Not all of us are fond of using oven cleaners, despite their no nonsense action at tackling the grime and gunk that accumulate inside our oven’s cavity.
The reason for such shunning is understandable, we’ve come to realize why we’re wearing the heavy duty gloves prior to every cleaning session! It’s potency and causticity! We’re probably risking our lives every single time we splatter out that “gunk” in order to get rid of the other “gunk”.
So in light of this insight, we’re constantly looking for safer and much cleaner alternatives that are non-toxic to us and also the environment. This article is definitely the solution you’re looking for!
How to clean an oven without an oven cleaner
- Mix baking soda (bicarbonate soda) with room temperature water to form a runny paste.
- Apply the paste to the interior of the oven and also on the glass embedded into the door while trying as much as possible to avoid the heating element or burner in both electric and gas oven respectively.
- Let the mixture sit overnight.
- On the next day, use a spray bottle filled with white vinegar to spray down the inside of the oven (i.e spray the vinegar solution over the hardened paste of baking soda).
- Use a clean microfiber cloth dampened with warm water to gently scrub every coated part of the oven.
- For stubborn stains, use a wooden spatula to gently scrape them off, then use the clean microfiber cloth to remove the resulting buildup.
- Follow up with a new microfiber cloth dampened with warm water for a medium level polish.
- And finally, follow up with a dry microfiber cloth or a clean kitchen cloth for the final polish.
The instructions above are a brief excerpt. For the full details and warnings (and also additional alternatives or methods), you want to continue reading till the very last word.
In this article, you’ll also learn how to properly clean other components of the oven such as the oven racks, the bulging knobs and also the various elements on the stovetop.
How to clean an oven (any type) using baking soda and water
Cleaning the interior of an oven using baking soda is a DIY approach that is just as effective as using the self-cleaning feature on your oven or applying a professional cleaning agent for the task, except that it demands more in-active time than the two which may prove to be inconvenient.
Regardless, i still love the baking soda approach for its naturalness, gentility and lesser causticity compared to any of the two aforementioned methods. And you should too.
The baking soda approach works like magic because of, well, the baking soda component of the mixture – which is one of the most versatile household ingredient of all time!
I think everyone and their moms should agree that baking soda is “The Everyday Miracle” of their daily household episodes. If you’ve ever used it to extinguish a grease fire, or deodorize the dishwasher, fridge or even the freezer, then you already know what i’m talking about.
Baking soda acts as a natural cleaning agent because of its mild alkaline nature, which confers it the ability to cause grease, grime, gunk and dirt to dissolve easily in water so they can effectively be removed.
In its raw or unmixed state, baking soda can also act as a gentle scouring powder which is especially useful for cleaning sensitive surfaces such as enamel (found on the interior of self-cleaning ovens), glass (which are normally prone to scratching when scrubbed hard with tough abrasives), chrome, and also steel and plastic.
That’s why you keep reading all over the internet that baking soda plus water is a safe alternative to use in a self-cleaning oven whereas a strong professional oven cleaner like the heavy duty variety from Easy off is not. Everything boils down to the gentility.
Anyways, i think i’ve introduced the reader far too much into the science that make baking soda an effective cleaner for household ovens.
Let’s now see how to properly make the magic paste so we can use it to coat the inside of our dirty ovens for an all cavity shine. (Disclaimer: don’t expect any miraculous shining if your oven is more than 10 years old!)
1) Prepare the oven:
You want to start off by first preparing the oven prior to any cleaning action, and this means taking out all the large chunks of food deposits around the oven’s cavity, removing the oven racks for their own separate cleaning, removing the food thermometer and taking out the pizza stone if you have any in there.
The former on the list is crucial for any effective cleaning, and if you happen to be the type that never allows deposits to pile up in the first place, the clean as you go type of guy, then you’ll most likely have nothing to scrape off at the end of the day. So proceed to take out the racks and any other foreign components.
2) Make the baking soda paste:
Making the baking soda paste is pretty straightforward. Simply pour one cup of baking soda into a bowl and mix in water until it turns into a paste runnier than a mashed potato. You should start out will little quantity of water and then work your way up to the recommended consistency. Don’t worry, you cant go wrong with this step.
3) Apply the paste:
Now that you’re done making the paste, it’s time to apply it. No, not on your face dummy, in the oven’s cavity!
Put on your soft gloves (you can use a disposable one if you like; since we’re not dealing with harsh chemicals), and dip your hand into the mixture to coat your fingers with the paste.
Now apply the mixture to the interior of the oven while making sure to avoid the heating elements or the burners like the plague. It’s not like someone has ever stuffed the mixture in there and something terrible happened (I actually don’t know), but since we’re dealing with a source of heat which means anything can actually go wrong, it’s best to err on the side of the caution and avoid coating in the first place. Besides, heating elements, if they ever accumulate dirt, will incarcerate them and send the resulting ash down to collect at the bottom of the oven. So the extra coating step, really isn’t needed.
Apply applying the paste generously to cover the cervices, back, sides, bottom, top, door, door glass, and corners. Allow to sit overnight, or for 10 to 12 hours if you’re the impatient type of guy. This is the minimum standing time to get any meaningful result form cleaning. This is also the best time to start working on the rack and other oven components.
After expiration of the standing time, fill up a spray bottle with white vinegar and spray it all over the interior of the oven. Make sure to coat every single part of the oven you know the baking soda paste has been applied to.
You’ll get some satisfying fizzles there when baking soda reacts with vinegar, which in my opinion, is the only satisfying part of kneeling before a conventional oven and scrubbing the interior like mad.
After you’ve sprayed to satisfaction, get a clean microfiber cloth dampened with warm water to gently scrub the coated interior of the oven.
