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How to Clean an Oven Yourself - Simple Easy Steps To Follow

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March 30, 2024

Knowing how to clean an oven is an important life skill. You cannot always rely on the oven's self-cleaning function to remove burnt-on food particles and spilt grease. Sometimes you just need to don your rubber gloves and get ready for some elbow grease to get a clean oven.

Quick reminder: at Skycleaners, we provide deep oven cleaning as part of our end of tenancy cleaning in London. If you're looking for professional oven cleaning only, feel free to give us a call or use the contact form to receive a free quote.

And while it is true that oven cleaning is not an enticing task, it's easier than you think when you use the right cleaning solution and strategy. A filthy oven with baked-on grease and stubborn stains can still be salvaged after an effective deep clean process.

There are different ways to approach the task of oven cleaning. Using a commercial oven cleaner is perhaps the first thing that comes to mind. But it would help if you also considered an eco-friendly DIY oven cleaner with baking soda. It is among the most popular oven cleaners many people swear by. Finally, if you have a self-cleaning oven, you can use the function without applying harsh chemicals and DIY cleaners.

How often should you clean an oven?

The answer to the question depends on the amount of cooking you do and how often there is an accidental spill and staining in the oven's interior. It's the same for a gas oven and an electric oven. If you are an avid cook using the oven daily, you should clean it every season or until one of the following criteria is met:

There is visible grease on the oven door glass

Depending on what you cook inside, bubbling grease can easily splatter on the glass oven door. It is a clear indication that you need to do some cleaning of the oven glass when the stains on it are visible.

There is crusty food and debris on the oven floor

If there is any kind of food residue on the oven door or floor, it will slowly get burnt and even emit smoke. If a damp cloth and warm water are not enough to remove that, it's time to go with a full cleaning of the oven interior.

There is a greasy odour during cooking

If you can smell an unpleasant odour during cooking, it is time to clean your oven. It means there's debris burning and causing the smell. Worse yet, stuck-on food can affect the dishes you prepare.

There is smoke during cooking

Finally, if your oven smokes during cooking, the likely cause is a build-up of loose food and oven grease on the interior surfaces. It's time to bust out the cleaning paste and get to it!

How to clean an oven - the three different methods

person cleaning a greasy oven on the inside with a sponge

Which method you choose to clean your oven depends on your preference and previous success. Consider also how messy the oven is before you choose.

  • Using the self-cleaning function - this method helps for an oven that is not overly messy and it is mostly present with electric ovens. A self-clean cycle works by heating the interior to a very high degree, burning the grease and debris to a crisp that you can then wipe with a damp sponge. If your oven is very dirty, you should not use the self-clean cycle because it can cause excessive smoke or even a fire.
  • Using chemical oven cleaners - commercial oven cleaners must sometimes be used when the mess is excessive. If you need to clean the entire oven, this may be the way to go.
  • Using baking soda and vinegar - the safest way to get your oven clean is to rely on baking soda and some vinegar.

As a side note, you may find our post on what effect oven cleaners have on countertops.

How to clean with baking soda?

This is one of the best oven cleaning strategies because it is safe, easy to do and effective at the same time. If you are a little apprehensive about using the self-clean cycle or a chemical cleaner, you can clean the oven with baking soda. Just follow these steps:

