Let’s be honest, no one likes cleaning, and least of all when it’s time to give the oven a little TLC. It’s a chore easy to ignore, but leaving it too long can have dire consequences. Baked on grease, gunk fatbergs, unpleasant smells, you get the picture. Plus, your oven could even become less efficient at reaching high temperatures, ultimately leading to its early demise. That’s why regularly cleaning your oven is important – and we can tell you just how!
What’s the best way to clean the oven?
While there are natural ways to clean an oven with vinegar and baking soda (more below), the most effective and quickest option by far is to use an all-purpose oven cleaner, especially if you’re dealing with several layers of baked on food debris and grease. Most oven cleaners a surfactant system that draws grease from the surface, so that all you’re left to do is scrub a little.
Oven cleaners are a common household cleaning product you can find in most supermarkets, at certain hardware stores like Bunnings and in chemists. They come in various forms, including as a cleaning gel or paste, spray and complete cleaning kits with soaking bags. Oven cleaners are also safe to use on BBQ grills and stainless steel.
Best oven cleaners
Popular brands which Aussies have rated highly in Canstar Blue’s oven cleaners review over the years include Selleys, Oven Power (OzKleen), Jif, Mr Muscle, Easy Off and ALDI Power Force. There are many other widely available brands on the market though, so do take your time to shop around.
How do you clean the inside of an oven?
Here’s an easy step-by-step guide to cleaning your oven.
· Step 1 – Be safe
This goes without saying but do check your oven is turned off and cool to touch before you begin cleaning. You should also wear rubber gloves when cleaning your oven to protect your skin against corrosive agents commonly found in some commercial cleaning products.
· Step 2 – Pull your oven apart
Before you start scrubbing the dirt and excess food away, start with removing all loose parts of the oven such as the racks, grills, bottom tray etc. Strip it down to the bare bones and have your cleaning sponges and cloths ready to go.
· Step 3 – Spray the inside of your oven
It’s time to put your oven cleaner to use and spray or spread (depending on the type of cleaner you’re using) the solution all over the interior of your oven. Most oven cleaners use a surfactant cleaning agent which tackles grease and grime from the bottom up.
· Step 4 – Let it sit for a few hours
Let the oven cleaning solution work its magic for a few hours, or according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re using a natural cleaning solution with baking soda and vinegar, it’s ideal to leave it overnight. In the meantime, you can clean all the other loose parts like the grills and trays.
· Step 5 – It’s time to wipe it down
Use a spatula to scrape any tough grease build-ups and a damp cloth or sponge to scrub off any excess grime. Scrub, wipe and repeat until your oven is left sparkling clean. Don’t forget to wipe the outside of the oven too.
How to get baked on grease off your oven?
The best (and quickest) way to get rid of baked on grease is to use an all-purpose oven cleaning kit, which typically contains soaking bags for the racks and trays, a cleaning gel for inside the oven and even accessories like sponges and cloths.
There’s nothing a heavy-duty oven cleaner can’t do, but you can also use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to get rid of baked on grease. Make sure to apply your cleaning mixture all throughout the oven, from top to bottom. This will lift and peel only some of the grease and the rest you’ll need to scrape off yourself.
How to clean oven racks
Remove your oven racks from the main unit and soak them in hot water, soapy water − using 1/2 cup of dishwashing liquid or 3/4 cup of laundry detergent. Soak overnight. This should ‘soften’ and dissolve baked on grease and grime enough for you to start scrubbing it. Use a scrubby sponge and some oven cleaner to scrub off the remaining grease. For dislodging sticky grime between the prods, use an old toothbrush.
- Oven cleaning hack> You can also soak your oven racks in hot water with some Napisan or dryer sheets which works a treat at removing grease.
How to clean oven trays
Follow the same process as you would with oven racks. Soak the trays in hot, soapy water (using dishwashing soap or laundry detergent) for at least an hour. If you can’t fully submerge the tray in the sink, don’t forget to turn it over. Once your tray is soaked, you can scrub-a-dub-dub until the grease is all gone. Alternatively, you can use oven cleaning soaking bags which contain a solution to lift and peel the grease.
