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 last cleaned it, it's time to learn how to clean an oven once and for all.
Today, we're sharing the best way to clean an oven. 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 June 2020.
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The best way to clean an 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. Use the best oven cleaner
Now it's time for a little magic!
As far as we're concerned the best oven cleaner you can ever buy is baking soda. Yes - that's right. Baking soda might seem unassuming, but it'll make light work of removing grease and grime from your oven. You can splash the cash on harsh, chemical-based oven cleaning products, but we prefer this cheap and natural oven cleaner.
To get started with your homemade oven cleaner, 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). We 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. How to clean oven racks
Now, it's time to think about those oven racks! This is normally the hardest part of cleaning the oven, right? Well, not anymore. We've got an extra-special secret tip that really works.
Pour some washing powder into a bath of very hot water and put your oven racks into it overnight. All the grime will be easy to remove after a little scrub in the morning. Magic!
If you've not got any washing powder to hand, we've heard that dryer sheets do the trick, too. Just place a few sheets in the bath with your oven racks. Leave overnight and then use the sheets to give the racks a good scrub.
If they're not too dirty and you need to use 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. How to clean oven glass
Now for the satisfying part: cleaning oven glass. 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.
Another popular method is to use a cheap dishwasher tablet. Without removing the coating, dip a dishwasher tablet (the powdery kind) in some warm water. Rub it against the glass of your oven door, making sure to dip it in the water every now and then to keep it wet. You'll see how easily it removes the grime!
Speaking of oven glass... have you ever wondered if you can put glass in the oven? Read our article to find out!
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 oven cleaning hacks to help)
Oven cleaning is much easier when you keep on top of it. 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 a 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
This is a great oven cleaning tip. 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.
Speaking of pans... want to know how to clean burnt pans? Check out our other article.
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 your hands on a steam cleaner. 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
Cover up your bakeware or casserole dishes with a lid. This will prevent grease spitting everywhere and getting the oven dirty.
Are you going to try our tips? Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more cleaning hacks!
What is the best way to clean an oven?
The best way to clean an oven is by using our baking soda method. Not only is it cheap and natural, but it takes out all of the hard work! Give it a try today.
How do I clean the inside of my oven without baking soda?
No baking soda? No problem. The easiest way to clean your oven without baking soda is by using The Pink Stuff cleaning paste. It's truly amazing!
In this video, we show you how to use The Pink Stuff to clean your oven door and hob:
Will baking soda damage my oven?
Using baking soda to clean your oven will not cause any damage if done correctly. The reason why it's so safe, compared to any chemical cleaner you could use in its place, is because it's non-toxic, easy to use, not as abrasive or harsh.
What does Mrs. Hinch use to clean her oven?
Cleaning sensation, Mrs. Hinch, has been known to use The Pink Stuff and Elbow Grease to clean her oven. Check out our articles to find out how it's done!
What do you think is the best way to clean an oven? Share your method with us in the comments below!
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to the reader, we earn a commission if you click through to one of our recommended products and make a purchase.
IS BAKING SODA THE SAME AS BICARBONATE OF SODA.
Hi Alfred, yes they are the same. :)
What is the best way to clean stubborn stains in the bathroom on grout? I've used the vinegar and the paste one but it's still there
Hi Kash, check out Anushka's blog post on the stress-free way to clean your bathroom for more answers - https://experthometips.com/the-stress-free-way-to-clean-your-bathroom. You can also visit my blog post on 21 superb cleaning hacks for a stunning bathroom here - https://experthometips.com/21-superb-cleaning-hacks-for-a-stunning-bathroom
Bleach and a toothbrush for grout
Thanks Jane, great tip!
After you've cleaned your bathroom tiles rub them down with car turtle wax when you have a shower the water runs off and helps to keep your groat clean
Thanks for sharing, Mick!
I put my racks in the dishwasher and remove before the drying cycle. This softens the residue is easy to wash off.
Fantastic tip Julia - thanks!
My secret tip, is for cleaning my glass kettle, is pour a medium sized bottle of white vinegar and some lemon juice. Fill it just about the level of the lime scale, bring the kettle to the boil, turn it off,just as it starts to bubble, leave it for @ 30mins, rinse and add the same amount of water and bring to the boil. Do this @ 3 or 4 x. When it's cooler dry and shine it with a cotton tea towel, it's like Bran New! & you can see that lovely Blue light shining brightly as it Boils. Magic!
