Saturday, December 28, 2013

How To Easily Clean Your Oven

How To Clean Your Oven

The holidays have been rough on my oven! Even though we actually purchased a NEW range back in July (we won’t talk about the unfortunate cookie fire that led to the demise of the original one) all the cooking I’ve been doing the last month has taken its toll.

So for today’s “Save My Sanity Saturday” post, I decided to revisit my original post about a super easy way to clean your oven that doesn’t involve buying expensive store-bought cleaners…and doesn’t involve massive amounts of elbow grease.

The “method” is much like the method I use to clean my nasty stove burners (click HERE to see the that post.) It 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.

Before we get started….a couple of important warnings:

  • If you have a gas over (like I do!) make sure 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.

OK….now we can get started.

 

How To Easily Clean Your Oven:

Begin by preheating the oven to 150 degrees F.

How To Clean Your Oven

While the oven is heating, put on a pot of water to boil.

 

 

How To Clean Your Oven

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.

 

 

How To Clean Your Oven

Place the pot of boiling water on the bottom rack, close the oven door, and leave them both in the oven overnight.

 

How To Clean Your Oven

Picture from original post.

 

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.

How To Clean Your Oven

How To Clean Your Oven 

Because my oven wasn’t as dirty as the first time I posted about this method (thankfully!) the gunk that WAS there cleaned up almost effortlessly! The hardest thing continued to be trying to reach the back wall of the oven. (If I was brave enough I would have taken off the oven door like someone suggested last time I posted about this problem. But I wasn’t.)

 

If you have the patience (and who doesn’t when it comes to getting around to cleaning the oven?) I promise this will be the easiest way to clean your oven you’ve ever tried!

 

(For an ALMOST effortless way to clean your oven RACKS……click HERE.)

 

How do you clean your oven?

 


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59 thoughts on “How To Easily Clean Your Oven

  1. Peta

    Hi, my name is Peta. I HATE cleaning an oven (especially when I always leave a long time because I HATE cleaning an oven). 1st: Be brave. It is so much easier to take off the door. Your owners manual will tell you how to do it. 2nd: My mother worked for many years in a restaurant kitchen & this was how they never had to clean the oven. When the oven was cooling but not cold (if the oven still holds a lot of heat it will just dry the detergent) they made mixture of warm water & dishwashing detergent & sprayed the interiors of all the ovens. The next morning they just wiped them out. Must have worked because I never saw my mother use caustic or spend half a day cleaning the oven like I have because I HATE cleaning ovens. Becasue I HATE cleaning ovens with my new oven I have been doing this & a quick wipe is all it takes.

    Reply
  2. Tamara

    I doubt that ammonia is a very healthy solution for this. In my experience a mix 1/2 baking soda- 1/2 salt is more than enough to clean even the toughest dirt. I preheat the oven to 50-70 *C, scrub with a the mix and let it sit for a while… rinse it and voila’.

    Reply
  3. Mary

    This one seems like alot of work and not “easy”. Be sure the pilot light is off and the gas turned off ?? Overnight ? And still have to wipe it in the AM. And I’m with Tamara not sure about the ammonia odor being left. LOVE your site for so many things, but this one I might pass.

    Reply
    1. Kim

      I have a self cleaning oven and I have never used the self-cleaning method. Like my stove top, I wipe my oven out once it has cooled. If a dish is particularly messy I will place a baking sheet pan on the bottom rack to catch the mess or after the meal I might spray it down with Dawn dish soap and water, let sit until the hand washing is done then wipe clean. In my old oven I had to worry about getting water in between the glass window and with my new oven not so much. Ive had this range for three years and there have been no water streaks and my oven looks just about new.

      This is not to say that you have to clean your oven daily. My mother use to clean hers Spring and fall with the occasional clean for big messes such as pies. I just hate cleaning the oven so I started cleaning this way about 16-17 years ago and found it much easier and there has been less procrastination on my part.

      Reply
  4. Nadine

    Also never put anything wet on the glass. I did when cleaning and now I have water streaks between the glass in both my oven doors.Drives me crazy to see these streaks and I cannot get them off without dismantling the entire door which I don’t want to do. Lesson learned.

    Reply
  5. applemary

    Good Morning Jillee! I am cleaning my (gas)stove top burners as we speak. Thank You! Now I’m thinking about tackling my glass fireplace doors. talk about soot!!!! Happy New Year, Jillee!

    Reply
  6. Wendy

    Sounds easy enough but I have a QUESTION? I have a new gas stove but it does not have a pilot light like the older ones do. It has an electronic start. What do I do about that? I would be concerned since it is gas and not sure if that would make a difference.

