Many people dread cleaning the oven. If your oven is coated in grease or baked on food, the task can seem daunting. However, it is actually fairly simple to do and does not take much time at all to complete.
There are a few things to consider before you start cleaning your oven, as they will affect the process that will be required to clean it. These things are as follows:
- Does the oven have an automatic cleaning feature?
- Is the oven an electric range or a gas range?
- Which parts of the oven are removable?
Cleaning the Stovetop
Remove the oven racks and place them in a sink full of warm, soapy water and scrub them until clean. You can use liquid dish soap. If there are any difficult to clean spots on the burners or racks, you can leave them to soak in the soapy water for about 20 minutes. That should loosen any stubborn baked-on food.
Cleaning the burners and knobs
If you have a traditional gas or propane stove …
Remove the burner covers and drip trays and place them in the sink full of warm water. You can use the water you used to clean the racks, or replace it if it has become too dirty. You can use liquid dish soap or a steel wool pad that contains soap, such as a Brillo or SOS pad. Be careful with the drip trays, as metal trays tend to scratch easily. Do not try to use a knife or sharp object to scrape them.
You may occasionally need to clean the surface burners. They are fairly easy to remove if your stovetop lifts up. You can clean them in the soapy water just as you did the burner covers. Use a brush or pin to clean the holes if necessary. Never place anything flammable inside them.
To dry the surface burners, place them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. It is important that all of the water is removed. Use an oven mitt or hot pad to remove them from the oven. Replace them when they are cool.
If you have an electric stove …
Remove the reflector bowls and place them in the warm, soapy water in the sink in order to scrub them. Again, use caution, as the reflector bowls can scratch easily when you scrub them. Then wipe the area around the heating coils, including underneath the ring. You do not need to clean the heating coils themselves.
Please note: Before you begin cleaning the stovetop, make sure that it is completely cool in order to avoid burning yourself. Be sure that the burners are securely turned to the off position, as some cleaners may be flammable, and never leave bottles of cleaner or paper towels sitting on the stovetop.
If the knobs are removable, you can take them off, but do not place them in the soapy water. Wipe them with a cloth and use an all-purpose kitchen cleaner if necessary.
Cleaning the Oven
If it is self-cleaning …
The process you need to use to clean the oven depends on whether or not your oven is self-cleaning. For a self-cleaning oven, it is basically a two-step process.
- Lock the oven door and selection the option for “clean.”
- Let the oven do its magic.
However, those are the steps for regularly using the self-cleaning cycle. If it has been a while since you last cleaned the oven, it’s a good idea to wipe out as much food, debris or grease as pissible before starting the self-cleaning cycle to prevent a fire and also prevent the food for baking onto the floor of the oven.
When the cleaning cycle is complete, any food in the bottom of the oven should be removed, baked off at a high temperature. Be sure to keep children and pets away from the oven during the cleaning cycle. It can get very hot and it may not smell too pleasant. You may want to stay away too. Also, it is not advised to use the self-cleaning feature if you have pet birds as the fumes could harm them.
If it is not self-cleaning …
Your oven still has a reliable cleaning mechanism. This would be you and a can of oven cleaner. First, remove any loose crumbs from the oven using a cloth or paper towel. If you wipe the crumbs directly into a garbage can or dust pan, you will avoid unnecessary clean-up later.
Next, spray the oven with oven cleaner and follow the directions on the can. You can ask an appliance store employee or call the company that manufactured your oven to find one that meets your needs and specifications. Use paper towels to scoop out the oven cleaner and gunk from the oven as using a cloth will require a lot of rinsing and likely stain the cloth.
If you don’t want to use oven cleaner, you can use ammonia. This also works well for cleaning the sides and roof of the oven. Pour two cups of ammonia in a bowl and then place a rag or sponge in the bowl. Apply the ammonia to any rough spots on the bottom or sides of the oven and let it sit for about 30 minutes. (You may wish to wear rubber gloves to prevent a skin reaction and be sure to use ammonia only in a well-ventilated area. )
When the 30 minutes is up, simply wipe out the rest of the oven with water. Make sure the ammonia is rinsed thoroughly, unless you’d like this aroma added to your food in the future.
If needed, the oven door can be removed for you to more easily reach the back of the oven. Removing the door is usually very easy. To do so, simply lift it off of its hinges at a slight angle.
Cleaning the outside of the oven
Use an all-purpose kitchen cleaner and a rag or paper towel to wipe the rest of the surfaces of the oven clean. In order to avoid a streaky appearance, you should clean the window with a glass cleaner or a mixture of one part each of rubbing alcohol, one part vinegar and two parts water. Just apply some of the cleaner to your rag or paper towel and that should take care of it.
Prevent oven cleaning in the future
One way to avoid frequent oven cleanings is to prevent spills from happening. Use pans that are large enough to accommodate the food that’s in them. Also, clean up spills as they happen if they are on the stovetop. This is not recommended if they occur inside the hot oven of course. But try to wipe those up same day.
- Green Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck