Whether or not we feel we know how to clean an oven, cleaning the oven is one of the most dreaded chores on anyone’s list. However, leaving an oven dirty and greasy can be dangerous. The grimmer built up, the more likely a fire will when you use it or that you’ll get harmful bacteria in your food.
Even if you avoid food poisoning or fires, a dirty oven leads to smoke, which is unpleasant and can easily set off your fire alarm. Read on to learn how to clean your oven properly with natural homemade oven cleaner without chemicals, so the next time yours gets dirty, you won’t put off cleaning it until it’s to late.
How to Clean an Oven Stove Top
The first step in cleaning an oven is cleaning the stove top. However, different stove tops require different cleaning methods.
Cleaning a Ceramic Glass Cooktop
They’re modern and efficient, but glass top stoves can be difficult to clean. Luckily, there are specialty cleaners for glass tops. Before doing any cleaning, make sure you turn it off and allow it to cool.
It seems counter-intuitive to leave any problem messes on the stove, but if you spray anything on a hot stove top, it can burn into the glass.
Specially-made cleaners for glass top stoves or a homemade glass stovetop cleaner are usually creamy. You apply the cream, then let it dry. Once dry, wipe it down with a soft cloth.
If your stove has stubborn stains, apply the cleaner and then use a scraper to remove the food. Some people use a razor, but you risk damaging your stovetop, so use a special scraper made for ceramic and glass cooktops. Never use abrasive surfaces on your stove top, like steel wool or even cast iron pans.
Natural Oven Cleaner without Chemicals
For a cheap natural homemade oven cleaner for your cooktop, mix lemon juice or vinegar with baking soda to a soft paste. It is the best way to clean your ceramic stovetop without any chemicals. Lastly, make sure you clean your glass top stove regularly. Reheating old food spills can make them even harder to remove.
If you have a regular stove with burners, either gas or electric, your cleaning methods will be similar. There are, however, a few fundamental differences.
How to Clean an Electric Stove Top
To clean an old-style electric stove top burner, first, remove the coils and drip pans. You should be able to pull them straight out from their sockets gently.
Wipe down the coils with a damp sponge, and clean the drip pans with water and soap. They may need soaking in hot soapy water. If the coils require more work, use dish soap. However, be careful not to submerge the coils in water or get any electrical part wet.
Spray the stove top with a cleaner and wipe clean. You can clean underneath the top by pulling it up and propping it open with the metal rods.
Replace the drip pans and coils carefully when everything is clean and dry.
On newer electric stove-tops you can simply spray oven cleaner and wipe the entire area with a sponge. Alternatively, use a paste of white vinegar and some baking soda, let it sit and wipe it with a microfiber cloth.
Cleaning a Stainless Steel Cooktop
Many very popular cooktops are made from stainless steel. Unfortunately stainless steel is rather difficult to clean.
Be careful not to use anything abrasive or harsh on stainless steel surfaces. Stainless steel scratches very easily, and cooking leaves stains and scorch marks. When cleaning, rub in the direction of the grain, like wood. And as with glass top stoves, always clean when cooled.
To clean stainless steel cooktops, use a powdered cleaner, such as Barkeepers Friend. Moisten the area, apply the powder, and wipe clean. Repeat the process as many times as needed.
You can make a paste from powdered cleaners as well (using water) for more set-in stains and messes. While cleaning stainless steel may not be simple, keeping your stainless steel clean is easy. Wipe up spills as soon as possible, and wipe the surface down with a damp cloth often to cut down on grease buildup.
How to Clean Gas Stove Burners and Oven Grates
To clean a gas stove or for an effective grill cleaner, remove the grates from the top of the burners. Clean the grates with water and soap as a homemade stove cleaner, or if they have a thick layer of dry spills, use oven cleaner. Alternatively, use vinegar or a thick paste of baking soda and water. Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes before you and scrub it with a sponge.
If tougher stains cover your burner grates, you can use ammonia. Put the burner grate into a plastic bag and fill it with 1/2 cup of ammonia. Let the sealed bag sit overnight before scrubbing the gas stove burners with a sponge. It will remove even the toughest stains.
However, before you consider such a lengthy procedure, check the prices of new burner grates for your stove, as most of these can get replaced for a few bucks.
