Ever wonder how a self-cleaning oven works? It heats to 800+ degrees Fahrenheit, burning off food and turning it into ash. Yikes! It can set off the smoke detector, and when the cycle’s finished, you’ll probably still need to do a good scrub.
For a safe, natural alternative, you need only look to your cupboards. Baking soda and water, when mixed, make a powerful spreadable paste. Coat the oven in it, wait a while, and wipe. It works as well as chemical cleaners without the harsh fumes, but you’ll want the right brushes to access hard-to-reach grease spots. A kitchen appliance cleaning set comes in handy, with a loop brush for racks, angled brush for surfaces and chisel scraper for grooves and nooks.
Step 1: Remove and clean the racks.
Pull out your oven racks. Fill a sink (or a bathtub if your racks are extra-large) with hot water and dishwashing soap. Soak them for an hour or more while you proceed with the next steps. After they’ve soaked, scrub them with a non-abrasive tool, like a loop brush. If any stubborn spots remain, follow up with a deep-clean brush.
Step 2: Make your paste.
While your racks are soaking, mix ½ cup of baking soda with several tablespoons of water, adding a bit at a time until you have a thick paste.
Step 3: Degrease the oven.
Pull on a pair of dishwashing gloves. (This step gets a little messy.) Avoiding the heating coils, spread the paste over the interior of your oven with a heavy-duty scrub brush. Get into the corners and crannies, and don’t forget to cover the grimy oven door. Let the spread sit for several hours—you can even leave it overnight to really soak up the grease.
Step 4: Scrub the interior.
After a few hours or a full night, use a damp cloth to wipe the dried paste from the oven interior. Scrub as you go with an angled brush, and spray a small amount of white vinegar to tackle any tough grease that still remains—it will react with the baking soda, foaming and fizzing. Do a final wipe-down with the damp cloth, replace your racks, and you’re (almost) done!
Step 5: Clean underneath.
Don’t forget the line of dust underneath the oven. Pull a slim microfiber duster around and underneath the oven to catch the last few crumbs. Now you’re ready for cleaner cooking!
Good Tip: If your oven’s not in need of a deep scrub, you can put a heat-resistant bowl of water inside and cook it on high for 15 minutes or so to loosen dirt and grime. (It’s like giving your oven a mini steam-bath!) Turn off the temperature, let the stove cool down, and use a silicone spatula to scrape any remaining grease. Finish with one final wipe-down.
Inspired to use baking soda and vinegar to clean your whole kitchen? Learn how to clean stainless steel appliances, porcelain sinks and other grimy surfaces with a few quick tips.