Cleaning the oven—including the stove top—is probably one of my top five least favourite things to do. Or at least it was until I discovered more natural solutions with these oven cleaning hacks that actually work! I hated the stench of chemical cleansers and while they worked really well, I always wondered about the fumes they were giving off!
The natural solutions do require a little elbow grease but it’s worth it for the gleaming results! And even people with self-cleaning ovens will find that they need to do a little extra to get baked on, caked on mess off!
Oven Cleaning Hacks
For a standard oven
The first, best and most well known solution is a basic combination of water, baking soda and vinegar. Make sure you are starting with a perfectly cool oven.
Step 1—Take out the oven racks (and see below for EASY instructions to clean them if you don’t have a laundry tub or a place that can get a little dirty!)
Step 2—Make a paste with baking soda and water—a two to 1 ration of powder to water should do the trick—and spread it over the surfaces of your oven: bottom and sides. Don’t do the window this time around. Be careful to avoid the heating elements. Close the oven door and leave the paste on overnight.
Step 3—The next morning, take a wet rag and remove as much of the paste as you can.
Step 4—Get a clean, empty spray bottle and put a little vinegar inside it. Spray the areas where there is still some residue of the paste and then wipe clean.
To do the window: Follow the same instructions as above to make the paste but only leave it on for 30-45 minutes before wiping it clean.
Another method which has proven to be particularly effective for people who use a convection oven is to harness the degreasing power of citrus oil! Specifically, cut two lemons in half and squeeze the juice into an ovenproof dish and then put the lemons themselves into the dish. Fill the dish about one third up with water, put it in the oven and bake at 250 degrees for about half an hour. The citrus oils and water will create vapour in the oven, loosening the gunk so it’s easier to remove. When the oven has cooled, you can scrub off the caked on grime much more easily and you can use the lemon water that’s left in the dish as your cleaning liquid. Dry it well and you’re done!
For a microwave oven
We’ve all seen things splatter in the microwave and if you don’t mop it up right away, the residue will get cooked onto the surfaces, making them harder to shift.
For cooked on messes on the bottom and/or glass turntable in the oven:
Mix up a paste of baking soda and water (2:1 ratio) and put it on the mess. Let it sit for about 10 minutes and then wipe it up with a wet cloth or rag, drying up any left over with a paper towel or dry rag.
To loosen grime on the rest of the microwave interior:
Use the power of steam! There are two ways to accomplish this and people swear by both so you’ll just have to use what works for you.
First way—Soak several paper towels and place them in the microwave. Run it for 3 minutes on high. The steam from the towels will soften the grime and you can, once they’ve cooled down a little, use them to wipe down the inside of the oven.
Second way—Fill a glass bowl with water and run that in the microwave for two minutes, again on high. Leave the door closed for another couple of minutes and then remove the bowl and wipe down the inside of the oven with a damp rag.
Both systems work on the principle of steam: it’s really a matter of preference!
Cleaning your stovetop
Do you have a range with electric coils? Wipe down the coils with soapy water and then rinse them with a damp cloth—do not submerge them in water! Dry them up and plug them back in. Your drip pans, whether foil or stainless steel, can be soaked in water. The baking soda / water paste from the oven section of this post will work similarly on these, to get really stubborn stains off.
Do you have a gas range? Wash the burners with warm water and soap to take off the greasy film that tends to coat these. Then make the same 2:1 baking soda / water paste as above and coat the burners, avoiding the holes for the gas output. Let that stand for fifteen to twenty minutes and then scrub off any residue.
Do you have a glass top stove? These are wonderful to cook with but can be particularly pesky in that they stain easily. When the stove top is fully cooled, use a clean, damp cloth to remove as much as you can of any loose particles from the cooktop and then spray with a mixture of vinegar and water, wiping immediately to remove the stain. Repeat until the stain has lifted then dry the surface once. The best advice for glass top stoves is to clean them immediately after they have cooled. Re-heating an existing stain will only make it that much harder to shift. It is possible to use a scraper (specially designed for these stoves) to remove cooked on grime but that really should be a last resort, to avoid scratching the surface.
Other tips for your range
Did a little grease splatter in the oven while you were roasting dinner? That can start to smoke, at the very least, and make a virtually unshiftable mess, at worse. So get out the table salt and pour some onto the grease. Yes, while you’re cooking! Finish getting dinner ready and by the time you’re roast is done, you’ll have a pile of ash, where the grease was, that is easy to wipe out of a cooled oven!
Do your oven racks not glide in and out very smoothly? A lot of people forget to scrub the wall ridges when they’re doing the rest of the oven but a lot can accumulate there, getting stuck between the wall and the rack. Give them some extra attention and then wipe them down with a little veggie oil for easy gliding.
Oven racks not dishwasher friendly? Depending on the size of your oven, the racks may not fit into your sink or laundry washtub for easy soaking and who wants to have all that grease in the bathtub? Another solution is to put your rack in a plastic garbage bag—the heavy duty models work best. Add a third of a cup of dishwashing liquid, a cup of white vinegar and hot water (as hot as you can manage) to fill the bag. Seal it up and place it in the tub or laundry tub that has been prefilled with warm water. Leave it there for about an hour. When you remove them from the bag, you’ll be able to scrub off anything that is still stuck without having to immerse the rack!
Need to wash your range hood filter? Easy peasy! Fill a bucket that will allow the filter to immerse fully with boiling water. Add a good squirt of dish soap and about a quarter cup of baking soda. Swish it around with a dish brush to combine (Remember! It’s boiling hot!) and then submerge your filters. Let them soak for about fifteen minutes and then get out that old toothbrush that you’ve been meaning to replace anyway and give it a scrub. You can add more soap if you need to. Rinse the filters very thoroughly with clean hot water and let them dry before replacing them in your range hood. To avoid having to deal with TOO much grease, try putting this on your ‘once a month’ things to do list!
Cleaning the stove and oven isn’t fun but those pesky families of ours like to eat a couple of times every single day so it’s best if they’re in good working order and clean as a whistle!
Do you have any cool oven cleaning tips to share?