Oven Cleaning. I am sure that just the utter of those words will fill your body with dread. Cleaning the oven is one of the most despised cleaning tasks in the home. This is just one of those jobs that can be best described as grim, greasy, and gruesome. If you have decided to undertake this task yourself then this oven cleaning guide should help you to achieve results that are almost as good as the professionals.
- How often should I clean my oven?
- What are the benefits of having a clean oven?
- Oven Cleaning Guide
- Different Types of Ovens
- Top Oven Cleaning Tips
Within our oven cleaning tips we will look at some of the different types of ovens and any specific requirements that the different variants may have, and the best ways that you can clean them.
Whether your oven has stopped performing as well as it used to, burnt on food is affecting the taste of your food, you are moving out of a rented property or it’s just got to the stage of needing more than a quick wiping over then it’s definitely the time to get your gloves on, roll your sleeves up and get that oven cleaned.
You will be amazed by the results and the costs are certainly cheaper than buying a new oven, and your existing one will have been restored to an almost new condition. With our oven cleaning tips you’ll be astounded at how quick and easy cleaning your oven can be.
How Often Should I Clean my Oven?
An often overlooked fact is that many of us are at risk of a house fire by continuing to use our cooking appliances when they haven’t been cleaned. The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics have revealed that cooking appliances like ovens are a leading cause of house fires, responsible for an astonishing one in five blazes in homes last year. Despite this, most of us are cleaning our ovens just twice a year –potentially putting our cherished homes at risk.
Over time grease and food will stick to all of the surfaces of your oven and if this is left to build up will burn every time the oven is used.
Continuing to cook with a uncleaned oven will create carbon based fumes and will also affect the taste of your food. Excessive smoke during cooking is a definite sign that your oven could be a potential fire hazard as well as being harmful if inhaled. If the worst should happen and your oven does catch fire then turn it off immediately, close the doors to starve it of oxygen and let it cool down. Do not put water on the flames as this could cause any flaming oil or fat to splatter and spread the fire further, obviously if this fails to control the fire then contact the emergency services
Most households neglect their ovens, in fact 1 in 4 ovens in the UK are not working correctly due to built-up grease, grime and carbon deposits. This could mean that your food cooks unevenly and your temperature gauges may be displaying improper readings potentially resulting in under-cooked food and possible health risks. An oven should be thoroughly cleaned roughly every 6 months, with a bare minimum of once a year.
What are the Benefits of Having a Clean Oven?
One of the obvious key benefits of cleaning your oven, and using some of these oven cleaning tips is that you have a clean and fresh oven to use but there are several additional things that you may not have considered.
Although cleaning your oven can be quite a big job, there are numerous advantages to having a clean oven, just in case you need some motivation to get the task done!
- Cleaner ovens are much safer as grease and burnt on food increase the risk of an oven fire
- Your food will not always absorb the odours from baked on residue and should ultimately taste better
- Your oven will be more efficient as an oven caked in burnt on residue will take longer to heat up, additionally if you can see through the door you will not have to keep opening the door to check on progress
- If your extractor fan or hood is blocked up with grease and dirt then it will be unable to remove heat, cooking smells and, most importantly, Carbon Monoxide to the levels that it was designed for. Cleaning your extractor fan and extractor hood means that the extractor fan can work exactly how it is meant to. This means it can remove unwanted particles easily, ensuring that they are extracted from your kitchen
Oven Cleaning Guide
The following oven cleaning guide suggests some of the more popular methods, and products that are ideally suited for a home oven clean. This is not an exhaustive list by any means but this will give you several different ideas. Please ensure that your oven has completely cooled down before undertaking any of these steps.
- Dish cloths
- Plastic spatula or glass scraper / windscreen de-icing tool
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- Spray bottle
- Kitchen roll
- Rubber gloves
- Screwdriver if removed glass from non-sealed doors
Whilst the rubber gloves are not completely necessary, things are going to get messy, so a pair of rubber gloves means that you won’t be looking at oven grime underneath your nails for the next few weeks.
Step 1 – Dismantle Your Oven
This is not as scary as it sounds, most ovens have cooking racks and rack mountings that are easily removed by sliding out and / or lifting. Set these pieces aside and remove any food debris and unidentified burnt lumps with a dishcloth or some kitchen roll. At this point it may be useful to take a quick photo on your phone so you can see how the parts are laid out. This will also give you an excellent opportunity to compare before and after cleaning photos.
Step 2 – Prepare Your Oven Cleaner
The jury is out on this one. Obviously, there is a plethora of wonder cleaning chemicals based around harsh caustic solutions that do work well but also have their side effects as described later on. For this oven cleaning guide, we will look at one of the most effective oven cleaners that has been used for longer than most of us have been alive. This is a cheap and natural solution that will make light work of removing grime and grease from your oven.
