Easy Homemade Oven Cleaner

oven-before-after

Today’s post is sponsored by the word: PROCRASTINATION. :-)  It’s a very fitting word for this particular subject matter…because I think if there were a competition for who could procrastinate a particularly onerous chore like cleaning the oven the longest….I would definitely be on top of the winners’ platform showing off my GOLD medal! But wait, it gets WORSE! Before I even got to the procrastinating point….I spent a LONG time RATIONALIZING why I didn’t need to clean the oven in the first place.

“No one sees it besides me!”     “It’s not THAT bad!” (As it went from bad to WORSE!)      “No ones cares what the inside looks like….do they?”

Well, while they might not necessarily CARE….they do notice.  One Sunday a few months ago my daughter in college and her boyfriend came for Sunday dinner, and during the preparations she actually had the NERVE to point out that the oven was pretty dirty.  Unfortunately (fortunately?) that’s what it took to jar me out of my stupor of rationalization and catapult me into the realms of PROCRASTINATION. Which is where I have stayed for the last couple of months.
Thankfully I came across something that piqued my curiosity enough to FINALLY move me into ACTION. It was an article about how to clean your oven using ammonia. Much like the post I did back in January about how to clean your stove burner pans with ammonia. Now we were getting somewhere! I absolutely DETEST the smell, the mess and the cost of store-bought oven cleaners! Not to mention all the nasty chemicals!  This homemade oven cleaner works overnight to loosen and dissolve grease and baked on foods. It’s inexpensive, and it’s much less harsh than typical store-bought products. Although it doesn’t magically clean your oven, this homemade oven cleaner makes a  a difficult job much easier than simply rubbing and scrubbing. Trust me on this.

So without further ado….here’s how it works:

Begin by preheating the oven to 150 degrees F. While the oven is heating, put on a pot of water to boil. Once the oven has reached 150 F, turn it off and pour 1 cup of ammonia into a heat safe bowl or baking dish and place it on the top rack of the oven. Place the pot of boiling water on the bottom rack, close the oven door, and leave them both in the oven overnight.

 

 

The next morning, open the oven and remove both the bowl of ammonia and the pot of water. Don’t dispose of the ammonia; you’ll want to use it later. Remove the racks and leave the oven door open to air out for 15 minutes. Add 1-2 teaspoons of liquid dish soap to the ammonia, along with a quart of warm water, and using a heavy-duty nylon scrubbing pad dipped in the ammonia mixture, begin to wipe away the softened grease and grime along the sides and bottom of the oven. It should be a fairly easy job at this point. Wear some kitchen gloves, since ammonia can be caustic to skin. However, I found it interesting that the ammonia was WAY LESS powerful smelling after having sat overnight in the oven.

 

 I sprinkled some baking soda on the glass to help cut through the gunk. Worked like a charm!

 

Keeping in mind how greasy and grimy my oven was from years of PROCRASTIZATION…(yes, I meant to spell it that way…it’s a new word I just made up)…I had to do this process TWICE! If I had been willing to spend the entire day at it, I probably could have finished after one overnight ammonia treatment, but the whole idea was NOT to have to scrub until you think you’re going to expire from the fumes and the effort!  So I decided to let the ammonia do it’s thing for one more night. FOR ME (procrastization girl!) it was just the ticket! The next day the rest of the oven cleaned up ALMOST effortlessly. Honestly, the hardest part was just being able to reach in far enough to scrub off the back wall! If I had 6 feet long arms it would have made this job MUCH easier. :-)

So yes, I am sold on this it

Pictures don’t lie. :-)

 Perfect? No. VASTLY IMPROVED? Yes!

A Couple of Warnings:

UPDATE: This should not be done on gas ovens unless the pilot light is out and the gas has been turned off.

Never mix ammonia with other strong cleaning agents, such as bleach or commercial oven cleaners.

 

Want to know how I got the oven RACKS all shiny clean???

