Cleaning the oven is a chore that we tend to put off for a few weeks. And, naturally, because there are big gaps in between deep cleans, we end up with a dirt-filled appliance that’s usually riddled with grease and is a bit whiffy!
Not quite the environment we want to cook our joints of meat, pasta bakes, and cakes in!
But with a bit of elbow grease, suitable cleaning solutions, and patience, we’ll be able to transform our ovens!
So, how exactly do you clean an oven? Keep reading to find out how to get your oven glowing, grease-free, and smelling fresh again.
Tips to Consider When Cleaning an Oven
A few pointers to think about before you start cleaning your oven:
- The oven must be off when you clean it.
- Wear protective gear when cleaning an oven. You’ll probably be handling some chemicals, and you don’t want them touching your skin. Also, the grease and muck that comes out of an oven can be horrible, and you don’t want to handle it without gloves.
- Remember to cover your floor with old newspapers before you start cleaning. The paper will catch any debris/liquid that comes out of the oven cavity.
- Leave the oven to cool down before you clean it.
- Open the windows and kitchen door to allow air to circulate the room as you clean the oven.
- Ensure you’ve removed the racks and trays from your oven. And don’t leave food in the oven when you’re cleaning it. You can clean the trays and racks in the sink with some hot water and washing-up liquid.
- Keep your children and animals away from the cleaning zone.
- Prepare your tools in advance so you don’t end up with a stop-start kind of cleaning session. Getting everything ready will help to speed up the process for you.
- If using an off-the-shelf oven cleaner, stick to the instructions on the packaging.
- Look at your oven’s user manual before starting the cleaning work. You’ll be told what to/not to use to clean your appliance.
- Don’t get the fan or gas ignitor and burner wet or covered in cleaning solution.
- For filthy ovens, you may have to treat them twice.
- If your oven comes with a ‘self-clean’ button, use it!
- Don’t use harsh cleaning tools like scourers on glass surfaces as they will scratch them. Also, be careful that the tools you use don’t damage the inside of your oven.
- Test any solutions before you use them, just in case they react badly with the oven’s surfaces.
With all these tips in mind, let’s get on with cleaning the oven.
Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning an Oven
There are a few different ways you can clean an oven. So, look at the options below and choose one that resonates with you.
Over time, you can swap between the methods listed below depending on how dirty your oven is and how much time you have available to carry out the work!
Option 1: Use an off-the-shelf oven cleaner to clean your oven
One of the simplest ways of cleaning an oven is to buy an oven cleaner in a supermarket, DIY store, or online and use it to clean the oven.
Products designed for cleaning ovens are usually chemical-based, work relatively well, and are easy to use!
All you need to do is pick up a suitable oven cleaner, read the instructions on the item’s packaging and adhere to what you’ve been told.
Ideally, you should work alone when handling these types of cleaning solutions, ensure the room you’re working in has adequate ventilation, wear gloves, and use the dose stipulated by the manufacturer.
There are several oven cleaners on the market today. Here are a few examples for you to look into:
- Mr Muscle Oven Cleaner – See on Amazon.co.uk
- Nilco Oven Cleaner – See on Amazon.co.uk
- HG Oven, Grill & Barbecue Cleaner Spray – See on Amazon.co.uk
To find out which oven cleaner is the best and which is the easiest to use, see our guide to the best oven cleaners. Not only will you get an in-depth look at each product, but we’ll share some oven cleaning hacks with you too!
Option 2: Try using a homemade remedy to clean your oven
Homemade oven cleaners typically contain one or more of the following products:
- Bicarbonate of soda
- Lemon juice
- White vinegar
These are considered non-toxic and more natural options, in contrast to chemical-laden oven cleaners that are bought from shops.
To use the products listed above to clean your oven, follow these steps:
- Make sure the oven is off and is cold.
- Put newspaper down in front of the oven and pop some protective gear on.
- Clear out the oven – remove the racks, food, and trays.
- Use a dustpan and brush to brush the inside of the oven down. This will remove chunks of burnt food and debris.
- In a bowl, mix a cup of bicarbonate of soda with a cup of water. Create a paste but make sure it’s not too watery! (Adjust as need be)
- Spread the paste all over the oven. Use a cloth, a soft paintbrush, or a toothbrush to do this. Cover the walls, oven door glass, ceiling and floor, but don’t put the paste over the heating elements.
- Add generous amounts of paste to more grottier areas.
- Shut the oven door and leave the appliance alone for a few hours/overnight.
- Soak a cloth in a bowl of hot water and rub the damp cloth over every surface inside the oven. This may take some time to carry out, and make sure you don’t rush.
- Continuously soak the cloth in the hot water to rinse it during this process.