To make this almost magical solution is remarkably simple. Mix half a cup of baking soda with water to form a paste and prepare to be amazed. Just add a few tablespoons of water initially and then spread this paste across the base and sides of your oven (avoiding any exposed heating elements) and work in to every nook and cranny, this is where you’ll be thankful that you have the gloves on. The paste should have a thick consistency, slightly thicker than toothpaste. Do not be concerned if this paste begins to turn brown, this is perfectly normal and is just the paste doing its job.
At this point the inside of the oven can be left, ideally overnight, allowing your magical paste to do its work. The longer that you can leave this solution to do its work, the easier it will be for you in the long run.
If you want to avoid the wait overnight, or are pushed for time then add some white vinegar to the paste and remove this by wiping after half an hour.
Step 3 – Clean the Oven Racks
Again, there are many commercial solutions that provide bags of chemicals that will strip everything from your racks but there are several other alternatives. Dependent on how much time you have and whether you have a shower in addition to a bath!!
Another method that is more family friendly is to soak the racks in the same solution in a large storage box, you may need to rotate the racks, but this will achieve the same results.
One alternative to scrubbing each individual strip of the shelves is to fill a bath very hot water and washing powder and leave your racks in overnight. After this the grime should be very easy to remove with a gentle scrub. It may be worth scrubbing the racks off whilst in the bathroom to avoid dripping grease on your carpets. Alternatively, the shelves should fit comfortably in a supermarket bag for life for moving.
If the shelves are not too dirty, then they can simply be placed in the dishwasher on the hottest setting available.
Step 4 – Clean the Oven Door
Again, there are many commercial solutions that are good for cleaning oven glass. The widely acclaimed ‘Pink Stuff’ has many plaudits, and is relatively cheap from either online or one of the many high street discount stores. As we already have the baking soda paste this can be used on the oven glass as well, simply apply the paste and leave for half an hour before wiping off.
Another popular method is to use a powdery dishwasher tablet. To use this just dip the tablet in some warm water (without removing the coating) and rub the tablet against the oven glass, keeping it moist throughout. This removes the grease and grime remarkably easily.
If you happy to do so then the glass in the door can be removed relatively easily by removing several screws, this means that the glass can be soaked along with the racks as above.
Step 5 – Clean the hob or Oven top
For this step remove all of the removable parts (if present, usually only on gas hobs) and leave this to soak in the sink with some hot water and washing powder. Yet again we can use our magic paste for this, with the extra addition of some salt for added abrasive qualities. Simply scrub with the paste and then wipe away the excess paste before reassembling the removed components if appropriate.
Step 6 – Remove the Magical Paste from the Oven
Having left the paste overnight begin by scraping off the excess with a spatula before wiping down with a damp cloth or kitchen roll. Now you have removed the majority of the paste pour some white vinegar into the spray bottle and spray the inside of the oven, paying attention to all of the nooks and crannies and wipe out again. There is a chemical reaction when the vinegar meets the baking soda solution so don’t be concerned when the solution foams up. This will smell a little but do not worry, this is normal and means that all of the paste residue is being removed.
Step 7 – Reassemble the Oven
Now the inside of your oven is clean simply reverse the steps that you took above when removing the removable parts, using the photos that you took in step one if necessary. You should now be able to sit back and admire your handiwork, and bathe in the warm glow of satisfaction from not only having completed one of the most despised jobs in the house but have saved money on a professional cleaner.
Different Types of Ovens
There are several different types of oven in the UK and some of these have specific cleaning needs and requirements. This article will identify these and detail these needs individually.
The majority of households in the UK have single ovens in their kitchen. These are usually 600mm high and are either slotted under worktops or mounted at eye level. A single oven clean will usually include removing all shelves, side mounts, top, back and side panels in addition to removing the glass from the door if required. These are the most straightforward ovens to clean.
Double ovens are usually found in larger homes and offer a lot more versatility when cooking. These are commonly installed at eye level and are usually 900mm high. A double oven clean will usually include removing all shelves, side mounts, top, back and side panels in addition to removing the glass from the door if required. Like single ovens these are usually quite straightforward to clean.
Range Cookers combine an oven and hob in one and are typically much bigger than a standard oven. These may also have extra ovens, grills, and warming drawers. A range cooker clean will usually include removing all shelves, side mounts, top, back and side panels in addition to removing the glass from the door if required. Additionally, all warming drawers and the hob will also need to be cleaned. Because of this extra complexity and larger size the cleaning takes longer.
The most common types of hobs in UK homes are gas, electric, ceramic and induction. The process used will vary between types however the cost will usually remain the same and should be completed within the hour. All removable items such as racks and burner covers should be removed for cleaning.