You’ll have to come back tomorrow to find out. :-)

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Comments

  1. Heather says

    I had to clean a spill out of my oven a few months ago and was struggling with reaching way into the back. My husband walked in and suggested that I just take off the door. How did he know this and I did not!! Anyway, apparently most oven doors just lift straight up and come off. Makes it much easier to reach the back.

    • Jillee says

      NOW YOU TELL ME!!!!!! lol!!! argh! That was probably the hardest part. Oh well….live and learn. :-) Thanks for sharing!!

      • Shola says

        Wow really?! lol. I will give that a try. I’m still procrastizing about cleaning mine at the mo:)

      • Linda G. says

        Yes, I saw this in Pinterest and I know this is kind of late but most oven door will come off if you open the door to a 45 degree angle or so and then pull upward/outward on the door (it should pull off of the hinges). Some doors are more stubborn than others. I detest this job, too! I have also used ‘Dawn Power Dissolver’ for this job. I cannot say it has worked this good at the ease of it but I cannot stand the over cleaner stuff. A man told me about the Dawn because he was cleaning his grill with it.

      • says

        I take a plastic baggie fill it with the baking soda paste then snip off the end. I use it like a pastry bag to reach onto the rack holders on the sides of the oven and into corners. :-D

    • Liz F says

      Some of them don’t–like my current oven. D’OH! Who thought that was a good idea?! I managed to get a chemical burn on my arm from cleaning it when we moved into this rental (because it never got cleaned by the previous tenants, and apparently the cleaning people didn’t see fit to clean it.) Will definitely remember this trick for next time!

    • says

      Heather, I was just getting ready to say mention this! My wife and I did cleaning and painting for landlords some time back and the ovens were filthy. It makes it so very much easier to take the door off!

  2. lor says

    It’s been years since I cleaned my oven because I hate the job so much. I think I can now tackle it with
    your trick. Thanks!

  3. Akhila says

    Looks like it’s time for me to clean my oven. I can’t wait to start scrubbing thanks for the push :)

  4. Lauralee says

    I was right in your boat thinking I could do this UNTIL you said no way for GAS ovens. Now what am I going to do? I guess I’ll just wait another year, rationalize and blame it on you!

    • Jillee says

      Lauralee….I did a little more research and have updated the original post with this:

      UPDATE: This should not be done on gas ovens unless the pilot light is out and the gas has been turned off.

      So sorry….can’t blame it on me anymore! :-P lol!!

      • Becka says

        But how do you heat the oven if the pilot is off and the gas is turned off? I too was all about this until the Gas oven update…. Thanks Jillee! You are awesome!

      • Amy says

        There has got to be away for us to heat the oven to 200 or higher (giving us lag time) Then Shut the gas off and blow out the pilot for the night. Surely that will work? I’m putting my husband on this mission as well. I emailed Jillie a while back for an oven solution! THIS HAS GOT TO WORK! LOL!

      • Jillee says

        I would think that would be fine Amy. As long as the gas is off and the pilot light is out. Let us know how it goes.

      • Patti's Paraphernalia says

        I have a gas oven, but it has electronic ignition, so there is no pilot light. Once the oven is turned off, after heating, there is no danger. I think many newer ovens probably have this. When I turn mine on it does a rapid clicking, which is an electric “spark” to ignite the gas. I’ve never had any problem with any cleaning product in it. It is a good idea, however, to empty the drawer under the oven (if you have one) so that any cleaning solution that does drip through doesn’t damage whatever might be stored in it. I keep my large baking sheets and pizza stones in it. Great post, Jill!

      • Pam says

        What about an electric oven with a gas stove over it? Do you still need to have the pilot lights out on all the burners?

      • Leeanne says

        I’ve used a paste of baking soda on my oven to remove the grease. Just let it sit for 20-30 minutes and the scrub off. After you are done scrubbing you could let it dry and then vacuum the baking soda off, otherwise you will have to wipe off the surfaces several times to remove the residue.

      • Cheryl says

        My oven is gas but has an electic pilot which only comes on when the oven is turned on. Do I still need to pull the stove out and turn off the gas supply?? What a job that’ll be trying to climb behind it. My oven needs cleaning really bad but not sure if getting behind the stove is even doable.

