How To Clean An Oven (Or Three!)

How to Clean an Oven

We’ve been staying in the kitchen for this latest bout of Spring Cleaning, and we might as well hit the ovens. We’ll have to eventually, right? We’re being dutiful, though. The most common types of ovens are self-cleaning, textured, and non-self-cleaning, and we’ve done research into how to get all of them in sparkling condition. Or close to it. We know they’ll never seem brand new–but that’s a good reminder to always check your manufacturer’s instructions for maintaining and using your oven. We’re good, but it’s not like we made the thing…   [photo via freedigitalphotos]

Self-Cleaning Ovens

Keep children and pets out of the kitchen while cleaning the oven and allow the area to ventilate by opening windows. Remove the oven racks and soak them in warm, soapy water. Next, turn on the oven’s self-cleaning mode. For most self-cleaning ovens the door will lock, but if not, be sure that your family and guests know not to open the oven during cleaning. This will last from two to six hours, during which the appliance heats inside up to 800 or 900 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the cleaning cycle is done, allow the oven to cool for at least two hours, then sweep out any ash and wipe the oven clean with a damp cloth. Do not use abrasives or cleaning solutions. Wipe the oven door clean and then scrub, rinse, dry, and replace the oven racks.

Textured Ovens

Textured ovens are lined with a layer of rough porcelain that is self-cleaning while the oven is in use, so sometimes these are referred to as continuous cleaning ovens. When cleaning a textured oven manually, be sure that is it cool and begin by removing the oven racks and soaking them in warm, soapy water. Wipe the inside of the oven with a damp cloth or sponge. If necessary, use a mixture of water and vinegar, but avoid using abrasive chemicals or scrubbers as they can damage the porcelain. Scrub, rinse, and dry the oven racks and replace them once the oven is clean.

Non-Self-Cleaning Ovens

Remove the oven racks and let them soak in warm, soapy water. Use a solution of baking soda and water to spray or apply to the oven’s interior, focusing on charred or stained areas. If your oven is particularly dirty, use more baking soda in the mixture until it is closer to the consistency of a paste, spreading it over the charred areas. Allow this solution or paste or soak in for at least an hour, then test to see if the charred parts have loosened. If they have not loosened, apply more of the solution and try again in an hour. Scrape the carbon off, sweep out any debris, then repeat as needed and wipe down the oven with a mixture of half water, half vinegar. Scrub, rinse, and dry the oven racks and replace them once the oven is clean.

The best way to make cleaning your oven easier is to clean any spills while they are still warm to prevent caking and charring. Do not spray baking soda into a hot oven and avoid getting it on the oven door as it can become trapped between the panes. Clean regularly to avoid the buildup of carbon, which can eventually taint food and become a fire hazard if enough accumulates.