depending on finish of appliance)
  • Spray bottle
Before you start cleaning the inside of the oven, you’ll want to remove everything that can be removed, such as the rack.

How to Clean Oven Racks

Often, the best way to clean the oven racks is to do it separately from the oven. Therefore, for our process, you’ll need to remove them. There are very few shortcuts when cleaning grime from the racks, but the steps are straightforward. Here’s what you need to do:
  1. Use old towels to coat the inside of your sink or bathtub, depending on which one can fit your oven racks.
  2. Put the racks in the basin, then pour in enough hot water to cover the racks and half a cup of dish soap (or if you’re using laundry detergent, up the dosage to a full cup).
  3. Let the racks soak for at least a few hours, but preferably overnight if they haven’t been cleaned in a while and have a lot of grime. This leaves you plenty of time to do other chores and clean the rest of the oven.
  4. Once the racks have finished soaking, grab a rough brush or rag and scrub the grime away.
  5. Rinse the racks.
  6. You need to let the racks dry completely before you put them back in the oven.

How to Clean the Inside of an Oven

Cleaning the inside of the oven can be one of the more laborious kitchen chores. There are a few options to choose from. Always check your Use and Care Guide for model-specific instructions before you begin.
Some ovens have a self-cleaning mode to help you remove moderate grime. It works by locking the oven and heating it to a temperature well above what it usually bakes at (typically around 800-900°F or 426-482°C). This helps loosen up grime. If there’s a lot of grime collected at the bottom, the self-cleaning option can backfire and smoke up the oven, which just exacerbates the problem. Using this option is straightforward:
  1. Remove racks and other loose items from the oven.
  2. Use a damp cloth to remove as much loose dirt and grime from the surfaces as possible.
  3. Clean the glass doors before using the self-cleaning mode, as it may result in dark streaks that will require more work otherwise.
  4. Turn on the self-cleaning mode. Once the cycle is set, the door will lock and you will not be able to use the oven unless you cancel the cycle. You can increase the duration of the time if more cleaning is needed after.
  5. Self-cleaning cycles can last a few hours.
  6. Once the oven cools down, the doors will unlock.
  7. Wipe out the oven cavity with a damp cloth to remove any of the ash left behind at the bottom of the cavity.
The second option is to use good old baking soda and vinegar to scrub away at the grime. It’ll take the most work and preparation. Follow these steps:
  1. Pour baking soda into a small bowl and add some water. For every four parts of soda, you’ll need one part of water (i.e., two cups of soda and ½ a cup of water).
  2. Mix thoroughly with a spatula until you get a dense paste.
  3. Spread the paste over the inside of the oven with the spatula. You can also use this paste on the inside of the oven doors.
  4. Let the paste sit for a minimum of 20 minutes.
  5. Use a bristle, sponge, or any kind of a scraping tool to clean the loosened grime off. Dip the sponge in vinegar to help the cleaning process. If it still isn’t coming off, use more vinegar and a plastic scraper.
  6. Once you’ve got the dirtiest parts off, spray some vinegar or lemon juice, and clean up the rest with a dishcloth.
  7. Wipe the oven down to remove any residue, and you’re done!

Getting Rid of Oven Odours

One of the most difficult problems with a dirty oven is the smell. While cleaning the oven should generally remove the odour as well, fish smells can be a bit more challenging. For this, you’ll need some vanilla, vinegar, or lemons, and a large dish. Here’s what to do:
  1. Preheat the oven on a lower heat.
  2. Fill a large, oven-safe bowl with about an inch of water. Add your choice of vanilla, lemon juice, or vinegar into the bowl.
  3. Put the dish in the oven for about an hour, and allow water to evaporate in the oven.
  4. If too much water evaporates, add more water as needed. If done properly at a low temperature, the need for this should be limited.
  5. Remove the dish when the odour is gone.

Cleaning the Outside of an Oven

Cleaning the outside of the oven is the most straightforward task. Depending on what type of oven you have, you’ll need a cleaning solution of a mild liquid cleaner or stainless steel cleaner for the outer parts and a glass cleaner for the doors. Alternatively, you can use some vinegar. Simply spray the solution onto the surface, wait for a few minutes (or however long the instructions on the bottle suggest) and clean with a damp cloth. Always check and follow your appliance use and care instructions before beginning, as it should be your primary source of information. If you want more advice on cleaning the outside of the oven, check out our “How to Clean a Glass Electric Stove” guide.

If you have a porcelain enamel surface, clean up any acidic spills (like tomato juice and vinegar) to avoid damaging the coating, and use a mild liquid cleaner or some dish soap instead.

How to Clean Your Stovetop

  1. Spray some vinegar on the stovetop and let it sit for a bit to loosen the grime. Alternatively, you can use a dedicated cooktop cleaner.
  2. Wipe the top down with a wet cloth. Use a soft scrubber or a brush to clear away the grime if needed.
  3. Rinse with a wet cloth to remove any residue from the cleaner.

If you don’t have a glass surface cooktop, check out our “How to Clean Stove Burners and Grates” guide.

Clean Oven for Quality Meals

Now that your oven is shiny and clean, you can be sure that the food you prepare will be the best it can be.
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