      • Patti's Paraphernalia says

        I wouldn’t think that you’d have to turn the gas off. Since there’s no pilot light, there’s no gas coming out of the pilot light burner. The gas only turns on when the igniter is going. I know this because my stove is useless if our electricity is out…I can’t even ignite burners with matches.

    • Tasha says

      I would just unplug the oven, most relatively new ovens have a safety that will not allow gas to flow if it is unplugged. In case of say a power outage, because it wouldn’t be cool to have gas still flowing but the flame is out.
      I will probably try this in the near future! :-)

  5. Casey says

    Oh Jillee~ I began to daydream on how my oven would look…but alas…it’s gas…(HAHA) seriously though…guess I will have to do it the *hard* way ;)

    • Jillee says

      Casey….I did a little more research and have updated the original post with this:

      UPDATE: This should not be done on gas ovens unless the pilot light is out and the gas has been turned off.

      so there’s still hope! ;-)

  6. Terri says

    You are so great! And now I’m doing this tonight. Your pics are great and super motivating! I feel like you’re my neighbor! Thanks, love seeing what you do.

  7. Marianne says

    I’m going to try this! Previously I had just been sprinkling baking soda in the oven, spraying it with plain water, then scrubbing away. The flaw in this technique is you can’t sprinkle baking soda on the sides or top of the oven.

    • jen says

      You make a paste og baking soda and water. It sticks to the sides. I use only this. I do not have to scrub either. The alkaline baking soda neutralizes the acidic grease and cuts right through. Just have to wipe several times and keep rinsing youe sponge or rag. To me that is way better than scrubbing and smelling ammonia or commercial oven cleaner. I have a 1970s gas stove and this works beautifully. The first time I did this I did not even realize my oven was blue on the inside – it was that dirty!

  8. Linda says

    I have a new stove and the oven is a vigrin LOL I do not use my oven since I got parrots. But do like your cleaning idea. I cannot use ammonia due to the odor that parrots cannot have around them, even in the next room with an odor as strong as ommonia. I am passing this idea on to my daughter, daugterh in laws and granddaughters. I always look forward to your posts and your great ideas. Take care.

    • Stephani says

      Forgive my ignorence but what do parrots and an oven have to do with eachother?

      • Kat says

        She said she does not USE her oven since she got parrots. Maybe an explanation on that one for those of us who don’t have birds would help?

      • Sarah says

        You should not use the ammonia because parrots (most birds for that matter) have respiratory systems that can’t filter that stuff out very well and it will hurt them, possibly kill them, etc. This is why canaries were used in the mines, their respiratory systems would give out long before the miners would be in trouble.
        FYI to the woman that posted this, using your oven with parrots will not hurt them, we have a goffin cockatoo for 10 plus years now and we use the oven with him in the same room all the time with no trouble. I would still avoid the cleaner though… Also, FYi some more, I used her magic paste on our oven for the same reason (can’t use ammonia with the bird) and didn’t have the time to let it sit overnight… you have to use a little more elbow grease that way, but if you coat your oven with the paste, let it sit for at least an hour and then scrub with a sponge, it works amazingly well. :D

  9. Gale says

    Thanks for another great tip! My oven is a self-cleaning one, but like all others I’ve owned, I’m too afraid to use the self cleaning feature because they get so hot. I’m off work next week for Spring Break, so I’ll be adding this to my “to do” list!

    • Monica L. says

      Gale, I used the self cleaning option once and yes, I was afraid of the heat (cause it gets reaaaalllyyyy hot), but not only that, the second thing that scared me was the fume and at that time I didn’t know and I had a C-Section and a newborn at home, so I had to open all the doors and windows, exhaust fans and every single fan that I have at home so the fumes won’t reach my room with my baby. So I guess the ammonia is better, but I hava a gas oven/stove, so I don’t know where to shut the gas and the pilot light :( I’ll try to figure out :)

      • Patti's Paraphernalia says

        If your stove has electronic ignition, you won’t have to turn off the gas.

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