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After enjoying a bountiful Sunday Roast, a lot of us are faced with a chore that only a few of us look forward to: cleaning the oven. Whether you dislike the self-cleaning feature of ovens because it doesn’t guarantee a sparkling clean result or hate using commercial oven cleaners due to its tendency to give off toxic fumes and burn the skin upon contact, you are not alone. Even the thought of cleaning it may seem like a weekend project rather than just a chore to check off your housework list, and we cannot blame you for that.

Do not fret. There is an easy and safer way. All you need to do is check your cupboard for two key ingredients; vinegar and baking soda. These two ingredients can give your oven a much needed deep clean and you don’t have to worry about harmful fumes, smoke and your skin integrity anymore. 

By adding a few kitchen tools and cleaning techniques, cleaning your oven doesn’t have to be an ordeal. In this blog, we will be sharing the importance of regularly cleaning your oven, how often you should be doing it and how you can get it done.

The Importance of Cleaning Your Oven

There is no elegant way of cleaning the oven: you have to get down and give a bit of elbow grease. Look for signs which indicate your cooking appliance is due for scrubbing. 

First, simply look at it. Does your oven look dirty on the outside or inside? Is the oven door full of grime or grease? Are there residues or crusts at the bottom? If the answer to any of these questions is a yes, you’re due for a light or deep clean. 

Second, take note of undesirable odors. Does it stink when you use the oven? If so, there could be deep-seated grime, grease, dirt, or even food particles on it. 

Third, does it smell like smoke whenever you use it? This means that grease and dirt has already accumulated. 

We don’t want to compromise the quality of the food that we eat. We want our food to be safe and free from aromas of deep-seated grease or dirt. That is why we should regularly clean our oven.

How frequently should you clean your oven?

This will depend on how frequently you use it. If you are an ardent baker who regularly depends on it, giving it a scrub every three months is a good rule of thumb to follow. If you rarely use it, scrubbing it a couple of times in a year is enough. 

However, if any of the three signs we mentioned earlier are present, cleaning it should not be put on hold.

Sometimes, we just don’t feel like doing any elbow grease. If your oven is lightly or moderately unclean, you can use the self-clean feature. Whenever you use this feature, the oven fires up to a heat of more than 500 degrees. The heat will dissolve the dirt, grime and grease inside your cooking appliance, however, if you have a considerable amount of buildup at the bottom, you may want to hold back on the self-clean button: it may cause your oven to emit smoke or potentially start a fire!

Check your oven to see if it’s safe to use the self-clean feature. Take out all the racks and clean them separately. The cleaning cycle often takes a few hours to complete and you should be at home to keep watch, just in case something goes amiss. 

When the cleaning cycle is complete, you will see white loose grains at the bottom of the oven. Wait for the oven to cool down before removing them.

To be safe, it is better to do the deep cleaning yourself using commercial oven cleaners or safe cleaning ingredients and common tools that you can easily find in your kitchen.

What are the materials you need to clean the oven?
  • Commercial or DIY oven cleaner. A quality oven cleaner bought from the store is a fast and easy option to combat oven stains, grime and grease however, it can burn your skin or even emit harmful fumes (fume-free options are available). If you want a safer option, you can make your own cleaner at home. You can combine baking soda and water and create a paste out of it. A half cup of baking soda and a few tablespoons of water will do the trick.
  • Heavy duty latex gloves. This is very important, especially if you will be using commercial oven cleaners. Do not use disposable gloves because they are too thin: they may not be able to provide a durable barrier against caustic substances.
  • Protective safety goggles. This will protect your eyes against splashes of caustic oven cleaner liquid.
  • Paper towels, newspapers or old clothes. Place these underneath the oven. If any substances would drip out while you’re cleaning, they will absorb it instead of making a mess out of your kitchen floor. 
  • Paintbrush. Although you can use your fingers to apply the DIY cleaner paste, using a paintbrush makes that task a lot easier and faster too!
  • Silicone or plastic spatula. This will help you remove dry particles of cleaner, dirt, grime, and grease.
  • Spray bottle. This will help you spray vinegar in hard to reach areas.
  • Damp cleaning cloths. This will remove dirt, grease and grime after the oven cleaner has been applied. You will need more if your oven is very grimy.
  • Scrubbing pad, microfibre sponge or pumice scouring stick. In case you need to scrub certain areas with tough stains, these will come in very handy. 
  • A large rubbish bag. It should be large enough to contain your oven racks.
How to Make Your Oven Sparkling Clean

First, you need to collect all your materials. Once you have everything that you need, start removing everything from the inside of your oven (thermometer, racks, drip trays, baking pans, skewers, etc.) and spread out your paper towels, newspapers or old clothes on the floor under your oven. 

Don on heavy duty latex gloves and protective safety goggles then start spraying the commercial oven cleaner inside the oven, making sure every corner, nook and cranny is covered with it. If you will be using the DIY oven cleaner, use your hands or a paintbrush to apply the paste all over. If your oven is an electric type, do not apply the cleaner on the heating elements. If your oven uses gas, do not apply the cleaner where the gas comes out. 

After making sure that every surface is coated, close the oven and let the cleaner sit according to the instructions printed on the package. If you are using the DIY oven cleaner, allow it to sit overnight.

While waiting for your cleaner to do its magic, spray your oven racks with commercial oven cleaner and put them inside the garbage bag. Tie the garbage bag close and let it sit according to the instructions indicated on the package. If you are using the DIY oven cleaner, allow it to sit overnight as well.

After the oven cleaner has been sitting in for the suitable amount of time, get your damp cleaning cloth and wipe off the cleaner from all surfaces. For tough stains, you may use a spatula, scrubbing pad, microfiber sponge or pumice scouring stick. After the initial wipe down, spray the inside of your oven with vinegar. This will cause any residual baking soda to foam up and loosen. Give it a final wipe down. Don’t forget to clean your oven window, door and knobs too. 

Take out your oven racks and rinse the cleaning solution off with soap and water. Use the abrasive tools to remove tough dirt. Allow the racks to dry before putting them back in the oven. 

You are basically good to go but if you want to keep your oven clean for the longest possible time, you can put nonstick oven sheets to prevent future grease and grime from sticking in your oven.

We understand that cleaning the oven is time consuming and you may not even have the time to do it. For an oven that shines, we recommend calling the folks at Oven & Carpet Bliss on 01793 323 521 or 07988 871 388. When it comes to cleaning ovens, they’ve seen it all and pretty much cleaned them too!