Oven Cleaning and Maintenance

Oven CleaningYour oven works hard all year round, it cooks, it boils, it bakes, it roasts, but once in a while you need to do your fair share of hard work in order to keep your oven in tip-top condition. While oven cleaning is undoubtedly one of the worst chores on the chore list, knowing the right way to do it can save some time so that you can get back to enjoying the delicious part of owning an oven.

Firstly, figure out what kind of oven you have. There are three different common types of ovens- Self-Cleaning, Continuous Cleaning or an oven with no cleaning feature. Once you’ve determined which type of oven you have you will have different cleaning methods to consider. Here are some easy step-by-step instructions for each oven type. Break out the rubber gloves, it’s time to get down and dirty.

Self-Cleaning 

  1. Prepare: Choose a time to clean the oven when your kitchen is not particularly active. Keep children and pets away for a few hours if possible. Open the windows. Your oven is about to make a whole new spectrum of interesting smells; you do not want your family to suffer inhaling these fumes.
  2. Remove the oven racks: Place your oven racks in a bath of warm water with a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Let them soak while your oven is cleaning.
  3. Self Clean: Turn on your oven’s self cleaning mode and make sure the door is locked. The oven is now going to get incredibly hot, between 800-900 degrees Fahrenheit. If for any reason your oven door will not close all of the way, make sure you put a sign up near the oven so your family knows not to open it.
  4. Wait: It will take between 2-6 hours for your oven cycle to finish. When it is done the oven will turn off and cool down.
  5. Wait Some More: Wait at least two hours before opening the door to your oven so that it has had time to appropriately cool down.
  6. Sweep: All of the dirt and grime in your oven should now have burnt down to a fine gray ash. Use a dustpan to sweep out the remnants.
  7. Finish: Clean off the oven door with soap and water. If soap and water isn’t enough try to use a mixture of 50% vinegar and 50% water. Once you’ve finished the door, scrub off the oven racks and put them back in as well.

Continuous Cleaning 

  1. Remove the oven racks: Place your oven racks in a bath of warm water with a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Let them soak while your oven is cleaning.
  2. Clean: Wipe down the inside of the oven with a damp sponge. If you reach a tough spot use a 50% vinegar and 50% water mix instead of abrasive sponges or chemicals. Continuous cleaning ovens are particularly sensitive and can be destroyed easily with harsh chemicals or aggressive cleaning.
  3. Finish: Clean off the oven door with soap and water. If soap and water isn’t enough, use some more of your vinegar and water mixture. Once you’ve finished the door, scrub off the oven racks and put them back in as well.

It’s ok if you have to do it manually!

  1. Prepare: Choose a time to clean when your kitchen is not particularly active. Open the windows as some of the fumes may be strong.
  2. Remove the oven racks: Place your racks in a bath of warm water with a few drops of dish washing liquid. Let them soak while your cleaning.
  3. Prepare a cleaning mixture: Fill a 1 liter spray bottle with 4 tablespoons of baking soda, fill the rest with water and shake the bottle up.
  4. Spray: Spray down all sides , including the top and the bottom.
  5. Wait: Wait an hour or so and let your magic mix do the cleaning. After one hour test an area to see if the hardened carbon has loosened. If your oven walls are still rock hard, spray it down again and give it another hour.
  6. Scrape: Using a small scraper (just like the kind you use for the ice on your car) chip away the blackened carbon inside. Use more baking soda/water as needed to continue loosening the pieces.
  7. Spray Again: Yup, the whole thing, one more time.
  8. Wait Again: Wait one more hour
  9. Clean: Wipe the remaining char out. Wipe the whole oven down with a solution of 50% water and 50% vinegar.
  10. Finish: Clean off the door with soap and water. Once you’ve finished the door, scrub off the racks and put them back in as well.
  11. Enjoy

Some tips and tricks for maintenance between heavy-duty oven cleanings

  • Keep a baking sheet on the lowest rack to catch oven spills
  • Clean spills right after they happen. It will be much easier to clean the oven when the spill is fresh than it will be once your pie has turned into carbon rock.
  • Wipe down your oven once a week to prevent heavy build up.

While you’re at it, make sure you pull your oven out and sweep, mop and vacuum underneath it. If you are feeling particularly ambitious make a day of it and tackle your stove top as well!


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