- For dirtier patches, you may need to use a toothbrush to dislodge the grime.
- Make sure all the bicarbonate of soda is removed from the oven.
- If the oven is clean, move on to Step 15. If the oven is still dirty, repeat the steps above.
- When it’s time to remove the bicarbonate of soda, spray some white vinegar or lemon juice onto it and allow it to foam. Then wipe the paste off the oven walls, door, floor and sides.
- When you’re ready, you can clean the outside of the oven with a warm cloth that’s been soaked in washing-up liquid. Tease the grime out from behind the buttons using a toothpick.
- Clean the racks and trays using washing-up liquid and warm water.
For extremely burnt-on food stains, try coating them in a lemon juice and salt mixture.
Just cover the area in the paste, wait a few minutes, and then wipe the residue away with a damp, warm cloth.
Tip: If the glass in your oven’s door has gone a murky brown colour, clean it! Cleaning brown oven door glass can be hard work, but if you break the job down into small sections, you’ll end up with sparking glass by the end! And the best part is, you don’t need to spend a fortune to get your glass back into shape either.
Option 3: Use the ‘self-clean’ feature on your oven
Not all ovens come with this feature, so skip this cleaning method if it doesn’t apply to you. But if you’re one of the lucky ones with a ‘self-clean’ button on their oven, it’s time you pressed it!
All you need to do is read your user manual to see how this feature works on your specific model, prepare your oven accordingly, and press the ‘self-clean’ button.
In general, you’ll need to clear everything out of the oven cavity (trays/racks/food), close the door, and then the oven will heat up to an extremely high temperature and will turn all the grime inside the machine into ash.
At the end of this ‘self-clean’ action, you must leave the oven to cool down. And once the oven is cold, you can remove the ash from the oven and give the exterior (door/handle/buttons) a wipe-down with a damp cloth.
When the ‘self-clean’ session is taking place, you can clean the oven’s racks and trays in the sink. You don’t have to use a specialised cleaning product because hot water and washing-up liquid tend to do the trick!
Option 4: Call a professional oven cleaner over to help you out
If you’ve tried all of the above, but you’re still not happy with how ‘clean’, or perhaps that should be ‘not clean’, your oven is, it might be time to call someone in from a professional oven cleaning company.
Professionals in this field often have access to different tools and products that can lift grime off an oven with ease, so if you’re struggling, they may be your best option. Of course, such a service rarely comes cheap, so do factor this in.
You should also consider the following points:
- Read up on the company you plan on using.
- Read reviews.
- Ask questions.
- Find out exactly what you’re paying for.
- Find out if you need to do anything in advance.
- Get lots of quotes before you commit to one oven cleaning company.
How Often Should You Clean an Oven?
There isn’t an exact answer to the question, ‘How often should I clean my oven?’ because there are many variables at play.
For example, how often you use your oven and whether or not you cook in a clean way or not will impact how dirty it gets, and how frequently it needs to be maintained.
As a general rule, you should clean noticeable grime and grease immediately (make sure the oven has cooled down), so the dirt doesn’t have time to solidify and get smelly. And you should aim to deep clean your oven every 12 weeks at least.
In the meantime, you need to keep the exterior of the appliance looking fresh, so just wipe it down weekly with a damp cloth and some soapy water.
You can, of course, increase this frequency if you drop food, like sauce, over the front of the oven.
And you need to wash the racks and trays regularly, but even more so if they get coated in food!
If you maintain your oven in between deep cleans, when it comes to carrying out a thorough clean, you’ll notice that the work doesn’t take you too long to carry out, and the job will be more pleasurable.
If you don’t bother maintaining your oven, when it comes to deep cleaning the appliance, you’ll have a lot of muck to handle, and you’ll probably be there for an age cleaning the machine!
This won’t be very pleasant for you. So, stay on top of the work!
How to Keep an Oven Clean
An oven is bound to get dirty and there’s no way of avoiding this from happening. There are, however, ways you can reduce the mess in your machine. Check out these tips:
- Pop foil over pans and trays in the oven so juice and fat don’t spit everywhere.
- Give your oven a quick wipe-down when you’re done using it to stop a build-up of dirt (make sure the appliance is cold).
- Use roasting bags.
- If your oven has a ‘self-clean’ feature, use it to maintain the machine – don’t waste the feature!
- Don’t allow liquids to harden in the oven. Remove them and clean them up properly.
- Wash dirty trays and racks, and don’t leave them sitting in the oven dripping in juice or sauce.
- Put lids on dishes when they’re in the oven.
Bethan has a passion for exploring, reading, cooking and gardening! When she’s not creating culinary delights for her family, she’s concocting potions to keep her house clean!