What a great secret tip Lorraine - we have hard water around here so that will come in useful. Thanks! :)
Hi margaret here I put my mucky silver shelves into my dish washer and then hit them with a steel scrubber they came up like new Have a go great margaret
Thanks for your tip Margaret - I'll be sure to try that!
I have a large flat baking tray which sits on the bottom of my oven lined with foil. I just replace the foil when needed. You can pick these up cheaply in bargain shops. They fit the space better than a roasting tray and take up hardly any room.
Thanks Susan for your great tip! Hope you liked the rest of the post. :)
Hi Colleen, you said not to put mixture on back of oven where fan is. So what's best to wipe that part down with. Thanks
To clean the fan part, unplug your oven and allow it to cool completely. Next, clean the area surrounding the fan with a solution of warm water and a gentle, non-abrasive cleaner using a soft cloth or sponge. Rinse with water and dry with a clean cloth.
How do you clean the grill between the heating elements ?
My tip is to simply wipe the oven out whilst still warm each time it is used, and you will never have to resort to all these measures. It only takes minutes to don rubber gloves & action, & leaves your oven always looking clean with shining shelves.
Hi Jo. This sounds like a very sensible idea - if only I remembered each time! Thanks for sharing :)
A better way of soaking the oven trays, rather then soaking in a bath, soak in a plastic storage box, a large one, better then getting the bath dirty, use biological washing powder rather then the non bio as the enzymes in the biological one break down the burnt on food and grease on the tray, finally use steel wire scourers to save on the elbow grease.
That'll do the trick, David!
I would like to enter this suggestion. Recently cleaned my tea kettle. It was covered in grease and splashed food. I filled a dish pan with hot tap water with Dawn dish detergent. Added water to the kettle so it would not raise above the water. Let it soak overnight, the next morning the grease rolled off. Needed a little scrubbing on some spots. Kettle looks new.
That sounds great, Kathy!
When the engineer came to med our oven, he said do not use the oven liners on the bottom of the oven as the heat that is generated under them makes the enamel on the bottom crack, I wondered If it may be better to put the liner on the bottom rack that way there is not as much heat trapped under the liner, but it may have a detrimental effect on the chrome of the rack instead, I do not know the answer to that one, I could ask the next time an engineer comes If it breaks down again.
That's interesting, Margaret. Thanks for sharing!
My engineer said the same. I put the liner sheet on the bottom shelf instead
I always put a layer of silver foil on the bottom of my oven, then remove when dirty and put a fresh piece of foil down.
Great tip, Julie!
With the hob tip will that work on a ring that has water damage? I boiled a gammon joint and the water came out the sides even with a lid. The ring is now a browny colour in places. Not sure if the top layer has been damaged. Thanks for any help.
Hi Charles! It's certainly worth a try. Hobs can be a nightmare to clean, but we'd recommend trying out a hob scrapper too. They really help to remove any burnt on food or stains.
Done my oven yesterday using the bicarbonate of soda and water paste was easy peasy thank you xx
Great to hear, Alison! Thanks for getting in touch.
When I try this the soda fizzes then goes hard.. am I doing something wrong..?
Hi Clary! It should fizz, but I'm surprised to hear that it goes hard. Are you able to explain in a bit more detail?
I'm wondering if the oven was still warm when it was cleaned therefore hardening the baking soda mix?
Hi Debbie! Yes, the oven should be completely cool when cleaning.
Yes i find the bicarbonate of soda a great method
Great to hear, Susan!
You should not use ‘silver’ foil at the base of the oven. This is actually aluminium foil and at high temperatures can melt an stick to the oven surface, permanently damaging it. This happened to me.
Thanks for sharing, Tim!
I don't know why aluminum foil would melt. I've kept a piece in the bottom of my oven for many year, replacing periodically. I sometimes use 500 degrees or broil, never had a problem.
Same here. I’ve had my current oven for at least 20 years and have used foil on the bottom most of that time, and have never had problem, even when broiling.
If the aluminum foil touches the heating element it will burn the element into. Always make sure it’s flat on the bottom of using. My Aunt ruined my mom’s new stove by doing this. The repair man said it’s a very common thing and he didn’t recommend it unless always making sure it’s flat
This is because aluminium is a good conductor of electricity and can cause a short circuit if it directly interacts with the heating element. To avoid this, it is vital to keep the aluminium foil flat on the bottom of the oven and not let it come into direct contact with the heating elements.
What about the back of the oven it has lots of holes in and behind it is the fan
To clean the back of your oven with lots of holes and a fan, turn it off and unplug it, remove the racks and trays, access the back, and clean the fan and holes with a soft-bristled brush or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment, wipe the back with a damp cloth, reassemble the oven, and clean the front.
