Proven practices to keep your oven clean

July 27, 2015

Spilled grease and food can prevent your stove from working properly, and baked-on foods can give your kitchen an unpleasant smell. These pieces of maintenance advice will keep your oven clean and running well.

Proven practices to keep your oven clean

Self-cleaning vs. continuous-cleaning

  • Self-cleaning ovens use a high temperature cycle that reduces spills to ash, which can be wiped away with a sponge.
  • Ovens that are "continuous-cleaning" have a textured surface that removes light spills at normal cooking temperatures. The surface causes spills to spread out, then slowly burn away. Larger spills must still be wiped up immediately.

Learn about oven cleaners

  • Commercial oven cleaners that contain lye are effective, but also dangerous. The warning labels on such products are quite long and detailed, and they should be followed closely. For example, lye can cause serious burns and pollute the air with toxic fumes.
  • Oven cleaners can also damage the porcelain finish on self-cleaning ovens, which is why they are generally not recommended by oven manufacturers.
  • Check your owner's manual carefully before using cleaners. If you use lye-based cleaners or any other undiluted, heavy-duty cleaner, wear rubber gloves, safety goggles, and a long-sleeved shirt.
  • Remember to open your windows for ventilation when using oven cleaners.

Clean your oven's surfaces

Strong abrasive cleaners and scrubbing pads can quickly scratch the surface of your oven. A safer alternative is a nylon scouring pad. These are recommended for use on nonstick cookware, and they are more effective on hard-to-remove oven dirt than a sponge. Used with a suitable cleanser, the pads will remove baked-on grease without damaging the oven's walls.

Clean the burners

If the flame of a gas burner is weak or uneven, it may be clogged.

  • To service most burners, you must first lift the range top and prop it open.
  • If the cap of the burner is removable, soak it in hot water and dishwashing liquid.
  • Use a toothpick or thin wire to clean out the holes and crevices. Rinse well and dry thoroughly before replacing.
  • If the cap cannot be removed, lift out the burner assembly following the manufacturer's instructions and clean the assembly.
  • If cleaning does not improve the flame, call for repairs.

Clean the knobs

  • Knobs on electric and gas ranges can be pulled off and soaked in warm water and dishwashing liquid. Scrub them clean, taking care not to rub off any markings. Let the knobs dry thoroughly before replacing them.
  • While they are soaking, clean the area that's usually hidden by the knobs.
  • If any knobs are broken - or if their markings are hard to read - find new ones at an appliance store.
  • Take the old knobs with you so that you can find identical replacements. The openings must fit the knob stems exactly and can only be mounted in one position.

Clean the hood vent

  • Most models have a mesh filter, which keeps grease from getting into the ductwork. Inspect the filter once a month, and clean as necessary.
  • Remove the filter and soak it in hot, sudsy dishwater. Let the filter dry thoroughly before replacing it in the vent housing.
  • If the filter is damaged, be sure the replacement is the right size.

Keeping your oven clean and in good shape will help extend its lifespan. And you'll always be ready to cook up a storm.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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