How to clean oven safely? An oven is one of the most essential appliances in your kitchen. It’s used to cook your food to a safe temperature and to apply several different cooking techniques. You can bake, broil, roast, and more with little effort.

There are dozens of meals that can be made only with the use of your oven. If you don’t have time to prepare your meals, you can also pick up any of the hundreds of premade options that only require you to heat up your oven.

However, since your oven is mostly out of sight, it probably doesn’t get the same time of thorough cleaning treatment that your counters and dishes do. Keeping your oven clean is an essential step in kitchen safety. Allowing food to cake on can sometimes cause fires, endangering your family in the process.

The beautiful thing about ovens is while there are several different types, the insides of them all look the same. Each of them has heating elements and oven racks. One cleaning method that works well for a gas-powered oven will work just as well as it does in an electric oven.

If you have a toaster oven, you can use many of the methods listed below in how to clean oven. You’ll have to apply it on a smaller scale. These mini appliances are easier to keep clean since they have less surface area.

Why You Should Clean Your Oven and How to Clean Oven

A dirty oven can impact your kitchen in several ways. One of the most important issues is that it could become a safety hazard. Food that has been burnt onto an oven surface keeps burning as you use it. If you let a lot of it build up, it can become a fire hazard. You also run the risk of endangering your health by inhaling smoke particles as the food keeps burning.

If your oven is this dirty, you might have to find a more heavy-duty solution than plain soap and water.

Along with it being a safety measure, keeping your oven clean makes your food taste better. A dirty oven affects how your food tastes and can bake in flavors of baked-on grease and burnt food.

How Often You Should Clean Your Oven

an open oven in the kitchen surrounded by wood design

Image: CC BY-SA 2.0, BoneDaddy.P7, via flfckr

How to clean oven?  There are a few ways you can tell it’s time to clean your oven. The first is if it looks crusty and gross. Can you see food residue? Then it’s time to scrub it away. If you notice any odors or smoke coming out of your appliance, then it’s time to bust out the cleaning supplies.

If you think your oven needs cleaning, then it probably does.

There is no time that works best for everyone. The frequency that works best for you will depend on how often you use your oven and how to clean oven safely. If you are baking often, and use it every day, it’s a safe bet to plan on scrubbing it every three months or more. However, if you only occasionally use your oven, you won’t have to do it more than once a year.

Best Methods for Cleaning Your Oven Safely

With the hundreds of available cleaning supplies, you might not know where to start when it comes to keeping your oven spic and span. How to clean oven safely! Remember that while oven cleaners were designed explicitly for cleaning this vital appliance, many of them contain toxic chemicals that can harm your health.

Many of these toxic chemicals have not been studied as it relates to human interaction. While they are incredibly useful in getting your home clean, they pose a risk to your health in the process. Toxic cleaners have been proven to irritate your skin, impact your respiratory system, and mess with your hormones.

Here are some supplies you will need to clean your oven, regardless of what method listed below you decide to use and how to clean oven.

  • Cleaning solution
  • Damp rags
  • Microfiber sponge for food buildup
  • Protective glasses
  • Paper towels or old newspapers
  • Rubber gloves (stay away from disposable)
  • Trashcan

Here’s a breakdown of the safest ways to clean your oven.

Baking Soda and Water Paste

Baking soda is one of the most effective natural cleaners on the market today. It’s great at absorbing odors, has an abrasive quality that makes it easy to scrub away stains, and reacts with vinegar to cut through grease.

To use this method, take out your oven racks and put them somewhere out of the way. Then, make a paste using equal parts water and baking soda. Once that’s mixed, use an abrasive sponge to spread the solution on the bottom and sides of the oven.

If your debris is caked on, consider leaving the paste on for up to 24 hours. Once the time has passed, get it wet and scrub it down. With time, the debris will loosen, and you can wipe it away.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Similar to the method listed above, combining baking soda and vinegar is a great way to get rid of old grime.

Create the same paste listed above and spread it all over the oven. Once the oven is covered, pour a small amount of vinegar onto the dirty spots. The reaction between the two elements will cause the mixture to fizz and loosen the grime in the process. This makes it incredibly easy to scrub off.

Make sure you use the correct amount of ingredients, as if you use too much, the combination can be explosive.

Built-in Self Cleaning Option

Most current oven models come with a built-in self-cleaning option. This works by heating your oven up well past what you would cook anything to vaporize any food remains.

The exact science on how self-cleaning works depends on your oven model. If you aren’t sure how to use this feature, make sure you consult your owners manual before trying random buttons.

The self-clean feature works by superheating your oven to burn away debris, dirt, and grime. The high temperature causes these leftovers to turn into ash, which is very easy to wipe away. The self-cleaning feature will heat up your house, so try to avoid using it during the heat of the summer.

Never run the self-clean feature if you aren’t home. If you have too much buildup at the bottom, this will cause your oven to smoke and could become dangerous.

Make sure you only use this method if you’ve cleaned it recently. If it’s been a long time, it’s better for you to put on some gloves and clean it yourself.

Good Quality Non-Toxic Cleaner

a fresh baked bread from the oven

Image: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic, yoppy, via Wikimedia

Cleaning products have some of the most dangerous chemicals out there. If you use cleaners with any of the following toxins, there’s a good chance those chemicals will get baked into your food.

Make sure whatever oven cleaner you choose is free from the chemicals listed above.

Once you’ve got a cleaner that works, start prepping your oven for cleaning. Remove your racks and other equipment (such as a pizza stone, thermometer, or baking sheets) and make sure you take out the larger chunks of burnt food.

Once it’s clear, spray down your entire oven. Don’t be afraid to use up a good amount of cleaner in the process. You’ll probably want to let the cleaner stay on overnight. As soon as you’re ready, grab your rubber gloves and a brush or scouring pad to tackle any caked-on grime. Once you’re content with your scrubbing, grab a damp rag and wipe everything down.

If any grime remains, spray it down with cleaner again. Let it sit for a minimum of 15 minutes and leave it for longer if you have a nasty stain. Continue repeating the process until all of the caked-on food is gone and your oven is spic and span.

You don’t have to endanger yourself or your family to keep your entire kitchen clean. Many safe and natural cleaning methods are just as effective as the more harmful products on the market. Stick to the methods listed above, and your kitchen will be a safer place. Your food will taste the way it’s supposed to, and you won’t be chasing off any house guests with a lingering odor you can’t explain.