Today, we’re learning how to clean your oven! Of any appliance in your kitchen, the oven suffers the most from being “out of sight, out of mind.” Except for baking and cooking enthusiasts, the average person doesn’t need to use the oven very often, so keeping it clean rarely feels urgent. It can take a long time before the oven becomes so bad that it demands a heavy-duty clean.
If you are here because you are investing in the life-giving habits that come with keeping a clean, organized home, then the silver lining is that your oven probably won’t be that challenging to clean and maintain.
If you are here because your oven has gotten nasty, don’t despair. I’m excited to guide you through it, and my mission is to make it a positive, even fun experience, not just an accessible one.
How often should I clean my oven?
The answer to this question entirely depends on the frequency of use! Are you a cooking or baking enthusiast who used the oven several times a week? Or do you only use it a few times a month when roasting vegetables for dinner?
If you use the oven a lot, we recommend making space for a thorough clean every two to three months. Make sure to address serious spills and leaks that splatter and burn when they happen. You don’t want to let those cook for too long!
If you use the oven more casually, we recommend taking time for a thorough clean twice a year. But make sure you pay the same immediate attention to spills and leaks!
What do I need to clean my oven?
In this writing, I will focus on my preferred method for maintaining a clean oven. This method uses a natural DIY oven-cleaner solution made of baking soda and vinegar. This method is safe and eco-friendly, but it works best on moderate wear. On seriously nasty ovens, it makes a dent, but you may need a heavier-duty solution.
If your oven needs some heavy-duty care, you will probably need to use strong cleaning chemicals designed for ovens. I only recommend these solutions for extreme situations, as they are neither the safest nor the greenest, which I consider big priorities when approaching any cleaning work.
If your oven needs some heavy-duty love, stick around. I intend to write a post dedicated to safely using commercial solutions that can take on the toughest oven jobs, but I hope you still find this post to be helpful in the meantime!
How to Clean Your Oven with Only Baking Soda and Vinegar
Here is a list of necessary items plus a few other things I recommend to make the job easier.
- Rubber gloves, or nitrile ones if you have a rubber sensitivity.
- Baking Soda
- White vinegar
- A medium-sized mixing bowl.
- A large mixing spoon.
- A spray bottle
- Three to four rags for cleaning. I do not recommend paper towels as substitutes, as they may tear up and stick.
- Two to three towels to place under and around the oven, to catch any leaks or drips.
- Safety goggles and a face mask.
- One or two heavy-duty, abrasive sponges.
- A large bin for soaking oven racks and trays.
- A plastic putty spatula
- Lemon juice
Step 1: Cue up your favorite music, podcast, or “background TV show”.
Before you scoff, hear me out. The best way I’ve found to make these sorts of chores less miserable is to incorporate things that you love. My favorite way is to jam out to bands I love. My son prefers putting on true-crime podcasts.
Whatever your preference, play it nice and loud over some speakers, sing along with the music, allow the show or podcast to distract you now and again. Not only will you feel more energized, but I guarantee that these chores will begin to feel more approachable, even enjoyable when you approach them in the future!
Step 2: Take safety precautions
Most of this work is inside an oven, which is a small, confined space. You will be loosening up cooked and burned food particles, grease, and oil, as well as spraying white vinegar.
I think of gloves as essential. You will use your hands a lot, so protect your skin!
Even though the baking soda and vinegar solutions we use in this oven-cleaning guide are green and safe, you may still want to consider using safety goggles and a face mask. Goggles will keep your eyes safe from unexpected splashes or crumbs. A face mask will help keep you from inhaling icky particles and make you more comfortable if you are sensitive to the strong smell of vinegar.
Step 3: Prepare the oven.
Make sure the oven is off and safe to interact with.
Remove everything from inside the oven. You may only have a few oven racks; you may have a grease tray at the bottom; maybe you use the oven to store baking trays as well. Get it all out of there, and set aside to clean in a few steps.
