Written by Stacey Kelleher. Reviewed by Sean Busch.
From overflows to spatters, a messy oven is part of the cooking experience. But you can't close the door and ignore the issue: Baked-on stains, grease, and crumbs are potential fire hazards. A dirty oven can even change the flavor of food!
You don't need to resort to using the self-clean feature or bleach: Our oven cleaning tips use natural products to get the job done.
5 Oven Cleaning Tips
It's actually pretty straightforward to get oven interiors to match their gleaming exteriors:
1. Gather Your Supplies
To thoroughly clean your oven without traditional oven cleaners, you don't really need much more than:
- Puracy Multi-Surface Cleaner
- 2-3 edgeless microfiber towels
- An old toothbrush or microfiber scrubbing sponge
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
- Cleaning gloves
- Plastic bucket
- 2 lemons (optional)
2. Remove and Clean Oven Racks
It makes sense that oven racks will probably require some soaking. Remove them from the oven and lay them out on a few old towels or cleaning rags.
For Mild Stains
Apply a paste made of 3:1 baking soda to warm water. Apply with a small spatula and let it sit for about an hour. Use an old toothbrush to gently scrub caked-on food and grease away. Wipe clean with a wet cloth before drying.
For Tough Stains
Place an old towel on the bottom of your plugged bathtub. Sprinkle oven racks generously with baking soda and pour vinegar over them. When the bubbling stops, fill the tub with enough hot water to cover the racks and let them soak overnight.
In the morning, use a scouring pad to scrub stains away. Rinse racks with fresh water and dry with a clean cloth.
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3. Wipe Down the Interior
Using a damp cloth, pick up the loose crumbs and pieces of food that are hanging out at the bottom of the oven. You can also use the attachment on your vacuum to suck up crumbs.
Our Plant-Based Products Clean Ovens Naturally
Spray all interior surfaces – including the glass window – with Puracy Natural Spray. Wipe them down (top-to-bottom) with a clean microfiber towel.
4. Treat Cooked-on Spills and Stains
It's straightforward to remove those black, baked-on stains without caustic commercial oven cleaners. You don't need to turn on the self-cleaning function either!
Use Baking Soda
- Make a baking soda paste of 3:1 baking soda to water. You may need to tweak this formula until you get a spreadable paste.
- Put on gloves and spread the paste across the inside of your oven (including the glass door). Avoid the heating elements on an electric oven and the area where the gas comes in on a gas oven.
- Close the oven and let the paste set overnight. For extra stain-fighting power, you can lightly spray the paste with white vinegar.
- Using wet rags, wipe all the dried paste away. Dry surfaces before replacing racks.
Note: Because baking soda can scratch some surfaces, check your manufacturer’s instructions before attempting this method. Otherwise, try using lemons (below).
- Heat your oven to 250ºF (121ºC).
- Cut two lemons in half and place them in an oven-safe tray filled with water.
- Place the tray on an oven rack, close the oven, and let this solution “cook” for an hour.
- After one hour, turn off the heat.
- Open the door and allow the oven to cool.
- Wearing gloves, use a damp rag to wipe down the interior of the oven. Use a microfiber sponge or old toothbrush to remove stubborn stains.
- Dry all surfaces with a clean microfiber cloth.
Pro Tip: This is one of our favorite tips for removing smells from a microwave.
5. Wipe Down the Exterior
For a streak-free clean, spray our natural oven cleaner on the oven top, door, and handle, then wipe with a clean microfiber cloth. If you use a sponge, make sure it's new so you avoid transferring germs around your kitchen.
Once you replace your oven racks, you’ll have a clean oven that’s ready for a gourmet meal – or frozen pizza!
How Often Should I Clean My Oven?
We say it a lot: Frequent care is easy care. Clean up spills immediately (once the oven is cool, of course). Try to wipe down the interior and exterior of your oven every week and deep clean it every month if you're a regular baker. If you don’t use your oven very often, 2-3 times per year might be beneficial.
Why We Don't Recommend the Self-Cleaning Feature
Thanks to certain self-cleaning oven risks, we don't recommend using this feature:
- Fumes from heating baked-on food at extremely high temperatures can waft through your home, posing possible risk to humans and pets.
- Smoke can set off fire alarms. You’ll probably need to open your windows and/or leave your hood range on for hours.
- Odors can linger in your carpets and upholstery for days.
- High temps can damage electronic heating elements, resulting in costly repairs and inaccurate baking temperatures.
Can You Use Bleach to Clean an Oven?
Using bleach to clean ovens isn't as effective as many people think. It's typically used for disinfecting surfaces and lightening stains, not removing baked-on food and grease. And it’s definitely not a food-safe chemical!
Note: Bleach exposure can cause irritation of the eyes, throat, and skin. Mixing bleach with certain cleaning chemicals also presents certain risks.
What About Traditional Oven Surface Cleaners?
It may seem convenient to use a commercial product, but most well-known oven cleaners get their power from strong corrosive alkalis. But these chemicals may pose a serious risk to people and animals:
- Difficulty breathing
- Burning in the eyes, nose, lips, or tongue
- Abdominal pain and/or vomiting
- Organ damage
A Natural Oven Cleaner That Cleans Your Entire Kitchen
Plant-based cleaners don't rely on harsh caustics to work their magic – and our bestselling Natural Surface Cleaner is a testament to that! 99.51% natural, fume-free, and safe for virtually every kitchen surface, Puracy makes it easy to keep your kitchen clean!