Sure, you can use your oven’s self-cleaning function to remove interior dirt and grime. But this seemingly simple process can include uncomfortable temperatures, persistent odor, and the possibility of an oven malfunction. To avoid these risks, we’ll provide step-by-step instructions on how to make an effective natural oven cleaner. With a little baking, soda, vinegar, and elbow grease, your oven will (safely) shine.
Skip the Self-Clean With This
Natural Oven Cleaner
Using a natural oven cleaner can take a little more time and muscle. But we think avoiding the heat, odor, and risks of a self-cleaning cycle or the harsh chemicals of commercial cleaners makes it worthwhile. Here’s how to clean inside an oven with basic pantry staples and a little know-how.
1. Remove Loose Components
Before preparing your natural oven cleaner, remove the oven racks and any other loose components like a thermometer or pizza stone.
2. Mix a Baking Soda Paste
Combine a few tablespoons of water with ½ cup of baking soda in a small bowl. This DIY oven cleaner recipe can be changed as needed, adding more water or baking soda until a thick, spreadable paste is formed.
3. Apply Paste to Oven Interior
We suggest wearing gloves for this next step, as it can get a little messy. With your hands, spread the paste throughout the oven’s interior. This includes the walls and every nook and cranny, adding extra paste to areas that are especially dirty. One area to avoid? The heating elements. These delicate components can damage easily.
4. Allow Mixture to Sit
This homemade oven cleaner should sit for at least twelve hours, preferably overnight.
5. Clean Oven Racks
While your natural oven cleaner is doing its work, use these tips to clean the oven’s racks:
- Place the racks in a towel-lined bathtub and submerge them in hot water.
- Add ½ cup of dishwasher detergent to the water and swirl it around with your hands.
- Allow the racks to soak for at least four hours or overnight.
- Scrub off any lingering stains with a non-abrasive sponge or brush.
- Rinse, and wipe dry.
6. Remove Baking Soda Paste
Once the paste has sat for at least 12 hours, it can be removed with a damp dishtowel. A plastic spatula or scraper can help remove the paste from hard-to-reach areas.
7. Use a Vinegar Spray
Helpful oven cleaner alternatives also include vinegar. The acetic acid in vinegar can not only dissolve dirt, grease, and grime, but even kill bacteria. Pour a little distilled white vinegar into a spray bottle and spray down the oven walls. The vinegar will react with the remaining baking soda and create a light foam.
8. Wipe Down the Oven
With a damp cloth, wipe down the oven in its entirety, removing all of the paste and vinegar. Replace the damp cloth, as needed, to remove every trace of residue.
9. Replace Oven Racks
Re-install the clean oven racks and replace any removed components.
A Baking Soda and Vinegar Alternative
As an alternative to baking soda and vinegar, the citric acid of lemons can be almost as effective and provide a fresh scent. We suggest following these steps for ovens with lighter dirt and stains:
- Juice two lemons in a baking dish with ⅓ cup of water. Add the lemon rinds to the dish for additional cleaning power.
- Set the oven temperature to 250℉ and place the baking dish on the middle rack. Set a timer for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, turn the oven off and allow it to cool. Remove the baking dish and oven racks.
- With a non-abrasive brush or sponge, remove loosened grime from the oven walls. Dip the brush or sponge in the lemon water to brush away stubborn grime.
- Dry the oven’s interior with a clean towel and replace the oven racks.