It’s important to keep all areas of your kitchen clean and hygienic, and that includes the oven. Whether it’s from bubbling cheese or spilled sauces, ovens often take a bit of a battering, and with busy lives, sometimes we can be reluctant to clean it up! Yes, oven cleaning does require a bit of work, but the right techniques can make this task a breeze. Follow these simple oven cleaning tips to ensure you stay safe and healthy in the kitchen:
What Oven Cleaning Products Should I Use?
While removable aspects of your oven, like the shelves, can be cleaned with regular dishwashing soap and warm water, you will need to use something a bit more heavy-duty on the oven interior:
- Dedicated oven cleaning products are widely available in stores, and contain ingredients that specifically help cut through grease, oil, and food residue, loosening up stains, making them easier to wipe away.
- When choosing oven cleaning products look for liquids that come in spray bottles, for ease.
- Thick or foaming solutions, like Jif Cream Lemon, are also a good idea, as they stick to the walls of the oven without simply running down into a pool at the bottom.
- You may also wish to look for more natural oven cleaning products – those that contain citrus oils to break down grease are often effective.
Which Home Products Make Good Natural Oven Cleaners?
If you’d prefer to use a natural oven cleaner, you can make your own oven cleaning products from things you probably already have in your cupboards.
- Mix white distilled vinegar with baking soda in a ratio of 1:2.
- Add a drop of dishwashing soap to the mixture, and enough water to produce a thick paste.
- Use this paste on the oven interior in the same way you would use store-bought oven cleaners.
- The vinegar smell will (gradually) disappear, but if you find it a little overwhelming simply add a few drops of a fragrant essential oil, like citrus or lavender, to the paste before use.
What Oven Cleaning Equipment Do I Need?
Before starting to use oven cleaning products, you’ll want to make sure you have all the necessary equipment for oven cleaning. These items will not only make the job easier, but also much safer. Here’s what you need:
- Rubber Gloves. If you’re using oven cleaning products with chemicals, you’ll want to protect your skin. Even if you’re using natural products, you won’t really want to be getting your hands covered in dirt and grease from the bottom of the oven!
- Spoon or Blunt Blade. One of the best oven cleaning tips is to attempt to remove loose, or caked on food residue before attempting to clean your oven. This simply makes it easier for the oven cleaning products to tackle stubborn stains and dirt.
- Paper Towels. Cover your kitchen floor with paper towels, newspapers, or old cloths and rags before applying any oven cleaning products. Oven cleaning can be a messy business: once traditional solutions have had time to work, they often become more liquefied and can easily drip outside of the oven door onto the floor.
- Paint or toothbrush. If you’re using homemade oven cleaning products in a paste form, a wide paintbrush or toothbrush is the perfect tool for applying it. Even when using oven cleaners in a spray bottle, you may find it easier to spray one area and then use a brush to cover hard-to-reach areas, away from the fan and heating elements.
- Scrubbing Brush. You can use a hard-wearing scrubbing sponge, or even just an old dish washing brush – something with a medium bristle that will bring up dirt, without causing damage.
- Microfibre Cloth. When it comes to wiping residue from the oven, use a cloth that won’t disintegrate and leave fibres behind that could burn in the oven. A washable microfibre cloth is ideal.
Oven Cleaning Methods & Techniques
Here’s the simplest way to tackle oven cleaning:
- Remove Shelves. If your oven has removable shelves, take them out before you start. These shelves can easily be soaked in a basin filled with warm water and dishwashing soap, rinsed, and wiped dry.
- Remove Food Residue. Scraping off excess food residue will mean your oven cleaning products are more effective.
- Apply Oven Cleaner to the Interior. Only cover the bottom, sides, and door panel. Ensure an even covering with a brush. Avoid applying to door seals and elements. Always make sure to follow the instructions on the label of any oven cleaner.
- Leave the Solution to Work. Close the oven door and give the oven cleaner about 30 minutes to work – the oils and chemicals in the solutions will break down tough stains, making them easier to lift off.
- Scrub. Use a medium bristled brush to scrub the entire area, except the elements and the fan. Pay special attention to problem areas, such as the door interior and the bottom of the oven.
- Wipe. Wipe off excess solution and dirt using a washable cloth. Make sure you rinse your cloth several times to avoid simply spreading dirt around the oven.
Everyday Oven Maintenance
To make oven cleaning even easier, there are some simple things you can do on an everyday basis to help reduce dirt and oil build-up. If possible, try to clean up any food spills as soon as possible. You’ll want to ensure the oven is cool enough to not pose a risk, but also that the stain is still fresh, which will make it easier to remove. It’s when stains are heated again and again that they become ground-in and troublesome. Also habitually remove the shelves and clean them on a regular basis, preferably once a week.
Health & Safety: Oven Cleaning Tips
When using both store bought oven cleaners with chemicals, and natural cleaners, there are some things to bear in mind to keep you healthy and safe during the oven cleaning process:
- Open Windows. When working with chemicals, good ventilation is vital. Make sure you’ve got an open, breezy workspace, and ensure children are kept well out of the way.
- Wear Protective Clothing. Always wear rubber gloves, either reusable or disposable, when oven cleaning. You may also consider wearing goggles to protect your eyes.
- Switch the Oven Off. If possible, disconnect your oven from the gas or electricity source before cleaning. It can be very dangerous to clean an oven with the power connected.
- Avoid Heating Elements. Never use oven cleaning products directly on the heating elements or fan (if your oven has one). This can cause damage and may prevent your oven working normally.
- Ventilation. After cleaning the oven, leave the oven door open and refrain from using the oven for as long as possible, preferably a few hours, to ensure that all fumes from oven cleaning products have disappeared.
Burnt-on food and grease isn’t just unpleasant to smell while you’re cooking: it can also form a potential fire risk, making occasional oven cleaning an essential household task. Use the method above, though, and the job will be over before you know it.