How to Clean Oven: Top 5 Tested Methods

Cleaning the inside of your oven is one of those dreaded household chores that we all tend to put off. It’s easy to procrastinate because you can simply close the oven door and ignore the mess, but that only makes the job tougher in the long run.

Eventually, we reach a point where we can’t ignore it any longer, and we have to face the chore. When that time comes, we often default to the cleaning method we’ve used before, all the while wondering if there’s a better way.

To find out which oven-cleaning method is truly the best, I decided to put five common and highly recommended methods to the test. Let’s see which one came out on top.

How I Tested the Oven-Cleaning Methods

To determine the most effective oven-cleaning method, I followed a systematic approach. First, I scraped off any dried-on spills and vacuumed up loose debris and crumbs. This ensured that I was testing the methods on the most stubborn messes without interference from loose dirt.

I then applied each method to three different sections of the oven: the oven door glass, the bottom of the interior, and the sides. I tackled one method at a time to avoid any risky chemical combinations.

In cases where it was applicable, I set a timer and cleaned each section until I achieved satisfactory results. Additionally, I used a thin, non-abrasive scrub pad, unless the method provided its own cleaning tool.

Oven-Cleaning Method 1: Baking Soda + Vinegar

The method: Baking soda and vinegar are known for their safety and effectiveness in cleaning ovens. Baking soda dissolves dirt, grease, and sticky residues while providing a gentle abrasive action. Vinegar’s acidity helps combat grease buildup.

I created a paste by mixing 1/2 cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water and applied it to the three sections. I let the paste sit overnight and then spritzed the areas with vinegar, causing some foaming in areas with remaining baking soda.

How it went: Considering the harsh chemicals sometimes used for oven cleaning, the baking soda and vinegar method worked surprisingly well. It effectively cut through grease, but it required a lot of scrubbing and time. This method is ideal for regular maintenance if you’ve recently cleaned your oven.

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Oven-Cleaning Method 2: The Pink Stuff

The method: The Pink Stuff, a popular British cleaning product with many positive reviews, was next on the list. I applied a tablespoonful of The Pink Stuff and scrubbed it with a sponge before wiping it off with a wet rag.

How it went: The Pink Stuff was enjoyable to use due to its pleasant scent and pink color. It worked well with minimal elbow grease, although it was more effective on the oven interior than the glass. The only downside was the mess it left behind during cleanup.

Oven-Cleaning Method 3: Scrub Daddy PowerPaste

The method: PowerPaste, designed to remove various residues, comes with a two-sided Scrub Mommy in a convenient double-decker container. I followed the instructions, wetting the sponge, spreading the paste, scrubbing, and wiping it off.

How it went: PowerPaste was easy to use, especially with the included Scrub Mommy. It performed well on the oven door glass and was slightly more effective than The Pink Stuff. However, it was also messy to clean up due to its sudsy nature.

Oven-Cleaning Method 4: Easy-Off

The method: Easy-Off, a foaming oven cleaner, was applied to the test sections, and I followed the instructions, allowing it to penetrate for an hour and a half. I took precautions to ventilate the area because of its strong odor.

How it went: Easy-Off lived up to its name, visibly lifting dirt as soon as I applied the foam. Cleanup was relatively easy, although it required several rounds of paper towels and wet rags. While it was highly effective, the strong odor and safety concerns around children made it less appealing.

Oven-Cleaning Method 5: Pumice Stone

The method: I used a dampened pumice stone, traditionally used for personal grooming, to clean the oven. I treated it like an eraser, rubbing it over stubborn grease and burnt-on marks and periodically wiping away pumice crumbs with a damp rag.

How it went: This method was the easiest, most effective, and most straightforward. Although the pumice stone felt slightly rough on my hands, gloves solved that issue. The best part was the lack of messy residues to clean up. The safety of the pumice stone made it the clear winner for oven cleaning.

Tips for a Clean Oven

Cleaning your oven can be a daunting task, but regular maintenance can help keep it clean and efficient. Here are some tips for a clean oven:

  1. Regular Maintenance
    • The best way to keep your oven clean is to clean up spills and drips as they happen. This prevents buildup that can be much harder to remove later.
  2. Natural Cleaning Agents
    • Baking soda and vinegar are effective and natural cleaners for ovens. Make a paste with baking soda and water, spread it on the interior surfaces (except heating elements), and let it sit overnight. Wipe it clean with a damp cloth or sponge, and then spray vinegar to remove any remaining residue.
  3. Commercial Oven Cleaners
    • If your oven is heavily soiled, consider using a commercial oven cleaner. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, and ensure the oven is well-ventilated.
  4. Self-Cleaning Function
    • Many modern ovens have a self-cleaning function. This feature heats the oven to extremely high temperatures, which turns food residues into ash. After the cycle is complete, you can simply wipe away the ash. Be aware that this process can produce a strong odor and smoke, so ensure good ventilation and remove any sensitive items from the kitchen.
  5. Remove Oven Racks and Accessories
    • Take out the oven racks, trays, and other removable parts before cleaning them separately. Soak them in hot, soapy water or a vinegar solution, scrub them, and rinse thoroughly.
  6. Use Oven Liners
    • Consider using oven liners or mats to catch spills and drips. These can be easily removed and cleaned in the sink or dishwasher.
  7. Scrubbing Tools
    • Use a non-abrasive scrubbing sponge or cloth to avoid damaging the oven’s interior surface. A plastic scraper or a wooden spatula can help with stubborn spots.
  8. Avoid Harsh Chemicals
    • Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive scouring pads, as they can damage the oven’s finish. Stick to mild, non-toxic cleaning agents.
  9. Ventilation
    • Always make sure your kitchen is well-ventilated when cleaning the oven, especially when using commercial cleaners or the self-cleaning function. Open windows and turn on exhaust fans if possible.
  10. Regular Maintenance Schedule
    • Set a regular schedule for cleaning your oven, whether it’s monthly or quarterly, to prevent heavy buildup and make the task more manageable.
  11. Protect the Oven Door Seal
    • Be gentle when cleaning around the oven door seal. Avoid getting cleaning agents on it, as it can damage the seal and affect oven performance.
  12. Wipe Down Controls and Exterior
    • Don’t forget to clean the oven’s control panel, knobs, and the exterior surface. Use a damp cloth and mild soapy water for this.
  13. Prevent Spills
    • Use baking sheets or foil to catch spills and drips when cooking to minimize the mess in the first place.

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