Wondering how to clean an oven without using any harsh chemicals or high heat? We don’t blame you. Cleaning the oven is one of those jobs that feels more like a weekend project than just another task to check off the cleaning to-do list.
And the process leaves plenty to be desired: You can either use the self-cleaning function and deal with the fumes as it burns off grease and residue at 600 degrees, or use a highly toxic oven cleaner that can burn your skin. There’s an easier way! Just clean your oven with baking soda and vinegar.
It’s safe, natural, and gets the job done. Here, we’ll walk you through how to clean an oven using baking soda and other supplies you probably already have in your kitchen pantry. We can’t say you’ll start to look forward to cleaning your oven, but it will definitely feel like less of a smelly ordeal.
1. Gather Your Materials
To thoroughly clean your oven, you’ll need the following cleaning supplies:
- Baking soda
- Rubber gloves
- Spray bottle
2. Remove the Oven Racks
Take out the oven racks and set them aside. Be sure to remove any additional items, such as thermometers or pans.
3. Make a Paste
Mix a half a cup of baking soda and a half a cup of water together until it makes a spreadable paste. You’ll be coating the entire oven, so make enough to cover the whole surface—just double the recipe if you need more paste.
4. Apply the Paste
Spread the paste all over the interior of the oven (you may want to wear rubber gloves to protect your hands—it’s a pretty dirty job, and the grime will get under your fingernails if you go gloveless). Stay clear of the heating elements as you apply the paste. Be sure to cover those extra greasy spots and don’t worry if the paste is thicker in some areas. The paste will begin to turn brown as it comes in contact with the grease.
5. Let the Paste Sit for At Least 12 Hours (Or Overnight)
Once you’ve completely covered the oven with the baking soda paste, let it set for at least 12 hours. In the meantime, you can turn your attention to the oven racks. The best way to clean oven racks is to give them a soak in hot water for two hours. If you have a big enough sink, great! If not, the bathtub also works. Wherever you choose, the key is to soak them for two hours before scrubbing them with soap and rinsing them.
6. Wipe Off Paste
Use a damp rag to wipe off as much of the paste as you can. If there are particularly stubborn areas, use a spatula to gently loosen the residue.
7. Spray It Down
Add vinegar to a plastic spray bottle and spray the interior of the oven. The vinegar will cause any residual baking soda to loosen and foam up.
8. Wipe Clean
Use a damp rag to wipe the oven clean. Return clean racks to the oven and allow it to dry completely. (You can turn it on to a low temperature for a few minutes to speed up the process.)
9. Clean the Interior of the Oven Window
Now it’s time to tackle the window. After all, you want to make sure you have a clear view of your newly spotless oven interior. To clean the oven window, make another paste out of baking soda and water, spread over the window, and let sit for about 30 minutes. Wipe off the paste with a damp rag.
10. Wipe Down the Oven Doors and Knobs
While you’re at it, you’re going to want to give the exterior of the oven a wipe-down. You can make a natural cleaner for this too, using the vinegar you have on hand. Create a mixture of 50% water and 50% vinegar, and you can use it to clean the exterior. Instead of spraying it directly onto the exterior, however, you should spray it onto a rag. If you spray it right onto knobs and panels, you risk getting the cleaner into a control panel and shorting it out. Better safe than sorry! Rub the outside until spots and streaks are gone.
11. Line Your Oven with Nonstick Sheets
Your oven is sparkling clean at this point, but we wanted to add one last step to make sure it stays that way—and that means popping in nonstick oven liners to help you fight off future grease.