Cleaning your oven can help extend its life and prevent a burnt-on mess from leaving a bad smell in your oven, kitchen or food. Many ovens have a self-clean feature, but using the self-clean feature isn’t necessarily the most efficient or effective way to safely clean your oven. Furthermore, using abrasive cleaners, scouring pads, steel wool pads or gritty washcloths to clean your oven may damage stainless steel surfaces.
Commercial oven cleaners have harmful chemicals that can cause health problems. Many oven cleaners contain sodium hydroxide (lye), a corrosive chemical that can burn your eyes and skin. Aerosol spray oven cleaners can be easily inhaled into your lungs. So using these cleaners is not the proper way to safely clean your oven.
The good news is that you don’t need harsh, toxic chemicals to clean your oven. The right way to safely clean your oven is to use baking soda and vinegar.
Cleaning Inside Oven
Turn off all oven controls and unplug it. Be sure that the oven is completely cool.
Make a baking soda paste by mixing ½ cup of baking soda with 3 tablespoons of water.
Remove the oven racks and accessories. Use a non-abrasive paper or towel to get rid of any large particles of burnt-on food mess from the bottom of the oven.
Using a toothbrush, scrub the oven with the baking soda paste to get rid of the remaining burnt-on mess. Do not clean the heating element. Be sure to clean the oven door. The oven door on most ovens is removable for easy cleaning. Don’t soak the door or window in a lot of water. The water can seep inside and cause staining or discoloration. Clean the door with the baking soda paste. Don’t use any abrasive cleaning pads, powdered cleaners or steel wool that scratches glass and enamel. Let the baking soda paste sit for 30 minutes to two hours. In the meantime, clean your oven racks in a big tub. Put the racks on in the tub and cover them with hot water. Add ½ cup of dishwashing detergent and swirl the water around so it dissolves. Let the oven racks soak for at least four hours. Get rid of any remaining burnt-on mess by scrubbing with a toothbrush, non-abrasive scrub brush or sponge. Rinse and dry the racks before returning the clean oven racks to the oven.
Lightly splash vinegar over the baking soda paste in your oven and wipe it away with a non-abrasive paper towel or damp sponge.
Replace your clean oven racks.
Any remaining stains are the result of standard wear and tear and shouldn’t affect the life of your oven or cause a bad smell in the oven.
To make it easier to clean your oven next time:
Clean up food spills each time you use the oven. Food spills containing acids, such as tomato, may damage the finish on por
celain enamel surfaces, so be sure to clean up these and other spills as soon as your oven is completely cool.
Do not line the oven bottom, cove
r the entire oven rack or cover any slots, holes or passages in the bottom of your oven with any type of liner or aluminum foil. Doing so blocks airflow throughout the oven. Air must move freely in your oven to achieve the best cooking results. Aluminum foil linings may trap heat, causing a fire hazard in your oven. Using aluminum foil in your electric oven may result in a risk of electric shock.