Written by Stacey Kelleher. Reviewed by Sean Busch.

From accidental overflows to spatters, a messy oven is part of cooking. It’s not like you can close the door and ignore the issue: Baked-on stains, grease, and crumbs can create a fire hazard – and may even change the way your food tastes. 

Use our easy-to-follow tips to clean your oven naturally without harsh chemicals. 

How Often Should I Clean My Oven? 

As Puracy founder, Sean Busch says, “Frequent care is easy care.” We recommend cleaning up spills immediately (once cool, of course), wiping down the interior and exterior of your oven weekly, and doing the deep clean described below once a month. 

best oven cleaning tips

If you don’t use your oven regularly, you can stretch deep cleanings to a few times a year.

Should I Use My Oven’s Self-Cleaning Feature? 

We don’t recommend it. There are a few self-cleaning oven dangers, so we prefer to clean an oven with baking soda (and other eco-friendly cleaners). 

Reasons to Avoid Using the Self-Cleaning Function:

  • Fumes from heating baked-on food at extremely high temperatures can waft through your home, posing a possible risk to humans and pets
  • This method can produce smoke that sets off fire alarms. You’ll probably need to open your windows and/or leave your hood range on for hours at a time.
  • Odors produced during the oven self-cleaning process can linger in your carpets and upholstery for hours – even days. 
  • High temps can actually damage your oven’s electronic heating elements, resulting in costly repairs and inaccurate temperatures going forward. That could make baking a guessing game. 

How to Clean an Oven Naturally in 5 Steps

1. Gather Your Supplies 

To thoroughly clean your oven without harsh chemicals, you’ll need: 

2. Remove and Clean Oven Racks

how to clean oven racks

Oven racks usually require some soaking, so remove them from the oven and lay them out on a few old towels or cleaning rags. 

After every use, spray cool oven racks with Puracy Multi-Surface Cleaner before wiping them down with a clean cloth.
For Mild Stains 
Apply a paste made of three-parts baking soda to one-part warm water. Apply with a small spatula and let it sit from 45-60 minutes. Use an old toothbrush to gently scrub caked-on food and grease away. Wipe clean with a wet cloth before drying.
For Tough Stains 

If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned your oven, you might want to try the overnight method. Place an old towel on the bottom of your tub. Sprinkle oven racks generously with baking soda. Pour vinegar over the racks. You’ll see it start to bubble. Once that stops, fill the tub with hot water just covering the surface of the racks. Let them soak overnight. 

In the morning, use an old toothbrush or scouring pad to scrub stains away. Rinse racks with fresh water and dry with a clean cloth.

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.  

Spray all interior surfaces, including the glass window,  with Puracy Natural Spray before wiping them down with a clean microfiber towel. Always wipe top-to-bottom. 

4. Treat Cooked-on Spills and Stains

best cleaning oven tips

Get the best tips from the cleaning obsessed.

Puracy crafts cleaning & care items that work really well. Our obsession with natural cleaning performance is our profession, and we're here to share it with you.

You can get rid of those black, stubborn stains at the bottom of your oven without caustic commercial oven cleaners. Here are two easy and affordable natural oven cleaners. 

Once you’ve removed the oven racks, and removed loose bits of food, it’s time to remove baked-on stains.

How to Use Baking Soda to Clean Your Oven 

Note: Because baking soda can scratch some surfaces, check your manufacturer’s instructions before attempting this method. Otherwise, try the gentler natural oven cleaner below. 

  1. Make a baking soda paste (like you used to clean your oven racks) by combining three-parts baking soda to one-part water. Tweak this formula until you get a paste that is thick enough for spreading.
  2. Wearing gloves, spread the paste across the inside of your oven (including the glass door). Take caution to avoid the heating elements on an electric oven and the area where the gas comes in on a gas oven. 
  3. Close the oven and let the paste set overnight. For extra stain-fighting power, you can spray the paste with white vinegar.
  4. Using a wet rag, wipe all the dried paste away. Dry before replacing racks. 

Use Lemons to Clean Your Oven

  1. Heat your oven to 250ºF (121ºC). 
  2. Cut your two lemons in half and place them in an oven-safe bowl filled with water. 
  3. Place the bowl on an oven rack. Close the oven and let it “cook” for an hour. 
  4. After one hour, turn off the heat. Open the door and allow the oven to cool.
  5. 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. 
  6. Dry all surfaces with a clean microfiber cloth.

5. Wipe Down the Exterior

best natural oven cleaner

The exterior of the oven should receive a good shine with warm, soapy water, and a washcloth or a new sponge (to avoid transferring germs around your kitchen). 

For a streak-free clean, spray Puracy Natural Surface Cleaner on the oven top, door, and handle, then wipe it down with a clean microfiber cloth.

6. Replace Oven Racks

Once you replace your oven racks, you’ll have a clean oven that’s ready for your next gourmet meal – or frozen pizza!

Can You Clean an Oven with Bleach? 

cleaning oven with bleach

You can clean your oven with a diluted bleach solution, but we wouldn’t recommend it. For starters, bleach exposure can cause irritation of the eyes, throat, and skin. Mixing bleach with other cleaning products can be extremely dangerous. 

Quite simply, bleach just isn’t the most effective cleaning agent for your oven. Used more for disinfecting surfaces and lightening stains, bleach doesn’t work very well on baked-on food and grease – and it’s definitely not food-safe!

Should I Use Oven Cleaners? 

Most well-known oven cleaners get their power from strong corrosive alkalis. But these chemicals pose a serious risk to people and animals. Symptoms of oven cleaner poisoning include: 

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Burning in the eyes, nose, lips, or tongue
  • Abdominal pain and/or vomiting
  • Organ damage
  • Burns 
It may seem convenient to use a commercial product designed to clean ovens, but after knowing more about the harsh ingredients they may contain, you might want to “go green.”

Puracy Products Will Keep Your Oven Looking Its Best

Puracy all natural cleaning products

With our best-selling Multi-Surface Spray (and some budget-friendly, natural ingredients), you can keep your kitchen clean from top-to-bottom. This effective, plant-based cleaner is 99.96% natural, free of fumes, and safe to use on virtually every kitchen surface. 

For more eco-friendly kitchen cleaning tips, check out our previous posts: 

How to Clean Your Countertops 

Tips to Keep Your Kitchen Sink Sparkling Clean

How to Clean Cast Iron Quickly, Easily, & Naturally