How to Clean an Oven in 3 Different Ways

Right now, your oven probably has trace amounts of your last several meals baked onto its interior. It happens — your food is bound to bubble up and splatter every once in a while. But if you let those spills go for too long without cleaning them up, they will start to negatively impact the flavor of the food you’re cooking and your oven’s ability to operate properly. This makes oven-cleaning a key part of oven maintenance. There are a few ways to clean an oven, so read on to learn some helpful cleaning tips.

How often should you clean your oven?

How often you should clean your oven is largely based on how often you use it. If your oven starts to smoke when turned on, develops a strong odor or has a lot of grease and grime buildup, it’s probably time to give your oven a deep clean. Depending on what kind of cook you are, it may need cleaning once a month, once a year or at some regular interval in between.

1. How to clean an oven using the self-clean function

If you have a couple hours to spare, the self-clean function on your oven is by far the easiest cleaning option. Before putting your oven in self-clean mode, consult your owner’s manual to find out what type of self-cleaning method your oven has. It will be one of these three types of self-cleaning methods [1]:


Pyrolytic ovens get their name from the term pyrolysis — the process of decomposition caused by high temperatures. This type of oven will heat up to an extremely high temperature to reduce all of the baked-on material inside to an ash-like substance. This process takes 2 to 4 hours, after which you simply wipe down the oven.

Continuous cleaning

Continuous-cleaning ovens have a special coating that’s engineered to prevent messes from becoming concentrated.[2] For instance, grease will spread out instead of forming droplets. This lining also turns built-up grime into ash at normal baking temperatures, unlike pyrolytic ovens.


Steam-cleaning ovens feature their own distinct coating that releases dirt when met with steam and low heat. This cleaning process usually takes about an hour, and once it’s done you just wipe up the fallen grime.

Each self-cleaning method will have a unique set of steps to follow, so always review your owner’s manual first. In general, here are the steps you’ll need to follow [1]:

  1. Empty the oven. Remove the oven racks and everything stored in the oven. Note that racks can warp in the oven from a high-heat pyrolytic cycle.
  2. Remove residue. Clean up as much residue as possible with a spatula or paper towel.
  3. Add water. For steam-cleaning ovens, pour water in the bottom of the oven (check your manual for the necessary amount).
  4. Lock the oven. Lock the oven door to prevent accidentally coming into contact with extreme heat or interrupting the cleaning process.
  5. Start the self-clean cycle. Adjust the time based on how dirty the oven is — the longer the time, the deeper the clean.
  6. Let the oven cool down. After the cycle ends, allow the oven to cool.
  7. Do a final wipe down. Wipe up the ash and loose dirt with a damp cloth.

2. How to clean an oven using oven cleaner

Cleaning an oven with a store-bought oven cleaner can often be the quickest way to clean your oven. However, keep in mind that these cleaners contain some harsh chemicals, so avoid this method if you’re sensitive to their scent.

Follow these instructions on using an oven cleaner [3]:

  1. Empty the oven. Remove the oven racks and everything stored in the oven.
  2. Spray the cleaner. Make sure to spray the oven cleaner all over the interior of the oven, including the sides, bottom, top and the back of the door. Avoid directly spraying any heating or gas elements.
  3. Let it sit. Close the oven and let the spray soak as directed on the cleaner’s label (typically 20 to 30 minutes).
  4. Wipe down the oven. When the time is up, use a damp cloth to wipe down the oven. If you come across stubborn spots, try using a rough sponge or brush. Make sure you wipe up all of the cleaner.

3. How to clean an oven using a DIY oven cleaner

This DIY method is a safe, natural and effective way of cleaning your oven without the need for a long self-clean cycle or any specific cleaning products. All you need is water, baking soda and vinegar. Here’s how to do it [4]:

  1. Empty the oven. Remove the oven racks and everything stored in the oven.
  2. Make a DIY cleaner. Combine ¾ cup baking soda with ¼ cup warm water to create a paste. Create more paste as needed.
  3. Coat the oven with the cleaner. Using a sponge or a paintbrush, apply the paste all over the inside of the oven. Avoid bare metal surfaces and the door.
  4. Let it sit overnight. Leave the paste overnight.
  5. Wipe down the oven. With a plastic scraper or spatula, scrape off the paste, then wipe down with a damp cloth.
  6. Wipe down the door. To clean the oven door, wipe it down with a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar.

How to clean oven racks

While your racks are out of the oven, you might as well clean them, too.

  1. Soak your oven racks in warm, soapy water for a few hours
  2. Scrub with a sponge or scouring pad [4]

For more intensive cleaning, you can use a store-bought or DIY oven cleaner in the same way you would for your oven — just ensure you have a safe space to set your racks while the cleaner does its work.

Now that you know how to take care of your oven, it may be a good time to figure out how to take care of the rest of your home. Learn more about the different types of homeowners insurance today.






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