Are you looking for a safe home remedy for cleaning a dirty oven? Are you leery of using toxic oven cleaners, which are among the most dangerous cleaning products commercially sold for the home? Are you equally leery of scrubbing your fingers to the bone? The following dirty oven cleaning methods are gentler than the caustic chemicals you’ll find at the grocery store and are equally as effective.
Before you begin
You should already know if you have a standard, self-cleaning, or continuous-cleaning oven, but if not, go check your oven appliance manual. Self-cleaning ovens have a setting on the oven dial, and continuous-cleaning ovens burn off the food at regular temperatures every time the oven is used. You should never use commercial oven cleaners on self-cleaning or continuous-cleaning ovens.
Only standard ovens require manual cleaning, but if the heating element breaks on your self-cleaning oven, the dirty oven cleaning tips below are safe to use. A self-cleaning oven can reach temperatures of 900 degrees Fahrenheit for up to several hours, reducing the grime to a pile of ash. It is a convenient feature, but some people prefer to save the electricity and use old-fashioned elbow grease. Continuous-cleaning ovens are coated with a chemical catalyst, and you should not use any of the cleaning agents below on them.
Plan for a warm day on which you will not have to use the oven. Cover the heating elements, wires, and the light in the oven with aluminum foil.
You may want to remove the oven door to reach the inside more easily. Most oven doors can be easily removed, either by lifting up when the door is resting “ajar” (not all the way open); check for any screws you will need to remove first.
How to Clean Dirty Ovens – Without an Aerosol Can
Tip #4: Ammonia
This home remedy for cleaning a dirty oven is not a natural option, and you will need to exercise caution as you would with any chemical. Wear rubber gloves, and provide plenty of ventilation. Check to make sure your oven gaskets have a good seal. Look for torn, loose, or hardened seals. Some older ovens do not have this gasket.
Place a bowl of ¼ cup ammonia and 2 cups of warm water in your oven, and close it up tight. Leave it there for a few hours or overnight. You might wish to leave the house and take pets with you, but make sure you provide plenty of air flow from the outdoors through the kitchen if you stay home. When you are ready to clean the oven, throw the ammonia down the toilet, then clean out the dirty oven with a scrubber sponge.
Tip # 3: Homemade oven cleaner spray
This spray-on mixture is fast and easy. Mix 15 ml borax, 25 ml vegetable oil dishwashing soap, and a quart of warm water. Fill a spray bottle with this solution. Spray the surface of the oven walls, let it sit for half an hour, then scrub it clean. Rinse it thoroughly to remove all traces of the solution.
Tip # 2: Baking Soda & Vinegar
This is the best all-natural method out there. Put white vinegar in a spray bottle and moisten the walls and inner door of the oven. Then sprinkle a layer of baking soda on the bottom of the oven and the door. The layer does not have to be a thick one, but enough that it is completely covered.
Next, make a paste of ¾ cups baking soda, ½ cup salt and 3 tablespoons vinegar, then apply this paste in a thin layer to the other walls of the oven. Close the door and leave it for a few hours or overnight. Repeat the vinegar spray two or three times during this waiting time.
When you are ready to clean, take a plastic spatula and scrape up the baking soda from the bottom of the oven. Any hardened baked-on food should come up with it. Use a damp rag and warm water to wipe out the oven. To prevent future greasy buildup, apply equal parts of vinegar and water with a sponge to the walls of the oven.
A note of caution about gas ovens: Baking soda can clog the gas lines if the powder gets in the holes. Take the time to cover them with foil before you sprinkle the baking soda, or choose a different option.
Tip #1: And the Best Home Remedy for Cleaning a Dirty Oven Is…
Rope your kids into helping you! If you choose the baking soda solution, they can safely assist you in scrubbing the hard-to-reach spots, and save your back a little strain.
Heavy Duty Tips to Clean Dirty Ovens with Baked-on Gunk
Is your oven in an exceptionally gunky condition? Before you run to the store for oven cleaner, you can try the following methods.
For stubborn spots where drips have burned and crusted hard as rocks, the best thing to do is to saturate a sponge or rag in warm water and then place it on the offending area. Wait for ten minutes and then scrub it with a steel-wool scrubber, or use a plastic spatula to loosen the top layer. Repeat the process until the spot is gone.
Baked-on grease is the most difficult to remove from a dirty oven, but don’t be tricked into thinking an oven cleaner would do a better job of removing it. Even caustic chemicals don’t remove all of the baked-on grease; sometimes you just have to get in there and scrub it. A steel-wool pad will do the trick, but make sure you soften the area first using any of the above methods.
How to Clean Oven Racks
Wearing rubber gloves, put the oven racks in a large, heavy-duty garbage bag, and add one cup of ammonia. Let it sit outside overnight, then use a wire brush to remove the grime while you spray the rack with a garden hose.
Or, you can try soaking the racks in water. Line your bathtub with an old towel, then fill it with warm water and dish soap. Put the oven racks into the tub and let them soak several hours. It is not recommended that you scrub them in the tub, or you will create another greasy mess to clean.
Take the oven racks outside and scrub with a wire-bristled brush or a steel-wool pad. They should clean up equally well using either method.
Maintaining a clean oven
If you use the oven, it will get dirty, but you know what they say about an ounce of prevention. Put a cookie sheet under dishes that have the potential to spill over or drip, and be sure to cover dishes prone to spattering. For accidental drips, sprinkle salt on the mess right away, then scrape it off after the oven cools down. Do not use the oven again until you get the spill wiped up.
Cleaning a dirty oven is not for the faint-hearted, but thankfully it is not a regular household chore. If you are really careful, you can get away with cleaning it only twice a year. Once you find a solution that works for you, keep this home remedy for cleaning a dirty oven guide handy for future reference.
Are You A Clean Freak?
It’s easy to spot a clean freak when you see one in action. What’s not so easy is recognizing the signs of compulsive obsession with cleanliness when you’re the one who’s obsessing. Having a clean house doesn’t mean that you are a clean freak.