  1. Empty the inside items. Take out everything, including oven racks, heater plates and oven liners. Open the oven door and place a sheet of paper underneath to catch any drips as you begin the cleaning process.
  2. Prepare the baking soda paste. Since you have chosen baking soda to be your oven cleaner, you need to make some preparations. Get a small bowl and fill it with half a cup of baking soda. Add a few tablespoons of water. You can add more or less water till the compound turns into a nice spreadable paste. You can mix a second batch if you have a second oven or if your primary one is big.
  3. Spread the baking soda paste. Even though you are using a natural oven cleaner, you should still wear rubber gloves. Spread the compound on the oven's surface. You want to cover everything except the heating elements and gas vents. Make sure to also apply it on the glass oven door if there are any visible stains.
  4. Add vinegar for messy oven interiors. If you have a really dirty oven, you can add some white vinegar to the baking soda. Use a spray bottle to apply over the spread of baking soda.
  5. Let it sit overnight. Many people make the mistake of wiping the baking soda compound almost immediately with a wet rag. But if you want the solution to work its magic on the spilt grease, let it sit for a few hours.
  6. Clean the racks in the meantime. While you are waiting for the baking soda to do its thing against the oven grime, you can clean the racks. To get nice and clean oven racks, you should just soak them in soapy water and gently scrub them with dish soap and a soft microfiber cloth. If that doesn't cut it, you can soak it for a few hours to soften the grime and then remove it. Make sure to dry the oven racks fully afterwards.
  7. Clean the oven. When enough time has passed, it is time for some deep cleaning. Use a damp cloth or a paper towel to wipe down the surfaces covered in baking soda. If you notice any leftover stains, add some more white vinegar on the spot.

This is all it takes to deep clean your oven with baking soda paste. You can use this method to clean the oven regularly without worrying about the self-cleaning cycle or using dangerous chemicals. It should leave your oven sparkling and ready for more cooking.

How to clean with a commercial oven cleaner?

If you have a dirty oven on your hands, perhaps it is best to approach with a heavy-duty oven cleaning product. Here are the steps of that process.


Make sure you prepare by getting gloves and safety glasses to reduce any contact between the cleaner and your skin. When you clean an oven with a chemical solution, it is important to ventilate the area properly. Place a few paper towels underneath to capture accidental spills.

Using the product

Following the instructions on the label, spray the necessary amount of the product avoiding the heaters and gas vents. To get a nice oven clean, close the door and let the solution sit for an hour.

Open the door and wipe with a damp cloth

Check the label to see when it's safe to use the oven again and always make sure you ventilate the space well.

How to use the self-cleaning feature?

For self-cleaning ovens, you can use the feature to do some of the work for you. The process is simple: the oven locks itself and heats the interior to a very high temperature, essentially burning away the grease and grime on the inside. This alone won't get you a clean oven, however. Once the self-cleaning cycle is done and the oven has completely cooled down, you still need to wipe down the interior with a damp sponge and hot water from the ashes of burnt-over food.

When using this function of a self-cleaning oven, you must always remember to open all doors and windows of the room the oven is in. The fumes from the burning debris can be dangerous if you don't ventilate the area properly. Don't leave the house with the self-clean cycle on because it is dangerous.

How to keep your oven clean longer?

If you are bothered by deep cleaning, you should regularly wipe your oven to ensure there is no build-up of grime and grease. It's ideal to do a quick wipe after each meal you prepare so that there is no accumulation of debris. Apart from that, here are several useful tips to keep the oven free of stains.

  • Line the bottom of the oven with aluminium foil or liners whenever you prepare a meal there. That way, if there are spills, they will not land on the bottom of the oven and not cause a mess.
  • Make sure you don't fill the dishes too much. Leave some room for the room to bubble up and not drip onto the oven floor.
  • Try roasting bags when you prepare a meal. That way you reduce the amount of splatters on the oven door and walls, not to mention some foods taste better thanks to the nice steamy effect achieved during preparation.
  • Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda on a fresh stain inside the oven and use a plastic spatula to lift it once the appliance has cooled down. It's much easier to do this than to clean a baked-on stain that has been in the oven for a long time.
  • Place a bowl full of water after cooking in the oven. The steam will soften up any stains and make them easy to remove with a damp cloth. Just be careful not to burn yourself.

If you want to learn more about steam cleaning, read our post on what is steam cleaning and how does it work.

What to avoid cleaning your oven and oven racks with?

Experts recommend you steer clear of any cleaning product that contains bleach or ammonia. Any leftover product can release dangerous fumes later on when heated. You should also never use wet wipes, which can scratch the delicate surface of the oven.

Cleaning your oven the right way takes a little bit of knowledge, but it can be quite easy when you follow the right advice. Whether it is cleaning your oven with a commercial product or bicarbonate of soda, you can get results with some consistency.

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