There are pros and cons to every “easy” solution. This is especially true with regards to the easiest way to clean an oven: the self-clean cycle has its benefits, but at what price? We’ll review some oven cleaning tips so you have all the info you need when deciding how to clean your oven.
Oven Cleaning Tips & Proper Maintenance
Oven maintenance should include regular cleanings to avoid a buildup of food particles and grime. Try to wipe down spills as soon as your oven cools and clean your oven on a monthly basis with vinegar and/or baking soda to avoid accumulated staining.
In addition, many of us opt to use the self-clean cycle the day before Thanksgiving or a big event. One of our biggest oven cleaning tips is that you should use the self-clean feature at least a month in advance of a major holiday or dinner for reasons we’ll discuss below. We’ll also suggest some ways to clean an oven naturally that eliminate any risks to your oven or health.
Is it Safe to Self Clean an Oven?
While the self-clean feature on your oven does a great job of cleaning hard-to-remove stains, this benefit comes with a host of potential dangers. When using temperatures as high as 800 to 1000degrees Fahrenheit to burn off food particles there is a chance of the following risks:
- Production of carbon monoxide when high heat combines with food particles
- Creation of foul odors when high heat affects ovens’ interior coating
- Oven malfunctions such as blown fuses, broken heating elements, and overheated wiring. These require professional repair that may not happen in time for a holiday or an important dinner.
How to Properly Self Clean an Oven
If your oven is heavily soiled and you must use the self-clean function, here are some oven cleaning tips to make it as safe as possible:
- Check your owner’s manual before initiating the self-clean cycle. Sometimes there’s an option to select the length of your cleaning cycle. We recommend choosing the shortest time frame.
- Try to leave your kitchen windows open to ventilate the room during the self-clean cycle. If you have a vent hood or other kitchen ventilation system, use it to direct fumes outside.
- Avoid using the self-cleaning cycle the day before a big holiday or an important dinner. There’s no way to know when it could cause an oven malfunction or if it will be repaired in time for your event.
Natural Method #1: Baking Soda and Vinegar
Instead of risking harmful fumes or an oven malfunction with the self-cleaning cycle, we have some oven cleaning tips using natural ingredients and no harsh chemicals. Here’s how to clean an oven with baking soda and vinegar:
- Remove oven racks.
- Mix a paste of 1/2-cup baking soda and about 3Tbsp water.
- Wearing gloves, spread the paste throughout the oven’s interior, excluding heating elements. Allow to sit for 12 hours or overnight.
- Use a damp dishtowel to wipe off paste.
- Spray the oven interior with white vinegar to remove baking soda residue.
- Use another damp cloth to wipe away vinegar and residue.
- Replace oven racks.
Natural Method #2: Vinegar Steam
If you prefer a homemade oven cleaner without baking soda we also have oven-cleaning tips for how to clean with vinegar steam:
- Remove oven grates, soaking them in warm soapy water.
- Vacuum up loose food particles with a nozzle vacuum attachment.
- Replace the oven’s bottom grate in the center of the oven.
- Mix 1 part vinegar and 1 part distilled water in an ovenproof bowl.
- Place the bowl on the oven’s rack, close the door, and heat the oven to 250degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes.
- Turn the oven off, remove the bowl, and spray the oven’s interior with the vinegar solution. Close the door and wait 30 minutes.
- When the oven is cool, wipe down the interior with a damp sponge. The stains should lift off with ease.
After using any of these oven-cleaning tips, we recommend testing your oven in advance of a holiday gathering to make sure it cooks properly. In the event that you need an oven repair after a cleaning or any time of year, Advance Appliance Service is happy to help. Give us a call today to answer any questions or concerns!