You don't need us to tell you that oven cleaning is one of the most difficult and messy jobs out there. but it's important to tackle nevertheless.
A dirty oven not only looks horrible but there are many practical reasons to keep it clean too. Old food stuck to the inside of your oven could be a fire hazard and may make your oven inefficient. Your food will take longer to cook and your freshly baked cakes could taste a bit funny too.
Whether you've suffered a horrendous recipe mishap resulting in a serious mess or it's just been a shamefully long time since you cleaned it last, it's time to get down to business and get that oven clean once and for all.
Luckily for you, we've got some easy peasy ways to get yours amazingly clean in a flash - they don't call us 'experts' for nothing!
Editor's Note: This post was originally posted in May 2016 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in January 2019.
How to clean your dirty oven
Let's get the job done in 8 easy steps...
1. Make sure your oven is cool & remove excess dirt
Begin by taking out all your oven racks to get them out of the way. Using a paper towel or old cloth, remove all those pesky little bits of burnt food from the base of your oven, wiping the bits straight into a dustpan pan or bin if possible. The more you remove now, the less you'll have to get rid of later.
Make sure your oven is completely cool before moving onto step 2.
2. Mix baking soda with water
Now it's time for a little magic!
In a bowl, mix up 1/2 a cup of baking soda with water to form a paste. Spread the paste all over the bottom of your oven (avoiding the heating elements). I would advise putting on some rubber gloves and using your fingers to make sure the mixture gets everywhere, including the really stubborn caked-on dirt!
3. Washing powder vs oven racks
Meanwhile, time to think about those racks!
This is an extra-special secret tip that will really work. Pour some washing powder into a bath of very hot water and put your oven racks into it overnight. We've heard that dryer sheets do the trick too. All the grime will be easy to remove after a little scrub in the morning. Magic!
If they're not too dirty and you need your bath, try placing them in the dishwasher.
4. Leave it to rest
Let the baking soda and water mixture do the work overnight while you rest and dream about how lovely and clean your oven will be.
5. Clean your oven window
Use the same baking soda and water mixture you used for the inside of the oven and apply the paste to the inside of your oven window. Let it sit for half an hour then, using a cloth, wipe the window clean.
6. Sort out the stovetop
Whilst you're at it, you may as well give the stovetop a quick once over.
Mix together the following ingredients:
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of baking soda
- 1 tablespoon of water
Scrub the top of your stove with the paste and wipe clean - easy!
7. The next morning
It's time! Head to your oven and with a damp cloth wipe away the dried paste. Grab a rubber spatula if you need an extra hand to remove the paste.
8. Use vinegar & a damp cloth
Finally, pour some vinegar into a spray bottle and spritz the areas that still have baking soda on them. Grab your damp cloth again and wipe the excess bits away. After a quick scrub of your oven racks, place them back in the oven.
How to keep your oven clean (6 tips to help)
Oven cleaning is much cleaner when you make an effort to keep it cleaner in the first place. Here are a few things you can do to prevent mess.
1. Ask everyone to help
If you have a big family or household that uses the oven, ask everyone to pitch in and clean up after themselves. This way, you won't end up with layer upon layer of grease that you'll have to clean up on your own.
2. Get an oven liner
Never clean the bottom of the oven again with an non-stick oven liner from Amazon - a pack of three are only £8.90! Line the base of the oven with these heavy duty oven liners. They can be cut to fit and will collect any food that is dropped while using the grill or oven. The liners can be cleaned with ease, plus they're dishwasher safe.
3. Use a second roasting tray
If you've got a spare roasting tray then put it in the bottom of the oven. If you have to cook with the lid off on the shelf above, then line your spare tray with foil to help catch any flying grease.
4. Don't overfill your dishes
If you fill your casserole dish right up to the top, then you're asking for trouble. Don't do it! Find a suitable pan for your meal with plenty of height room.
5. Steam clean the outside of your oven
Steam can get rid of 99.9% of harmful bacteria in the home, so if you're serious about keeping that oven clean, get a Vax S4 grime Master. You only have to wait for two minutes for it to heat up and then press the trigger to release the steam - it couldn't be easier!
6. Stick a lid on it
What do you think's the best way to clean an oven? Share your method with us in the comments below!