The oven is on our minds and in our hearts today as we tackle Spring Cleaning in our kitchens. We love celebrating the underdogs of the kitchen. The mighty workhorses that make our lives much easier, but sometimes these trusty appliances go under appreciated and unnoticed. Especially when it comes to keeping them clean.
If you’re like me, it’s easy to spill in the oven, make a big mess and horrible smell, and close the door and forget all about it until the next time I turn on the oven and fill the house with smoke. I love to procrastinate cleaning my oven, mostly just because it feels hard. But we’ve got some tricks to help get your oven sparkling clean. And without a lot of hassle, so you might even do it more than once a year.
Here’s why we are avoiding the “Self- Cleaning” method:
- It’s a gamble every time you use your Self-Cleaning feature. With the temperatures reaching upwards of 1000 Degrees F during the cleaning cycle it can certainly wreak havoc on your appliance. This can cause the fuse to pop or the control panel (which runs everything digital in your oven) to burn out. Both of which are expensive repairs.
- So why is there a self-cleaning feature at all? Manufacturers have a hard time selling an oven without the feature, but it seems that it is really asking too much of your oven. The more you use it, the weaker your system gets which can lead to an early demise. A literal meltdown.
So we challenge you to try one of these methods:
Overnight Cleaning with Ammonia
This is certainly the smelliest method. But the easiest in terms of “elbow grease.” First, you need just 3 supplies. Ammonia, an oven-safe bowl, and a sponge. Then just follow these simple instructions:
- Pour about ¼ cup of ammonia in the oven-safe bowl.
- Place the bowl in the oven and let it sit overnight with the oven turned OFF.
- The ammonia fumes will soften all the gunk overnight so in the morning you can just wipe it clean with a sponge.
Overnight Cleaning with Vinegar and Baking Soda
This time you’ll need a few more materials:
- Paper towels
- Small bowl
- White vinegar
- Baking Soda
- Spray bottle
Once you gather all your materials, you’re ready to get cleaning!
- Take out the oven racks and set them aside. Clean those in the sink later (Read more about that below).
- Mix baking soda with water in a small bowl to create a paste-like mixture. Start with the baking soda then slowly add a few drops of water at a time until it’s nice and thick. Depending on the size of your oven, you may need a couple batches of this mixture to completely coat the inside. If your mixture becomes too runny, just add more baking soda.
- Spread the paste over the inside of your oven, covering the bottom and all sides. The baking soda may start to turn brown, this is fine. It’s just pulling up the grease and grime. Close the oven door and let it sit overnight, or for at least 12 hours.
- In the morning, wipe the baking soda mixture out with the paper towels, removing as much as possible.
- Add the white vinegar to your spray bottle and spray the inside of your oven, especially where you have any baking soda residue. Then wipe it clean with more paper towels.
- Now put the oven racks back in and dry the oven by turning it on at 200 degrees for about 15 minutes.
The “Speed” Method with Baking Soda Paste
- Warm water
- White vinegar
- Baking pan with sides
- Spray bottle
- Baking soda
- Bowl of water
- Plastic spatula
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Fill the baking pan halfway with warm water and add about a cup of white vinegar.
- Place the pan on the middle oven rack and bake for about an hour.
- Turn the oven off, but leave the baking pan inside with the door closed for about another hour, until it cools completely.
- Remove the baking pan and oven racks.
- Spray the inside of your oven with white vinegar then sprinkle the bottom with baking soda. Let the mixture foam for about 5 minutes.
- Use a wet sponge to wipe out the oven. If there are any food chunks left behind, use a plastic spatula to scrape them off.
- Rinse the sponge. Fill a bowl with clean water and use this and your sponge to wipe out any vinegar and baking soda residue.
The most convenient way to clean oven racks is to remove them from the oven and tackle the job in the sink. A little scrubbing with steel wool and a mild dish detergent usually does the job. Soak stubbornly soiled oven racks in a tub of ammonia for about 15 minutes to loosen the burned-on grime. As with the interior of your oven, wiping racks regularly as spills occur makes it easier to keep them clean. Make it a part of your dish-washing routine to wipe down the racks after your oven cools.
We are cheering you on! Go get that oven ready for a surprise visit from your mom!