- Oven cleaning hack> You can also soak your oven trays and racks in an unused bin bag with 1/2 cup of ammonia and seal it overnight.
How to clean oven glass
Spray the inside of the oven glass door with some oven cleaner or baking soda to thaw grease and food stains. Wipe the excess off with a sponge or damp cloth until everything is gone. To remove streaking, use a commercial-grade glass cleaner like Windex to give the glass one last wipe both inside and outside for a shiny finish.
- Oven cleaning hack> Another way to get gunk off the glass door is to dip a dishwashing tablet into warm water and rub it along the glass of the oven. As the tablet starts to disintegrate, so will a lot of grime.
What is the fastest way to clean the bottom of an oven?
Scrape off all loose food bits that may have fallen at the bottom of the oven. You’ll then need to use a little elbow grease and your preferred cleaning solution to lift the rest of the stubborn grease and grime stuck to the surface. If you want to avoid cleaning grease stains off the bottom in the future, you should look into getting an oven liner, made to catch food crumbs and spills.
How do you clean an oven without chemicals?
As mentioned, if you’re worried about harsh chemicals or fumes present in some oven cleaners, you can opt to make a DIY all-natural cleaning oven cleaner paste at home. All you’ll need is:
- baking soda (aka sodium bicarbonate)
- white vinegar
- warm water
- a damp cloth
- a spray bottle
Ammonia can also be used as an alternative to baking soda. Most people prefer this cleaning method over using a commercial cleaner, although the latter is the most effective at completely getting rid of baked on grease.
How to clean your oven with baking soda & vinegar
Here are the ingredients and steps:
- Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with a 1/4 cup of warm water
- Stir until a spreadable paste forms (adjust the mixture as necessary)
- Pour white vinegar in a spray bottle
- Spread your cleaning paste all over the inside of your oven (except on the heating elements)
- Leave the paste to work for a few hours and overnight ideally
- Use a damp cloth to remove the cleaning paste
- Spray vinegar inside the oven which will cause the baking soda to foam
- Wipe down all remaining foam residue
- For oven racks and trays, sprinkle baking soda over it and spray vinegar on top
- Soak the racks and trays in hot water and wipe clean
How often should you clean your oven?
Truthfully, this will depend on how often you use it. If you’re a regular cook or baker aim to clean your oven monthly to avoid massive grease build-ups. If you use your oven only a few times weekly, you can stretch it to every three months. In any case, you should wipe down the oven door at least once a week.
How long after cleaning the oven can you cook?
Let your oven aerate for about 30 minutes after cleaning. Then, it’s advised to pre-heat your oven to 180°C for about 15-20 mins without anything in it to burn off any residual cleaning product on surfaces. After that, you can cook the Sunday roast as normal!
What about self-cleaning ovens?
Pyrolytic (aka self-cleaning) ovens are a game changer for the modern kitchen. They work by using thermal decomposition, with temperatures reaching up to 400–500°C to burn off baked-on grease and grime. The process then leaves a residual ash behind which you can wipe down yourself. Pyrolytic ovens are typically more expensive than conventional models, although this feature is becoming a lot more common in new ovens, so we’re likely to see prices drop as the technology becomes more widely available. If you’re considering getting your hands on a self-cleaning oven, check out these models below:
- Omega OO6AX 60cm Pyrolytic Electric Built-In Oven − $889 RRP*
- DeLonghi 60cm Pyrolytic Built-In Oven (DEL606P) − $1,341 RRPP*
- Bosch 60cm Serie 8 Pyrolytic Built-In Oven (HBG675BB2A) − $2,003 RRP*
- Miele 60cm BP Pureline Pyrolytic Cleansteel Oven (H 2267-1) − $2,399 RRP*
- Westinghouse 90cm Freestanding Dual Fuel Oven/Stove (WFEP915SC) − $3,413 RRP*
Picture credits: Smile23, Shutterstock.com/ Budimir Jevtic, Shutterstock.com/ ThamKC, , Shutterstock.com/ Punyhong, Shutterstock.com/ Yarygin, Shutterstock.com/ Michal Mpstudio, Shutterstock.com/ Denys Niezhientsev, Shutterstock.com.