Easy guide to keeping a clean oven

July 28, 2015

Proper cleaning improves your oven's efficiency, extends its life and, most importantly, reduces the risk of fire. Even if you have a self-cleaning oven, these tips will help you get rid of those messy oven deposits.

Easy guide to keeping a clean oven

1. Sponge surfaces every day

The most basic rule of keeping your oven clean is to wipe exterior surfaces to remove food spills every time you wipe down your countertops.

  • All you need is a moist sponge.
  • Make it a habit and you'll save time in the end, because even the exterior surfaces get warm enough to bake food on fast. Besides, this is the part of your oven people do see.

2. Wash racks and grill pans

To clean the interior, start by removing all oven racks and grill pans.

  • Wash them by hand in a sink, regardless of the type of oven you have.
  • Use a solution of warm water and dishwashing liquid.
  • Scrub with a nylon-bristled brush or other gentle, non-metal scrubber.
  • Anything abrasive, such as steel wool, will scratch the metal's finish, which can lead to rusting and will make food stick even more the next time.

3. Get rid of baked-on food

To loosen baked-on deposits in a conventional oven, fill a glass bowl with 125 ml (1/2 cup) of full-strength ammonia.

  • After making sure the oven has cooled, put the bowl of ammonia in the oven, close the door and let it stand overnight.
  • The fumes will release the bond between the crusty food and the oven interior.
  • The next day, open the door and let the fumes dissipate.
  • Then remove the bowl and wipe away the loosened food with a cloth or sponge.

4. For more stubborn bits

To remove food that did not come off completely after the ammonia treatment in your conventional oven, try scouring with a non-abrasive scrubber dipped in a solution of warm water and dishwashing liquid.

  • As with the racks and grill pans, avoid scratching the oven's finish.
  • On a flat surface, such as the door glass or the oven bottom, try scraping with a plastic ice scraper — the kind you use on your car windshield.

5. When to use commercial cleaners

As a last-ditch effort when cleaning a conventional oven, try a commercial oven cleaner.

  • Follow the instructions carefully and wear protective rubber gloves when applying.
  • These products are strong and harmful to humans.
  • Never spray a commercial oven cleaner on a hot oven, electric elements or oven lights. Heat can make the cleaner even more caustic.

6. Prep a self-cleaner

Self-cleaning ovens disintegrate food spills with temperatures as high as 480°C (896°F). However, the high heat doesn't reach all parts of the oven, and in areas such as the frame around the oven opening and the edge of the door outside the gasket, the self-cleaning cycle can actually bake food on even more.

  • First clean those hard-to-reach parts with a non-abrasive scrubber dipped in a soapy solution of hot water and dishwashing liquid.
  • Rinse well using a sponge and a bucket of clean water.
  • Once the self-cleaning cycle is complete and the oven has cooled down, wipe out the ashy residue with a damp sponge.
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