Episode 82 When Was the Last Time You Cleaned Your Oven?

When was the last time you cleaned your oven? It had been 2 years since I had cleaned mine. Now before you roll your eyes and call me a slob, know that I had some reasons for delaying the chore.

Cleaning ovens is dirty business. Most effective methods cause fumes and you have to weigh the possibility of causing damage to your oven.


Before using any method:

Remove the racks from the oven. (See below for cleaning the racks)

Vacuum out any loose debris or wipe out with a cloth.


Self-Cleaning Options

Most ovens have a self-clean option. The oven door locks and then heats up to over 900 degrees Fahrenheit. The extreme heat incinerates any baked-on food or splatters. The ashes can easily be wiped out with a damp paper towel or rag.


It is relatively hands-off. Once the self-clean cycle is complete you simply wipe with a damp cloth.


It can damage the enamel on the inside of the oven if over used.

It can damage the electronics from the intense heat.

It releases fumes that are strong enough to kill a bird so you want to ventilate the room as much as possible.


If you choose to use a self-clean cycle, place a fan pointing on the electrical panel to keep it as cool as possible. If you are able to pull the oven away from the wall, place a fan there too. Turn on your vent hood to pull as much of the fumes and heat out of the kitchen as possible. Be sure to open windows and ventilate the area as much as you can.


Chemical Oven Cleaner Option:

Use a chemical oven cleaning spray to dissolve baked on food. Easy Off is the most common brand.


Faster than self-clean cycle

The oven does not get to high temperatures so you don’t have to worry about damaging electronics or enamel.


Releases fumes

It is caustic and you need to wear long gloves.

It requires a little more work to wipe clean.

If you choose to use a chemical oven cleaner like Easy Off, be sure to read the label and directions carefully. Wear heavy duty long gloves. Ventilate the area well by opening windows and running exhaust hood.


Dish Soap and Baking Soda Option:

Use a combination of Dawn or Mrs. Meyers Clean Day liquid dish soap and baking soda. These two brands have a stronger de-greaser action than most other liquid dish soaps. Baking soda has a light abrasive action that helps scrub off the baked-on grime.   


Not caustic

Does not cause fumes



Takes much more work and elbow grease to clean the oven.

The soap can leave a residue that needs to be rinsed off.


If you use this option, spray the inside with a water and soap mixture and let set for 10-20 minutes to start the degreasing action. Follow with a rag and baking soda to scrub off any debris and grime.


To clean the racks:

I got this technique form GoCleanCo. Put the racks in a plastic bin in the bathtub. (Do not put them directly in the tub as they will scratch it.) Fill the bin with the hottest water you can get and add 3-4 dishwasher detergent tabs. Let the racks soak in the hot water and dishwasher detergent. It takes several hours, but the grime and burnt bits just come off. You can wipe them down with a damp cloth to pull off the loosened bits of grime.


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