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How to Clean an Oven Quickly

This guide covers multiple oven-cleaning methods, including using baking soda and vinegar, lemon water, the self-cleaning option on your oven and store-bought oven cleaners.

Before You Begin

Why is it that cleaning the oven is one of the most dreaded weekend chores? The fact of the matter is that even the savviest scrubbers are often intimidated by the layers of baked-on grease and grime, putting "Clean the Oven" as the most-avoided chore on the to-do list. But you may be surprised to know that that layer of hardened oven filth isn't as hard as it looks, and if you've got the right tools in your cleaning kit, you can scrub it away relatively easily. Here's how to clean an oven quickly and thoroughly so the grime doesn't get out of control.
Cleaning oven in kitchen with yellow rubber gloves
Prepare for cleaning by donning your favorite rubber cleaning gloves. Before you begin, make sure your oven is turned off and remove any interior racks, partitions or accessories. Lay an old sheet, tablecloth or newspapers on the floor beneath the oven to protect it from cleaners. You'll need the cleaner of your choice, a scrubby sponge, a plastic scraper and a microfiber cloth. Do not use any hard-bristled brushes or steel wool on your oven or stovetop, as they could scrape the finish.
Tip: While you're cleaning the inside of the oven, you can soak the grates in warm water and liquid detergent in the sink or bathtub. When you're done, the grime will scrub off easily with a bristled cleaning brush.

The Best Methods for Cleaning an Oven

  • The Baking Soda Method—If you're looking for a natural method using household supplies you already have laying around the house, clean your oven using baking soda. Mix four parts baking soda and one part water until it forms a thick paste. Spread it on the dirtiest part of the oven and let it sit for a half hour. Use a vinegar-dipped sponge to scrub away the paste or scrape off any hard spots with a scraper or hard plastic spatula. To get rid of any residue and add some sparkle, spray and wipe the interior with vinegar.
    Baking soda with sponge and towel for effective and safe house cleaning
  • The Lemon Water Method—Lemons are some of the most underrated natural cleaners, gently but effectively serving as a natural bleach, an antiseptic and antibacterial agent in one. To use them to clean your oven, fill an oven-proof bowl (such as an oven-proof glass container or even a cast-iron Dutch oven) with warm water and two lemons, cut in half. Heat the oven to 250 degrees F and place the lemon bowl inside the oven. Let sit for an hour. After cooling, wipe all surfaces with a damp microfiber cloth. You may need to bust out your scrubby sponges to work at any caked-on grime.
  • The Self-Cleaning Method—If you selected a self-cleaning gas or electric range, you should take advantage of the self-clean feature on occasion. In essence, this feature uses high temperatures to burn off any leftovers from baking and cooking, even in those hard-to-reach areas you'd never get with your regular sponge and cleaner. These days, many ovens also feature steam cleaning to give the unit a deeper clean. You should reference the user manual on your oven to learn how to self-clean your specific model.
  • The Spray Cleaner Method—Store-bought cleaners will undoubtedly do the trick, but fair warning: They're often loaded with chemicals and carcinogens that can cause irritation, such as burning eyes and coughing. If you choose to wield these types of cleaners, we recommend wearing a face mask and safety glasses and doing your best not to inhale as you spray. To use, all you have to do is spray the inside of the oven—including the back, sides and door—and let sit for a half hour or so before using a damp cloth to wipe down all surfaces. Always thoroughly read the instructions on the packaging before use.
    Using a spray bottle with cleaning solution to clean an oven

How Often Should You Clean Your Oven?

Your kitchen appliances are the star of the show, and you want to keep them in tip-top shape. To do this, we recommend giving your oven a deep scrub-down once every two or three months, making sure to spot-clean and address any spills and messes on a weekly basis. Remember to always reference the user's manual on your specific oven, as it may have some special cleaning considerations or even self-clean features that will help simplify the job.

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