What is the Best Way to Clean an Oven?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 August 2019
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Cleaning an oven used to be a messy job. Today, the process is much easier than in years past. However, some cleaning methods work better with different types of ovens. Here are the best ways to clean an oven, depending on whether or not the appliance is self-cleaning.

The self-cleaning oven has been around for a few decades. Since the 1980’s, ovens of this type have become very popular. Basically, the oven has the ability to use high temperatures to effectively burn off spills and similar substances that sometime leak out during the course of baking or broiling food. Most models include a safety feature that locks the oven door once the self-cleaning cycle is initiated, and keeps the door locked until the interior temperature drops below a certain level.

However, cleaning an oven with this type of feature does require a little more than merely starting a cycle. Once the cleaning cycle is complete, there is likely to be a fine powder or residue along the bottom of the oven chamber. This can be wiped out with a clean damp cloth. If there appear to be any specks remaining, a simple solution of baking soda and water can be used as a light abrasive to finish the cleaning job. The same solution can also be used to wash down the interior of the oven door without harming the oven in any way.


Today, there are a few models of the self-cleaning oven that require a specialized cleanser that must be applied before starting the cleaning cycle. However, the majority of self-cleaning ovens today do not require a cleanser. To be sure, check the owner’s manual before attempting to clean your oven.

The process to clean an oven that is not equipped with a self-cleaning feature is a bit more labor intensive. In order to prevent heavy buildup over time, it is a good idea to wipe out the oven shortly after each use. This process can be accomplished using a clean cloth that has been moistened with hot water. Taking the time to clean an oven shortly after use means less time for spills to settle and harden on the bottom of the oven chamber.

In addition to taking the time to clean an oven after each use, there will be the need to remove the buildup from smoke or grease that tends to settle on the sides and top of the oven chamber. Rather than using harsh chemicals, applying baking soda with a small amount of water will usually do the job nicely. Use a plastic scrub brush or sponge to apply the baking soda paste. The baking soda is abrasive enough to clear the residue from the sides and top of the chamber, but gentle enough to not scratch the coating on the oven interior. Make sure to use a moistened clean cloth to wipe out the residue of the baking soda as well.

While the process to clean an oven may vary somewhat, it is possible to determine the best method based on the type of oven you have. When in doubt, it is a good idea to consult the owner’s manual and read any recommendations provided by the manufacturer.


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Post 4

Nice information, thank you. I do usually have a professional clean mine one time every year. I could use some tips for keeping on top of things for the rest of the year. --Lindsay.

Post 3

Does anyone know if self-cleaning ovens are the standard now? Or do you have to pay a premium to get this feature.

I would like to purchase an oven for my home, but have never made a large appliance purchase before. It seems like a self-cleaning oven would be worth the investment if I could get one. I hate cleaning and like the idea of my appliances doing their own dirty work.

Post 2

@anon31668 - You can buy a variety of powerful cleaners at the supermarket, but if you want to clean an oven naturally, it is pretty easy.

All you need is a spray bottle, some baking soda and water.

Add about 3tbsp of baking soda to your spray bottle and add water. Swish it so it is mixed well.

Now, when the oven is cool, just spray it on the black grime and cook as usual. The heat when you cook will help the baking soda clean.

When the oven is cool again, wipe it with a soft damp cloth.

Repeat until all the grime is gone. It might take a few days, but it is much easier than scrubbing hard and inhaling the fumes from nasty cleansers.

Post 1

What if you have a non-self-cleaning oven that is covered in gunk and needs to be cleaned? Any ideas?

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