How to clean an oven
Cleaning an oven seems like a dirty and hard job.
Among all the good things that can come out of your oven, there is one not-so-good thing that needs your help to come out of the oven at all. Call it "spills," call it "residue," haul off and call it a four-letter-word like "gunk"—it's still time for that least-loved household chore: cleaning the oven. Say what you please, this isn't lots of fun, but knowing how to clean an oven can get you through quickly and on to more-fulfilling tasks.
Cleaning Your Oven
You buy the spray, take it home, follow the directions, sooner or later you're a runny-nosed, teary, dirty mess, but the oven's clean. A little preparation makes a lot of difference. To do the best job, you need:
A bottle of white or cider vinegar
A glass or ceramic mixing bowl or pie plate
Box of baking-soda (optional)
1 spray-can oven-cleaner
2 sponges or paper towels
Small bucket for water
- Step One: Remove the oven racks and oven thermometer, if you have one. Put it in the sink to wash it separately. If your oven has a covered light, leave it; if the light has no cover, remove bulb while cleaning. Avoid spraying or wiping any empty electrical outlets because of the danger of potential shock.
- Step Two: Cover the floor in front of the oven with newspapers.
- Step Three: The night before or the morning before, set oven to the Warm setting for five minutes, and turn your oven off. Pour two cups of vinegar into a glass/ceramic bowl, and place it in the oven. Go do something else for at least three hours. Old wives use this as the first step in de-gunking your oven. The slight warmth and vinegar vapors loosen some of the worst patches, which can then be gently scraped or wiped off.
- Optional Step Three: Other old wives swear by this one for the gunky patches on the oven floor. Sprinkle patches with baking soda. Wet a sponge with vinegar and squeeze it over baking soda. The fizz you produce can loosen gunk for scraping or wiping. Rinse the de-gunked areas with water because your next step adds more chemicals. If you intensely dislike chemical cleaners, you can use the vinegar-baking-soda method to remove much of the gunk, but it means harder, messier scrubbing and will probably take more of your time.You will need to use this gentle method often.
- Step Four: Read the whole label of your cleaner before you apply it, and follow the directions. Make sure you have an open window or other ventilation; chemicals are caustic and can be very irritating to your nose and eyes. Even if you do not wear rubber gloves for other chores, use them for oven cleaning. Keep children out of the kitchen. Spray as directed, close the oven door and leave for the time suggested.
- Step Five: Fill a bucket with water and use a sponge to remove residue, beginning with the oven roof and working down the sides and back to the oven floor.You may well need to replace your rinse water often.
- Step Six: Using second sponge and a drop or two of liquid dish soap, wipe your oven again to remove any remaining traces of oven cleaner and gunk.
- Step Seven: Dispose of your old newspapers, dirty sponges and oven-cleaner spray can carefully. Bag up everything before you wash and remove your rubber gloves.
Of course, there's going to be a next time, whether gunk comes from a long-roasting turkey, an over-the-top cherry pie or just the accumulation of everyday meals. While the oven door's shut and the cleaner is working, treat yourself to getting out that great kitchen catalog and looking at some work savers. Consider heavy-weight aluminum oven-floor liners or the new, flexible, easily-washed silicone liners.
Keep Your Oven Clean
Look at the pie-plates designed to cut down on sticky drips, baking dishes that actually accommodate your favorite recipes, and covered roasting pans with vents for browning. Sometimes spills just happen, but often we've had a role in creating more oven gunk than we have to. Knowing how to clean an oven includes knowing how to keep it clean. Using the right baking and roasting equipment can make a real difference in how often and how hard you need to clean.