    Reply
  7. Delores

    Taking the oven door off is easy. Partially open the door. It’ll catch when it’s about 3″ open. Lift the door off. It just slides on the spring hinges. It has no screws or any- thing complicated – it just slides on an off the hinges.

    Reply
  8. Kristin

    Here’s an even easier and safer method using baking soda and vinegar:

    1. Coat the bottom of your oven with baking soda.

    2. Pour or spray white, distilled vinegar on top of the baking soda – don’t flood it, use just enough to moisten the baking soda and get it bubbling. You can dilute the vinegar with water if you wish.

    3. Close the door and let sit from 4 hours to overnight.

    4. Open the oven and use rags to scrape off the baking soda. When most of the baking soda/vinegar solution is off, use a sponge and scrub the remainder of the grease off.

    5. In the rest of the oven, scrub any grease spots withe the baking soda and vinegar. If necessary, use a razor to scrape any hard to remove spots from the glass part of the door.

    Note: don’t mix baking soda and vinegar in a closed bottle because they cause an expansive reaction.

    Reply
  9. Karen

    I have tried the baking soda version and it didn’t work for me. I put the stove burner grates in a plastic bag and pour in a little ammonia. Tie the bag shut and let it sit overnight. By morning everything practically rinses off, so I’d like to try this, but have a gas stove and didn’t know if the ammonia would be safe in a gas stove. What do you think, Jillee?

    Reply
      1. Christine

        Just to clarify, do you mean the gas is off meaning using the controls on the front of the oven, or turning off the gas behind the stove using the shutoff valve, as if you were going to disconnect it?

        Reply
  10. PattyB

    I also hate cleaning ovens. Used to use the old lye cleaners way back when because I didn’t know of any other way. Ammonia isn’t as harmful as lye and it works so well. I do have an auto-clean oven but the inside glass on the door cracked and I don’t want to use that feature any more.

    If you are afraid of ammonia then I hope you don’t use Windex. I just open the windows, turn on the stove fan, use rubber gloves and a mask ( I have a lung disorder) and get busy. This is the easiest way I have found to do this nasty job.

    Reply
  11. Lani

    I just installed a new electric oven. It specifically warns against using ammonia in the oven. So, I think this may not work for me. The oven also has a steam clean feature. It’s pretty worthless. Although it does soften the grease making it easier to clean off. I rarely used the self cleaning feature on the previous oven because it cause the oven to malfunction the first time I used it.

    Reply
  12. Kathleen

    I would like to be able to use this type of oven cleaning. The problem is that ammonia is a very dangerous and harsh cleaning agent. It is also one that I am allergic to. Bleach is also a item that is very dangerous and should be used very carefully. My allergies to these two items was caused by the improper use of bleach by another person and my later exposure to it. Please post another type of cleaner that works well for ovens as an alternative. Thanks. ksinc33

    Reply
    1. mdoe37

      I would look at Kristin’s baking soda/vinegar method above. I’ve used it. It works. But while it works, it does require more elbow grease because the stronger chemical is not there.

      You certainly can’t expect the blogger to take into account every single person’s allergies and sensitivities. I don’t typically use a lot of ammonia, but I am certainly going to give this one a round. Ammonia is what it is and it does require a bit of caution. I’ve been doing this housewife thing for a number of years, I think I probably won’t even bother to break out the rubber gloves for this event.

      And to the person who asked if you should clean an oven. Well, yes. But if you don’t care what it looks like inside and don’t ever let anyone else see…..don’t bother.

      Reply
    2. Kathy

      I have a rather new Frigidaire stove and it does have a self-cleaning oven. While my old stove was also self-cleaning and I used that feature without any issues, I have been afraid to use the feature on this one since reading warnings like the ones here. Perhaps the new ones heat up more. Anyway, when I decided to clean this oven I used Kirsten’s method only used just water instead of vinegar & turned on the oven for a few minutes to let it get hot. Then I turned it off, left it over night and washed it off in the morning. Used some of the excess as I washed it off to do the walls which really weren’t bad at all. I also used the excess on the door and glass. It worked great; the hardest part was removing every bit of the baking soda. I might have used a little more than necessary! Adding the vinegar sounds like a good idea, but it’s not necessary if you are opposed to the use of vinegar.

      Reply
  13. Jan

    I would like to know if your oven has to be warm or hot with the moist towels?

    I am allergic to using any ammonia or bleach, so I am looking for another method.

    Combined with a bad back it is something that I do not do. I put a foil tray on bottom, mostly only cook baked potatoes and half a meatloaf or chicken breast, often my potatoes explode.

