Ovens can get pretty dirty, thanks to all the spills, crumbs and other debris left behind every time you cook. Combine those tough kitchen messes with an oven’s high temps, and you have the perfect recipe for hardened, caked-on gunk that can be a challenge to remove — making the question of how to clean an oven a headache that most of us try to avoid. So we asked experts how to clean an oven effectively and easily. The good news? You don’t need any pricey cleaning products. In fact, everything you need may already be in your kitchen cupboards. You can even create a homemade oven cleaner with Dawn dish soap and other household items. Keep scrolling for pro secrets to a sparkling oven — in no time!
Using a homemade oven cleaner made with Dawn
Dawn dish soap is great for cutting through grease and grime on your dishes, and it can be a helpful tool when it comes to getting your oven sparkling, too.
The best DIY way to clean the oven
Fill two pans with a gallon of water, 1/2 cup of white vinegar and a few drops of dish soap and bring to a boil on a back burner, suggests Mary Findley (GoClean. com), author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Green Cleaning. Place the pans on the top and bottom racks of your oven. Turn the oven to 350°F and let it steam the inside of the oven for 30 minutes. This method will soften all the gunk in your oven so you can easily wipe the oven clean after it’s cooled down. (Click through to discover more brilliant uses for dish soap).
The best DIY way to clean the oven racks
Dawn dish soap can remove caked-on grime from oven racks too. “Take the oven racks out of your oven and place them in hot soapy water for two hours,” recommends Mallory Micetich, home care expert at Angi. “Then scrub them, rinse them clean and wipe them with a dry cloth. Once they’re fully dry, you can return them to the oven.” The soap’s softening properties break down grime so it’s easier to remove. (Tip: For really stubborn bits, sprinkle sea salt on an old toothbrush and use it to scrub them. This makes the brush more abrasive and helps you get into hard-to-clean spots.)
As an alternative, you can place your oven’s racks in a large clean trash bag with 1/2 quart of ammonia. Tip: Do this outside, or in a well-ventilated room with plenty of open windows and even a fan and wear a mask to protect yourself from ammonia’s harsh fumes. Seal the bag and let sit overnight. In the morning, rinse the racks thoroughly and replace.
Other homemade oven cleaners that work well
No Dawn dish soap on hand? No problem! Try these easy DIY cleaners:
“Mix baking soda and water until it becomes a thick paste,” advises Micetich. “Spread the paste all over the inside of your oven and let it sit for at least 12 hours (this is a great project to do at night so the paste can work while you sleep!). “Then, spray the interior of the oven with vinegar and wipe away the vinegar and baking soda with a damp cloth or sponge.” Letting the baking soda sit allows it time to break down the grime, and the fizzy reaction when it mixes the vinegar will lift food residue even further. Once you’ve wiped away the baking soda and vinegar, assess the inside of your oven. “If there are any stubborn spots, scrape them away with a razor blade,” she adds.
You can also use baking soda to clean the oven door. Just add a little bit of water to 1/4 cup of baking soda and mix to form a thick paste. Then, open the door and use a sponge to spread the paste across the inside glass. Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes, then wipe it off with a damp sponge. Finish by buffing with a paper towel and voila! Your oven door glass will be good as new.
Because lemons and other citrus oils work great on grease, all you need for this trick is two lemons, a little bit of water, a baking dish and a scouring pad, like Scotch-Brite’s Heavy Duty Scouring Pads (Buy on Amazon, $5.58).
“Simply fill a casserole dish halfway with water, add two halved and squeezed lemons, including the peels, then ‘bake’ for an hour at 300°F,” recommends cleaning expert Melissa Maker of CleanMySpace.com. Steam from the water loosens dirt while the lemon oils act as a degreaser, so grime quickly wipes away once the oven has cooled a bit. Note that the oven will smoke during this process. Just be cautious and turn on the oven fan and open a window.
How do I clean an oven with the self-cleaning cycle?
Experts advise against using the self-cleaning cycle, which stresses the oven by forcing temperatures to climb up to temperatures as high as 800°F, leading to device failure and wasted energy. The homemade cleaners above are your best bet!
Can you clean an oven with bleach?
Yes, but experts advise against it. The general purpose for using bleach is either to disinfect (such as when killing bacteria or mold) or to remove color or boost the cleaning efficiency of certain laundry detergents. What’s more, household bleach (sodium hydroxide) is not considered corrosive or toxic, even if ingested, but bleach exposure can cause irritation in the eyes, mouth, lungs and on skin. So when you’re cleaning an oven, you’re better off using a solution that’s specifically designed to cut through grease and hardened foods, such as a commercial oven cleaner or the DIY mixtures described above.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.
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