Cleaning the oven is one of the least desirable jobs in the kitchen, and when it’s left for too long, it’s harder to clean. However, cleaning the oven is vital because dirty ovens can be dangerous.
For example, burnt food that has fallen to the oven floor may eventually catch on fire. The accumulated grime also releases harmful smoke when the oven is on, which is not good for your health.
While cleaning the oven is never fun, it’s certainly worthwhile. But if you’re wondering how to tackle this problem, here’s a quick guide to get you started.
How does the oven get dirty?
The oven gets dirty every time you cook something. But how does so much grime accumulate?
Grime can accumulate from steam or smoke as food is cooking. While most steam or smoke leaves the oven through the vents, some will collect on the oven walls. From this, you will notice a layer of dirt that builds up inside the oven.
The oven also gets dirty from food that splatters or spills. If you use the fan mode or lots of oil, you will notice tiny spots from where food has splattered. Additionally, spills are more likely to happen if you use flat oven trays for messy food or place food directly on the racks.
Which oven cleaner is best?
In terms of performance, the best oven cleaner is an ammonia-based one—typically the one that comes in a spray can and creates a foam when used.
However, some people avoid oven cleaners such as these because they are harsh and have a strong smell. In that case, a kitchen degreaser will be the next best option if you are looking for an alternative. Although, it may require more attempts than an oven cleaner.
A multi-purpose cleaner may also work to some extent. But again, it will require more work and attempts to get the oven to a good enough standard.
Lastly, you may have heard of natural cleaners such as baking soda, vinegar, and lemon. These items may work on a low-maintenance oven. However, many people find that these products do not go far and lack desirable results when doing a deep clean.
How to give your oven a deep clean
Here we will discuss how to give your oven a deep clean with oven cleaner or kitchen degreaser.
What you need:
- Cloths or paper towels
- Scouring sponge
- Oven cleaner and/or kitchen degreaser
- Old newspapers to cover the floor
1. Remove everything from the oven
Before cleaning the oven, it’s best to remove everything from it, including the racks. If you remove the racks, you can also clean them.
2. Give the oven a quick wipe
Next, give your oven a quick wipe with a damp cloth or scouring sponge to loosen up the grime. If you notice any burnt food in the oven, you will need to scrape it off as it may be too thick for oven cleaner or degreaser to cut through.
3. Spray the oven
If you are using an oven cleaner or degreaser, you will need to give it some time to work before wiping it off. Also, remember to wear gloves while handling these products.
When using an oven cleaner, open the windows in the kitchen and wear a mask. If you have a range hood, you could turn this on to help remove the fumes.
Oven cleaner should be left overnight to work, for the best results. However, most start working after 30 minutes. Always check the recommendation on the packaging because different brands have different guidelines.
Degreaser is best left for 10-15 minutes. If the degreaser is left for too long, it will start to dry. Again, check the packaging for recommendations and follow any guidelines.
Ensure that the oven cleaner or degreaser covers the walls, floor, and door. Do not cover the vent with these products because the chemicals might go inside. As a result, you may notice fumes in your kitchen next time you use the oven.
These products are safe for glass doors. However, if your oven door has two glass panels, you may need to remove one of them so that you can clean in between them.
Lastly, ensure that the oven door remains shut while leaving the oven cleaner to work. Closing the door will contain the fumes. However, be careful when you open the door again and allow the kitchen to ventilate before wiping off the cleaner.
4. Clean the oven racks
While waiting for the oven cleaner or degreaser to work, you can try cleaning the oven racks and baking trays.
You could do this by allowing them to soak in the sink with hot soapy water. However, if your sink is not big enough, you could soak the racks in the bathtub or a large container instead. After they have soaked, use a scouring sponge to clean off the grime.
Alternatively, you could spray the racks with oven cleaner. However, you will need to contain the fumes. Instead, you could cover them with a large garbage bag or leave them in a well-ventilated room you are not using.
After the oven cleaner has worked, rinse with water or wipe them with paper towels or a cloth.
5. Wipe the oven
When it’s time to remove the oven cleaner or degreaser, you will need paper towels or a cloth to wipe it off. If you notice that there is still grime, you may need to repeat the spray process.
After you have wiped off the chemicals, it might be best to wipe the oven again with a damp cloth to ensure all the chemicals have gone.
If you are happy with the results, return everything to the oven.
How to prevent the oven from getting dirty
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent the oven from getting dirty again. However, there are some things you can try to reduce the amount of grime that accumulates. Doing so will make it easier for you to clean the oven in the future.
How to reduce grime:
- Cook all food on a baking tray or in an oven dish.
- Cut back on oil because it splatters when hot.
- If anything spills in the oven, clean it up immediately.
- Wipe the inside of the glass door after every use.
- Line baking trays with tin foil, baking paper, or an oven-proof silicone mat.
- When cooking food that splatters, such as stews, cook them in an oven dish with a lid.
- Give the inside of the oven a quick wipe once a week with a multi-purpose cleaner.
- Deep clean the oven once a month or when necessary to prevent too much grime from building up.
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