Use a spatula (wooden if you’re using a self-cleaning oven to avoid wearing down the enamel coating), to gently, gently, gently, gently lift stubborn stains alongside the baking soda paste. Collect these build up using the previous microfiber cloth and deposit them in the bin. It’s okay to think “going super gently is a blogger’s “exaggeration”. But go the other route and it wont be long before you figure out the true “reason” yourself.
Next, follow up with a dry microfiber cloth for the final polish which will leave the oven interior clean and sparkling.
Our choice for a microfiber cloth is because of the sensitive glass on the oven door as well as the enamel coating of self-cleaning ovens. We want to preserve and protect every single element and that’s why we opt for the softest cloth available, which are microfiber cloth.
How to clean oven racks
To clean the oven racks, we’ll be using a liquid or powdered dishwasher detergent. The steps are simple and the tools are already there in the house. Alright let’s get to it.
First, line the bottom of a bathtub with two old towels or any redundant clothing material large enough to cover the bottom of the tub. Instead of a bath tub, you can also use a wide bottom container, in which case, here wouldn’t be the need for any towels which are there to prevent any possible scratches.
Next, lay the racks onto of the towel and then pour in hot water using a kettle or the tub’s faucet into the bath tub or container. Next, add in a generous amount of liquid detergent (about 1/2 cup) and swish until thoroughly mixed. Let sit overnight, or for 6 hours.
Next, take each rack one after the other and brush off the gunk and stains on them using a non-abrasive scrub brush, powder like baking soda, or sponge. This is especially useful is the racks are from self-cleaning ovens, and they too have the enamel coating applied to them. While scrubbing, you may find the need to add in more detergent for effective cleaning.
After, rinse the racks properly and dry. Return back into the oven and that’s it, you’re done with the racks.
How to clean external components of an oven
The four parts of an ovens stovetop you’re going to be cleaning are:
- The grates: where the pots rest.
- The burner caps: what aids the spreading of flame evenly
- The burner head: the source of the flame
- The stovetop surface: pretty explanatory.
Let’s start with the first, the grates:
A lightly stained grate usually requires gently cleaning in a dish washer solution using soft sponge (so you don’t strip it off any coatings), and then proper rinse to turn revived. For a heavily greased grate however, it require more than a soft sponge and dishwasher. And that’s where you need the magic baking soda solution. Simply make the mixture as directed earlier, coat the surface of the grates with water, and then apply the mixture directly on the grates. Let sit for 30 minutes, and the wash them in foamy water (water plus dishwasher). The grease, filminess, and gunk should slide right off. Rinse them well and dry properly.
The same procedure that applies for the grates also applies for the caps
The burner head
This is the source of flame for your stovetop, so you don’t want any liquid going through the holes on it. So just like inside the oven, we want to be especially carefully with this part. To clean it, you want to get a soft cloth, and then dampen it with water. Use this to clean the surface as thoroughly and as gently as you can. Next, straighten one end of a papa clip and use that to pick out lurking dirt and gunk for holes the rag cannot reach. You can also use a needle if you like. And that about it when it comes to the stove top burner.
By now, the surface of the gas stovetop is as naked as it could ever be: no grates, and no caps. So use a damp kitchen cloth to wipe the entire surface to collect all the loose particles. Next, mix a solution contain a gentle dishwasher plus water, and then dip a sponge into it. Take out the sponge, let most of the water drip out of it, and then use this to scrub the surface of the stovetop. Follow up with a dry kitchen cloth and voila, a sparkling stovetop like no other! Alternatively, apply the baking soda water solution and let sit for 30 minutes, Scrub gently with a soapy sponge and you’ll still have the same results, if not better. The latter method works best for stubborn stains.
After you’re done cleaning and drying the stovetop. Replace back all the components correctly and reward your cleaning efforts with a lemon chicken soup served with crusty bread!
To clean the knobs:
Use a damp cloth to clean the surface. If overly dirty, (I don’t know how in the world you get even these dirty), spray a clean rag with a liquid cleaner and then use that to wipe clean the knobs. You can also use a disposable wipe. Either way, your choice!
To clean the external casing
Use a cloth sprinkled with disinfectant to wipe the front surface. If overly dirty, use a sponge soaked in water and then squeezed until no water drips, and use that to scrub the front part of the oven. Follow up with a dry kitchen rag for the polish.
The alternative to using baking soda inside the oven
It’s simple, use the oven’s self-cleaning feature. I have succinctly explained how to that in the preceding link. That’s the only option I can think of. For me it’s either baking soda or self-cleaning feature. I haven’t tried any other method before, but in any case I end up trying, I’ll be giving you an update here.
How often should you deep clean your oven?
A clean oven is a perquisite for healthy and happy living. Want your articles to taste just exactly as the cook book recipe suggests? You need to wipe off the smoke-prone crust laying comfortably at the oven floor, otherwise, you’ll have to deal with the smoky essence it embeds into your food after every cooking session. And this is just one for the many disadvantages of a dirty oven, besides the signaling it wafts into the air regarding how dirty your personality is!
For every household that regularly put’s their oven to use, a cleaning or two cleaning sessions per month should suffice. Lesser activity? Clean less often, may be once every 3 to 4 months. But the general rule is to use the acid test of sight (when there is too much gunk, splatters and deposits that the number of hair strands on your head) and smell (when you oven exudes into the air something not so pleasant during preheating.
How to keep an oven consistently less grimy
- Do a quick clean after every baking session.
- Use a pan underneath article that drip: cheesy pizza, chicken turkey etc.
- Use other appliance too, and don’t compound all activities to the oven only. This will give it some breathing space, and therefore demand lesser cleaning.