How to Clean a Dirty Oven

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No one likes to walk into a dirty kitchen. Whether you’re coming home after a long day at work or your about to entertain guests, the thought of cleaning a pile of dishes and wiping down counters are not on the top of your list of favorite things to do. However, the longer you put off these chores, the worse they will become. The same thing goes with keeping a neat oven. Knowing how to deep clean your oven, and doing so on a regular basis, will save you a lot of work and time in the long run.
In this article, Method 1 explains how to clean a self-cleaning oven, Method 2 explains how to clean an oven with vinegar and baking soda, and Method 3 describes what a store-bought oven cleaner is and how to use it.

Method 1 of 3: How to clean a self-cleaning oven

Materials Needed
  • Damp clean cloth
Step 1: Remove everything from the oven and the top of the stove. Everything means everything.
Not just the pots and pans you may store in there. You should also remove the interior oven racks. You can leave the stove burner covers on it, but remove anything that does not belong like a spoon rest or salt and pepper shakers.
Step 2: Quickly wipe interior of oven. Do not do a deep scrub. You only need to wipe off any grease and dirt that can easily be removed. The oven will do the rest.
Step 3: Turn the oven to self-cleaning setting. You will either have to manually set the lock before it will turn on or newer models will do it for you.
After the lock sets so no one can open the oven door until it is done cleaning. The oven will heat to a temperature of up to 1000 degrees. It will not unlock until it has completely cooled down. Heat up and cool down takes about four hours.
Don’t panic if you see vapors or smoke from the oven as the heat is burning any debris into ashes. Don’t leave the house, because even though the oven is insulated, there is always a chance for fire.
Step 4: Wipe away any remaining ashes. When you can open the oven door after it has cooled down, you may find a small amount of ashes.
Simply take a clean, damp cloth and wipe the ashes off the bottom of the oven. That’s it - all done!

Method 2 of 3: Cleaning with vinegar and baking soda

Materials Needed
  • Baking soda
  • Damp clean sponge
  • Spray bottle
  • White vinegar
Step 1: Remove interior baking racks. You will have to clean the racks separately, if they need it.
You are only removing the racks at this point to get them out of your way.
Step 1: Sprinkle baking soda in oven. You want to cover the bottom of the oven.
You want to make sure the baking soda covers most of the bottom of the oven, but it does not have to be completely covered. You can sprinkle it on the sides as well, but if it does not want to stick, you do not have to worry about it.
Step 2: Fill spray bottle with white vinegar. Spray areas of oven covered in baking soda.
You want to spray just enough vinegar to saturate the baking soda, but you do not want a puddle to form. When the baking soda starts to bubble, close the oven door and let sit for at least four hours. You can leave it overnight if you want.
Step 3: Wipe away leftover residue. With the damp sponge, wipe away any leftover residue.
If there are any resistant areas where there is remaining grime, use some elbow grease to scrub off. After you wipe everything down, you’re done.

Method 3 of 3: Cleaning with store-bought oven cleaner

Step 1: Read the label and directions carefully. Store-bought oven cleaners can only be used on specific types of ovens and several precautions must be used. They are made up of highly concentrated and potentially toxic materials.
Because store-bought oven cleaners vary widely, it is best to read the labels of each brand carefully to see if it can be used to deep clean your type of oven. There is not “one size fits all” directions for all brands and all ovens. While store bought cleaners can be very effective, you must read the directions thoroughly and take safety precautions like wearing gloves and protecting your skin and eyes.
Ideally, if you can clean up spills and mishaps quickly, your oven will be easier to deep clean when the time comes. It also helps to keep a regular deep cleaning schedule. Some people do it twice a year, such as spring and fall. Others do it once a quarter or only once a year. A lot depends on how much you use your oven. No matter how often you decide to deep clean your oven, it is nice to know you can use different methods like the self-cleaning setting, a vinegar and baking soda mixture, or a store-bought oven cleaner.