How to Clean Your Oven Like a Pro

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Get ready to serve dinner from a cleaner (and safer) oven.

Make your oven sparkle with these pro cleaning tips

It’s important to know how to clean household appliances so they stay spotless and can run efficiently. You may know how to clean your microwave and how to clean your stove top, but do you know how to properly clean your oven? If not, read on to learn how to clean your oven like a pro. Your oven will be sparkling in no time!

Why is it important to clean your oven?

There are many reasons why it’s important to clean your oven. For starters, bacteria can build up and cause your oven to become unsanitary. No one wants to cook in an oven that’s filled with germs and bacteria—your family could get sick, after all.

Johnny Pallares, owner of De La Rosa House Cleaning, says another reason it’s important to clean your oven is because a dirty oven may not be efficient. “Old food can damage the heating coils on the bottom of your oven, making it harder to cook your food,” Pallares says.

Cooking with a dirty oven can also be a safety hazard. Frank Berger, CEO of You’ve Got Maids, says grease left in your oven can catch fire. If this happens to you, the key is to act fast. “Turn the oven off and keep the oven door closed to smother the fire,” Berger explains. “Opening the oven door only feeds the flame more oxygen making the fire worse.” If the fire doesn’t go out quickly, call 911 right away.

And unless you want your meals to have a smokey flavor to them, you must clean your oven, especially if food falls on the racks or on the coils. If those crumbs aren’t cleaned up, they can burn each time you use the oven and impact your meal’s flavor. You work hard to prepare great meals (even when they’re easy dinner ideas)—don’t let that burnt smell and flavor ruin them!

How often should you clean your oven?

Pallares recommends cleaning your oven every three months if you use it regularly. However, if you see excess food that’s fallen in your oven, clean it up as soon as the oven is cool. That way, the food won’t be left in your oven and have a chance to burn the next time you cook. You can use your judgment, too. If you’ve been using your oven more often, or have been cooking messier meals, clean it as soon as you see grease and grime building up.

What happens if you don’t clean your oven?

If you don’t clean your oven, you risk:

  • Your oven not working properly.
  • Bacteria building up in your oven.
  • Your kitchen and home smelling like burnt food whenever you use your oven.
  • A fire hazard—leftover food can catch fire in the oven.

Can you use the oven self-cleaner option?

Yes, you can use the self-cleaner option on your oven. Here are some tips Berger has for this option:

  • Empty the oven cooking chamber to reduce the possibility of fire.
  • Remove the grates, food debris, and leftover pieces of tinfoil from the oven.
  • Once your self-cleaning oven cools down, be prepared to wipe out the residue with a cleaning cloth to make the oven sparkle.

Head here to learn more about self-cleaning ovens.

Senior man working in gardenJevtic/Getty Images

What are some store-bought cleaner options?

If you’re at the store and looking for a commercial oven cleaner, Pallares has a recommendation for you. “We use an oven cleaner product called Big Punch,” Pallares says. “It is an instant active oven and grill grease remover. You let it sit for five minutes and it eats away all the grease.” Pallares does say this is a strong cleaner, so if you do use it, make sure you wear cleaning gloves.

Berger says Easy-Off is a popular store-bought oven cleaner. However, if you do use this cleaner, make sure the oven is off before you use it. Berger also urges people not to inhale the fumes. If you need to stock up on more cleaning products, here are some of the most trusted cleaning products in America.

What are some natural oven cleaner options?

If you don’t want to use store-bought oven cleaners, you can always create natural oven cleaners with common household items. Berger has two natural oven cleaning solutions you can easily make.

The first one involves baking soda:

  • Mix a half cup of baking soda with just enough water to create a paste.
  • Spread the paste all over the surfaces of your empty and cool oven.
  • Let it sit overnight and wipe away in the morning.

P.S.—don’t forget to bookmark these brilliant baking soda uses!

The other homemade cleaning solution Berger recommends includes vinegar—he calls in “Grandma’s Green All-Purpose Cleaner”:

  • Fill an empty spray bottle with a half cup of white distilled vinegar.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda, and wait for the fizzing to stop.
  • Add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oils for your preferred aroma.
  • Fill the rest of the bottle with tap water and get ready to spray.

Berger says if you do use this spray, wipe it up with either cotton cleaning cloths or paper towels. Don’t use microfiber cloths because this solution will ruin them. You have to see this three-ingredient oven cleaning hack—it’s a game-changer.

Parts of the oven to clean

While cleaning the main part of your oven is important, you need to make sure you’re cleaning the smaller parts, too. Clean the knobs, dials, and buttons on your oven to remove grease, grime, germs, and bacteria. No one likes touching a sticky oven knob. Pallares also says to clean the oven window on the inside and outside. “People forget to do this all the time, so we have cleaned a lot of very dirty oven windows,” Pallares says. Needless to say, cleaning oven glass is important! Berger also recommends cleaning the oven racks in the sink.

Things you shouldn’t use to clean your oven

Pallares doesn’t recommend using bleach to clean your oven. “Bleach will discolor the coat on the inside of your oven,” he explains. “You also don’t want your food to smell like bleach.” While bleach can be used to disinfect surfaces, it’s better to use cleaners that are specifically tough on grease and grime when cleaning the oven. Make sure you aren’t making these other bleach mistakes, either.

How to keep your oven clean

The key to keeping your oven clean is to be proactive and attentive. If you see crumbs on the bottom of your oven, clean them out as quickly as possible so they don’t burn. If you see grease and grime building up, clean your oven so it works properly and stays sanitary. Mark your calendar in advance and make a note to clean your oven on specific days. That way, you won’t forget! Next, scroll through these jaw-dropping before and after oven cleaning photos you have to see to believe.