    Years ago I had a big old oven, and as it was still warm, but not hot or cold, I would just wipe it down, and everything would come right off while warm! What a great old thing it was! I’ve got a new (3 yr old) oven, and it’s just not the same.

    What can I use that is safe for someone with allergies and asthma? These harsh products are not possible at all for me.

    Thank you so much, in advance for any info.

    Reply
  14. comet

    @JAN—–

    To prevent potato explosions use a long tined cooking fork –a granny fork—-to pierce the potatoes deeply before you put them in the oven. You can also use a skewer or a “Potato Nail” can be inserted and left in while they bake. This allows any steam pressure to vent and stop those annoying and messy bombs in the oven! Or you can bake potatoes—pierced—in your crockpot and avoid the over altogether!

    Most oven spills can be cleaned if the oven is warm and you get some steam going in there—you can place an old wet cotton towel on the floor or over a spot and let it sit and wipe stuff off. Like cleaning the micro wave with steam this loosens the gunk and lets you wipe it out. No method is going to be no-wipe except a self cleaner (which I have never owned and scare the you-know outta me!) but these are easier than scraping away baked on spills with a spatula or razor blade!

    I can’t use oven cleaner sprays as we have an open house layout and birds—this is even worse for birds than humans! We also have three people with severe asthma so we don’t use many chemicals at all.

    Reply
  15. CTY

    I preheat the oven to 300 F while boiling water on the stove. Once the water boils I add lemon slices to the water & place in the oven. I then turn the oven off and let it set–with the door closed for several hours or overnight. In the morning I wipe with hot soapy water.

    Reply
  16. Joy

    Ammonia is just as toxic and detrimental to health as the noxious store bought chemicals.

    Why not just use the tried and tested soda bicarbonate with white vinegar, made into a paste and leave on…or more realistically , why let your oven get in such a state in the first place? Clean it up after every use…doh

    Reply
  17. Autumn

    Is there a way to do this with a single rack toaster oven? Ours is pretty large, holds a 12″ pizza, and because our stove is so old, and it’s just the two of us, we use the toaster over for pretty much everything, but it’s due a good clean and I am having issues finding safe, low chemical ways to do it…

    Reply
  18. Yvone

    I used to clean my oven racks in the bathtub with ammonia, but since I have a vinyl bathtub I don’t but will definitely try this for my oven.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  19. Debbie

    Don’t clean oven very often, buy 5 years ago bought a silicone oven pad from Bed, Bath &Beyond for about $12 and it has made a world of difference for cleaning spills and drips. The sides I use baking sofa and vinegar still.

    Reply
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  21. Heather

    For the love of Pete…. I just dont get it. And to be quiet honest I tell myself to NOT read the comments.
    People really these blogs are simple ” hey I used this for cheap, easy or diy method” not this is what you have to get out here and do right now, this second and to the dang T.
    Not to mention this site is for our enjoyment but when you get people on here complaining about it didnt work, or its too harmful or my allergies, your allergies, you cant use this or that blah blah blah….. Last I checked we are all grown ADULTS and if you dont feel its right for you then by all means dont do it or try it, but dont blast the page for it. This seriously makes me want to quit reading these comments are on every single thing she posts.. Its a shame. SMH

    Reply
  22. Ruthann

    I ALWAYS use my self cleaning cycle and have twice a year for 14 years and my oven works just fine, thank you. I paid extra for that and have never heard that it is harmful to the appliance.

    Having said that, I think your ammonia solution is dandy. ammonia is a GREAT cleaner for lots of things. Keep up the good work, Jillee.

    Reply
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  29. manda

    First, I’ve never cleaned an oven before (I know, yuck). I doubt the previous owner cleaned it either, unless the house keeper did it once it a blue moon. I’ve been meaning to do this for a year. While its working, I wouldn’t say this is “easy”, there is quite a bit of elbow grease required. Not complaining, just want others to know this isn’t like magic either. I may go back afterwards with a little baking soda and vinegar for tough spots and see how that does. Thanks for the tip though! I didn’t want to use that canned oven cleaner, so this was helpful!

    Reply
  30. Roxie

    Try adding some Dawn dish soap to the vinegar and baking soda. Dawn is an excellent degreaser. I also use Dawn in a spray bottle, fairly concentrated and spray on spot on clothes a couple hours before washing. Also can put it directly on clothes for those really stubborn stains. Else soak overnight in pail with Dawn and water. You choose

    Reply
  31. Lesley

    Just tried to do this and I’ve been meaning to try it for ages. The smell of ammonia was so strong throughout the house that my husband threw it out after about 20 mins in the oven! I’m sure the oven is not clean but our eyes are watering! I must have done something wrong

    Reply

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