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How to Clean Your Oven (Inside and Out)

Female hand with green sponge cleaning inside an oven
brizmaker/Shutterstock

You don’t need fancy cleaners or strong chemicals to get a clean oven. Even if there are baked on stains and globs of who-knows-what, there are a couple of ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, which will help you get a clean oven, inside and out.

How Often Should You Clean Your Oven?

When it comes to cleaning your oven, how often you do it depends a lot on how often you cook, what you’re cooking, and how messy of a cook you are.

The outside of your oven, especially the stovetop, may require daily cleaning if you’re cooking from home regularly. Once a week is a good average for at least spot cleaning the visible parts of your stove, even if you don’t use it often (you’ll be cleaning dust off of it if nothing else).

The inside of your oven should be cleaned every three months if you use it a lot, or every six months if you don’t do much baking.

Deep Cleaning the Inside of Your Oven

Whether it’s been a while since you gave your oven a good cleaning or you made a bit of a mess the last time you baked, a good deep cleaning can give you a pristine oven and cut down on the smells in your kitchen when you’re cooking. Spills continue to burn and stink whenever you cook.

Two ingredients that will help you deep clean your oven, and are great for day-to-day cleaning, are vinegar and baking soda. If you’re trying to cut down on the use of chemicals in your home, you want these ingredients on hand, as they can be used for tons of cleaning jobs around the house.

Here are the steps to take for a clean oven, from the inside out.

  • Remove the racks from your oven. This is essential even for people with self-cleaning ovens (the extreme heat of the heat cycle can warp racks). Soak them in some hot soapy water.
  • After the racks have soaked sufficiently, use a scouring pad to scrub them clean, then rinse thoroughly.
  • Combine a quarter cup of water with three-quarters of a cup of baking soda. This will give you enough cleaning paste for an average-sized oven. If yours is larger or smaller (or you run out and need more), you can mix accordingly.
  • Use a clean, unused (or only used for this purpose) paintbrush to spread the paste all over the inside of the interior of your oven. Keep it off of any bare metal areas, and don’t use it on the door. If there are tight spaces you can’t get to with the paintbrush, use a toothbrush.
  • Leave the paste on for a few hours. You don’t have to let it dry for it to do the job, and it’s an easier clean-up if you wipe the paste out before it does completely dry. If it dries, you’ll need to carefully scrape it out using a plastic scraper (not a metal one). Use a damp cloth to wipe it out if it’s not fully dry. If it is dry, use a spray bottle of water to wet the dried-on paste to ease scraping.
  • If the racks you’ve soaked and cleaned have stuck on stains, you can use this paste on them. Just keep in mind, aluminum racks may discolor with the use of baking soda.
  • Be sure to wipe down all of the formerly paste cleaned parts with a wet rag to remove any streaks.
  • To clean the inside of your oven door, wipe it down with a soft cloth dipped in equal portions of water and vinegar.

Cleaning the Outside of the Oven

For general dusting and light cleaning, you can wipe down the entire outside of your oven with an equal blend of warm water and vinegar. Use a soft rag for light cleaning. You can use a sponge for deeper cleaning.

For stuck-on stains, soak them with some vinegar. If your white stove isn’t looking as white, vinegar will help, but you can also use that baking soda and water paste to help with grease removal and whitening. Make sure you wipe down everything with a wet rag after to prevent streaking.

For drip bowls and burner grates, soak them in some hot soapy water and then scrub them just like you did the oven racks. You can use the paste again on these (but remember, especially with drip bowls, that baking soda may discolor anything made from aluminum).

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow has been a professional writer for almost two decades. Yvonne has worked for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and much more as a writer and editor. She's also a published poet and a short story writer. Read Full Bio »

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