Alternatively, place your dirty oven racks and trays into a bin or bathtub. Dust them with baking soda, and use a spray bottle to spritz a healthy amount of white vinegar. You should see the baking soda begin to foam. Once the foaming stops, fill the bin or bathtub with enough hot water to submerge the contents and allow it to soak for 10-12 hours
I prefer to use a bin, rather than just placing them in the bathtub, so that when the time comes to drain the dirty water, the bathtub hasn’t been soaking with greasy oven filth. It is much easier to run the showerhead and rinse off the tub after emptying the bin than adding cleaning the bathtub to this chore.
Adding a teaspoon of lemon juice to your white vinegar will help neutralize the rank smell of the vinegar and help prevent your kitchen and home from reeking of vinegar after you’ve cleaned.
Step 4: Prepare and apply the baking soda solution.
In a medium bowl, mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with a small amount of water – two to three tablespoons should do – until you get the consistency of a spreadable paste.
While wearing gloves, use your hands or a plastic putty spatula to spread the baking soda paste evenly on all sides of the oven, including the inside of the oven door and the oven glass, covering the whole surface but prioritizing visibly dirty areas. Feel free to apply a little extra on especially filthy areas, but avoid putting any past on the electrical or gas heating elements.
Close the oven, and allow it to sit for 10-12 hours.
Step 5: Tidy up and REST!
Do what you need to put your home together for the night, and then celebrate yourself and your work so far with some well-deserved rest! It can feel silly but deliberately acknowledging and expressing pride in how you are taking care of yourself makes a big difference in how we view these kinds of tasks. Don’t move on to more chores or other work without taking a healthy break!
Step 6: Finish cleaning the oven.
After allowing the baking soda paste to sit for 10-12 hours, wipe down the entire interior of the oven with a warm, damp rag. Don’t forget to wear your gloves for this step!
There may be some sticky, stubborn spots that fight coming off. Use an abrasive sponge or a plastic spatula to scrub or scrape them loose, wiping away the gunk once it is free.
Next, spray down the inside of your oven with the white vinegar in your spray bottle. As with the oven racks, you will see the remaining baking soda begin to foam. Once the foaming reaction ends, take a clean, warm, damp rag, and begin wiping down the oven.
Apply firm pressure and wipe in a circular motion – the sandiness of the residual baking soda will scrub up remaining filth. Rinse the rag and repeat until you have wiped down the whole oven, taking care to clear all of the foam.
Bonus Step: How to clean the oven glass to be like new.
In our experience, this baking soda and vinegar solution does a tremendous job of cleaning the streaky grease stains on oven glass, and you probably won’t need to do much more to finish it off. However, if you notice that your oven glass still needs a little bit of extra cleaning, try putting a dot of Dawn dish soap on a warm, damp microfiber rag and sudsing up the glass. Then simply rinse with a clean damp rag and dry!
Step 7: Finish cleaning the oven racks.
Return to your soaking oven racks with an abrasive sponge and scrub until you are satisfied with the clean. Wipe down with a damp rag, and place them back into your oven.
Don’t forget to empty your bathtub or bin! Make sure to clean and rinse the tub as necessary.
Step 8: You’re done cleaning, now celebrate!
I am emphatic about celebrating the completion of my chores, and I encourage you to do it as well! Reward yourself with your favorite treat, go out for a yummy lunch, or allow yourself to indulge in your favorite hobby. Not only will this feel restful, but it will train your brain to connect your favorite things to the work you do. Believe me – this will make a huge difference the next time you are facing a daunting chore!
My last note: Don’t put off maintenance! Whenever you notice your oven is looking a little bit worse for wear is the best time to make plans to clean it! The longer you wait, the more challenging it will become, and it will be that much harder to motivate yourself to cultivate this habit.
We at Master Clean USA believe that a clean, organized home can be life-changing. We exist to improve the lives of those we serve, one clean home at a time. Maintaining a clean oven can make a big difference, and we hope this guide helped you.
Are you interested in other helpful advice for keeping a clean home? Keep an eye on our blog for more awesome tips!