These are different to most ovens but are included here for completeness. Because of their size, and enamel finish they require special attention and can take between four and five hours dependent on size and model. There don’t tend to be as many removable items on these stoves therefore a lot more old-fashioned elbow grease is required. Please use any chemical caustic products with extreme caution as these can adversely affect the enamel finish. Consider researching the proprietary products recommended by AGA agents, these include wire brushes, chrome cleaner and enamel touch up paints.
Because the fans within extractor hoods are designed to recirculate air it is inevitable that these become very stick and greasy very quickly. Over time the filters can become clogged and will no longer perform as well as they should, or once did. More modern extractor hoods have easily removable permanent filters that can be placed in the dishwasher for an easy clean.
Top Oven Cleaning Tips
Clean the Oven Naturally with Baking Soda and Vinegar
If your oven is dirty and you don’t have a bottle of oven cleaner on hand, or simply prefer an entirely natural solution, try using a combination of vinegar and baking soda. This is a well-known healthy cleaning solution that can blast through the grease without any nasty fumes. We recommend mixing baking soda with water to make a thick paste, then spread this in and around the oven, avoiding the heating elements.
Try and leave the mixture on for a minimum of two hours, but for even better results, you can leave it on overnight. Next, you will need to take a spray bottle, fill it half with water and half with white vinegar and spray it all over the baking soda. The acid in the vinegar will then react with the baking soda, causing it to foam. This action helps to remove the burnt-on food stains and leftover grease from the oven.
After leaving that on for another 30 minutes, you can just wipe this off with a rag to remove the baking soda mixture. Then, to finish the clean off, giver everything a good wipe down with a lightly dampened cloth.
Steam Clean Your Oven With Vinegar
Los Angeles interior designer John Linden likes to steam clean using hot water and vinegar for an easy oven-cleaning hack. “They absorb into the grime and soften it, making it much easier to clean away with a cloth,” he says.
Start by boiling one-third of a pot of water on the stove. “Once it starts boiling, add an equal amount of white vinegar. Allow it to boil for another 30 seconds or so,” Linden says.
Next, remove the pot from the stove, place it inside the oven on the rack, and close the oven door. Don’t turn the oven on but allow the pot to sit for 45 to 60 minutes. “Once you open the door, you can start cleaning. Wipe the surface down with a soapy cloth,” Linden says. “The grime comes off much easier than it would if you simply tried to scrub it.”
This is one of our favourite oven cleaning tips as it works wonders with very little cost and gets the job done in no time!
Use Water and Lemons
If you are just giving the oven a light clean, all you will need is a little bit of water and two lemons is all you need to get your oven clean. Find yourself a saucepot or pan and then fill it with water. Next, add the juice of two lemons, and throw the remaining lemon halves in the pan too.
Then put the pan in the oven and turn it on. Make sure you let the water boil before you take the pan out. The steam will loosen the grime and grease inside your oven and will help you remove it more easily. Be sure to let the oven cool before wiping it down with a damp cloth. This gives your oven a fabulous shine, and keeps it smelling fresh and clean.
Clean Your Oven Racks in the Bathtub
This is one of our stranger oven cleaning tips, but trust us, it does make a difference! The awkward size and shape of oven racks means that they’re often neglected when it comes to cleaning. A good way to get around this is by soaking the oven racks in the bathtub.
Before you start the cleaning process, you can line the tub with old towels so that it doesn’t get scratched. Then fill the tub with water and drop in a dishwasher tablet. Dishwasher tablets are great at cleaning your dishes and are designed to break down oil and grease.
Put the racks in and make sure they’re fully submerged. Leave them for a couple of hours, or ideally, overnight. After the racks have been thoroughly soaked, use an old toothbrush or a scrubbing brush to remove any leftover debris. Then give them a final run under hot water, dry them with a cloth and they are good to go! Make sure that you rinse the bath out and wash any towels that you have used afterwards.
Always Start by Vacuuming
This is one of the oven cleaning tips that often gets forgotten but is incredibly useful when cleaning your oven. No matter what method you choose to clean your oven, start by vacuuming out the dirt, dust, crumbs, and debris. This removes the bigger chunks of dirt without an awful lot of effort. You should use a hose attachment on the vacuum and go along the bottom of the oven. Vacuum the sides and the seal of the oven also to get rid of all of those crumbs.
Not all of our oven cleaning tips may be suited to you, but we do hope that you have found them useful! We know that oven cleaning isn’t the most thrilling way to spend your Saturday, but it is incredibly satisfying. Turning the front of your oven from a dirtied door to a clear glass window that you had forgotten that you even had, does make the cleaning worth it.
As well as just the aesthetic benefits, you will find that your oven both smells and performs better after a good clean. By doing one big clean a year, you can then maintain the cleanliness of the oven by doing a quick clean once a month. Try following one of our oven cleaning tips, like boiling water and lemons in the oven to give your oven a quick clean.
If oven cleaning is something that you want nothing to do with, just remember that you can always call in the professionals for assistance if required.