Same above procedures go for cleaning the stove drip pans. Vinegar, baking soda or your regular oven cleaner might just work fine and fast. However, replacement drip pans can be bought very cheaply if necessary, check your local dollar store.
Make sure the fuel ports, where the fire comes out, are clear of any blockages. Then, clean and wipe down the top of the stove, careful not to get the igniter wet. Remove and clean the knobs as well and dry the stove top carefully before replacing the burner grates.
How to Clean an Oven
Now that the stove top is sparkling, the next step is to clean the inside of the oven.
How Does a Self Cleaning Oven Work?
Your oven might come with a self-cleaning feature. It sounds too good to be true. So what does this button on your oven do?
When you run a self-cleaning cycle on your oven, the door locks and the oven heats up to almost 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. This burns all of the food particles inside into ash, making clean-up a breeze. However, although older ovens have exposed heating elements, which is bad for food spills but better for self-cleaning, there are problems with self-cleaning ovens, particularly newer ones:
- Such a high temperature can produce smoke while burning off the food residue and set off smoke alarms.
- Newer ovens have hidden heating elements. These areas get much hotter and may blow fuses and cause other problems from getting too hot.
- Any problem with these hidden heating elements is much harder and more expensive to fix.
Basically, self-cleaning ovens can be handy and save you some elbow grease, but they may be more trouble than they’re worth.
How to Clean a Self Cleaning Oven
If you want to use your oven’s self-cleaning function, first remove the oven racks and start the self-cleaning cycle. You can soak the oven racks in water and dish soap while the oven is cleaning itself.
Once it is finished and the oven has cooled down for at least two hours, clean out any ash residue and wipe the oven clean with a sponge, including the oven door. Replace the racks and you’re done.
If you would prefer not to use the self-cleaning function, learning how to clean a self-cleaning oven is the same as a non-self cleaning one.
Oven Cleaning by Hand
To clean the old-fashioned way and remove splatters you may have gathered from when you use a pizza stone or cookie sheet, remove the oven racks and let them soak. Some ovens also come with an easy way to remove the oven door in order to better reach inside. Then, use a specially-designed oven cleaner as directed to clean the inside of the oven.
It is practical to lay down newspaper to protect the floor and have your kitchen well-ventilated. You can also wear rubber gloves and old clothes to protect your skin.
Follow the directions to wipe down the inside of the oven after using oven cleaner, making sure to clean all surfaces including the oven door inside and out.
For a much more environmentally friendly and chemical-free way, mix baking soda with water in a spray bottle. Spray the inside of the oven thoroughly. Let the mixture sit for two hours before you wipe the oven clean with a sponge. Repeat spraying and let it soak again if needed. To get an even more aggressive solution add white vinegar to the spray bottle.
General Purpose Natural Oven Cleaner
While there are products specific to cleaning stove tops and ovens, some things you have around your house can work just as well as a natural oven cleaner.
Baking soda is one of the best products for cleaning stoves and ovens. It’s abrasive enough to scrape up stubborn food messes but won’t scratch up your appliances. You can sprinkle it onto surfaces, then either wipe it up with water or spray on vinegar to make it fizz and really tackle that cleaning job.
You can mix baking soda with water to make a paste that can be applied directly to the oven, or mix it with more water in a spray bottle for a misty cleaner.
Vinegar is also a great natural oven cleaner as it is a natural disinfectant. Mix it with water in a spray bottle to clean your surfaces. No matter what kind of oven it is, these methods show you how to clean an oven effectively. So, get to cleaning yours before it becomes dangerous to cook in!
How To Best Clean Between Oven Glass
You may have noticed that the top of your oven door has vents leading down inside the door. If your oven door is double-panes, if you spill anything inside, you may have a hard time cleaning it.
Read the instruction manual that came with your oven to see how to open the parts of the door. The door is often held in place with screws. However, taking apart your oven door can void your warranty.
When you have taken the door apart, you can then clean between the panes of glass with a simple glass cleaner or a good homemade window cleaner.
Just mix a cup of water with a cup of white vinegar, put in a spray bottle and you will have the perfect glass cleaner. For a fresh smell add some drops of liquid dish soap to it.
If you are not sure how to take the oven door apart, a repairman may take it apart and clean it for you, especially if the oven is still covered by a warranty.