Instead of putting your racks in the bath overnight and using the sink if you need the bath. Why not use the sink in the first place
A bath is bigger, so you can fully submerge the racks. Some people only have a small sink!
How do l clean the fan in my oven. When l switch the oven on, most times now the fan will not turn until the oven has started heating up. I suspect it is because there is cooking grease stopping it rotating. And l am l little concerned the fan motor may burn out one of these days. Pleae help me how to clean it. Thanking you in anticipation.
To clean the fan in your oven, turn it off and unplug it, locate the fan, remove the cover, clean the blades with warm soapy water, dry it off, reattach the cover, and check if the fan is working properly by plugging in the oven and switching it on. If unsure, consult the user manual or seek professional help.
I've always used an old baking tin in the bottom of my oven, each time you replace a baking tin for cooking use the old one at to replace the one your already using. I always use tin foil to line a roasting tin when cooking pork even if your using a trivet, to stop the salt ruining the non stick coating when you scrub it (the salt is abrasive) Salt mixed with dish soap is great for getting things like engine grease off of your hands too
An easy way to clean oven racks is to scrunch up aluminium foil and gently scrub the bars.
Before I start cleaning the oven, I sometimes put a ovenproof dish with some water and turn the oven on to heat up. This seems to loosen the dirt and wipes off easily without using chemicals.
That sounds good!
That sounds good!
The simplest tips are sometimes the best- Don't Let it Get Dirty! Put liners down or pans underneath is so obvious we forget it.
It's so true!
Does anyone know how to remove all the tannin that builds up inside a ceramic teapot? I have tried the Bicarb/citric acid methods but without results.
Remove tannin buildup from the ceramic teapot by filling the pot with warm water and white vinegar, letting it soak for a few hours and scrubbing it with a soft brush. Another option is to use a baking soda solution or lemon juice and water.
The bicarbonate of soda is best for me and if you add 2 lemons (juice) it will smell nice and kill bacteria! xxx
Glad to hear, Natalie!
Going to use baking soda & vinegar! No chemicals.
Glad to hear, Judy!
How do you clean the inside top of the oven, with the heating element being there. Just be extra careful?
Hi Julia! This part of the oven is very difficult to clean and better left to the professionals, if possible.
Wallpaper scrapers and steam cleaner remove caked on oven grime. A kitchen fitter gave me a great tip to clean stainless steel appliances and chrome taps, showers etc. Use baby oil and buff up.
Great tip, Ellen!
I haven’t heard about the pink stuff! Is it in the states? If so where can I find it ? Thanks for great tips Cindy
It's pretty hard to find in the US, though you might find it on Amazon.
I used this method and the next am have massive amounts of dried baking soda still. Do ijust rinse?
Hi Anne! Yes, just rinse with a cloth and plenty of clean water.
The natural way with baking soda and white vinegar
We love this method!
How do I clean the roof of my oven. where the element is.
To clean the roof of your oven where the element is, first make sure the oven is turned off and cool. Then, gently wipe away any debris or buildup using a damp cloth or sponge with a mild cleaner.
Steamer is good for cleaning ovens
Thanks for sharing, Karen!
Thank you for this handy tip. I'm going to use the baking soda and vinegar paste since I don't care for using toxic chemicals if I don't have to. I Love cleaning, I always have, but the oven is one area that's been very difficult due to my low back problem. This looks to make the task much easier.
We hope it helps!
Regarding the bath and washing powder soak, would washing liquid be just as effective or does it need to be powder? I’m feeling motivated to get oven cleaning now!!! Thanks for the tips.
We would suggest washing powder. Alternatively, you could use washing-up liquid!
Thanks for this article. I love and look forward to reading all your amazing new articles. I much prefer natural cleaning products, as do not want to use toxic chemicals. I only wish that I had read this earlier, as it would have saved me a lot of time spent scrubbing! We upsized and moved house at the end of January and the previous owners left us a really great Rangemaster, as it was integrated, but the hob rings and oven were black! Do not think they ever cleaned them. I had to scrub it them with a steel scourer and now visitors think the Rangemaster is new! Jo Jones' advise to wipe the oven after every use is really the easiest way to keep it clean and never get it so dirty that it becomes a big and daunting job. I also always place a spare big baking tray at the bottom of the oven, so it catches all the bits of food that fall down and any overspills. From an Expert Home Tips fan.
We're so glad you love Expert Home Tips!
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