Easy Oven Cleaning Tips

Time to clean your oven? Try these handy tricks.
Photo credit – las_intially

If your oven is setting off the smoke alarm every time you make a pizza, it might be time to give it a good cleaning.

Self-clean ovens have a setting that allows it to reach very high temperatures and burn leftover food mess into ashes. Do NOT use oven cleaners on self-clean ranges. And be sure to take out the racks before you start a cleaning cycle, so that they continue to glide well.

If you don’t have a setting for cleaning your oven, you’ll have to manually clean it of course. (Cue the voice Jim Warner, who started Warners’ Stellian, with a joke about manual-clean ovens ALL fitting under ‘self-clean’: “Of course it is…you clean it yourself!”)

To manually clean your oven:

1. Allow the cavity to properly cool down. We don’t need any heroes on our hands.

2. Remove the oven racks. These can be cleaned with steel wool, water and dish soap. To clean trickier messes, put the racks in a garbage bag with a cup of ammonia overnight in the backyard and rinse with the garden hose in the morning.

3. Try scrubbing the oven cavity with soap, water and a soft cloth or sponge. Hopefully, this will do the trick.

4. If more rigorous cleaning is needed, our customer service rep, Amy, suggests the following natural oven-cleaning remedies:

  • Mix ΒΌ cup ammonia and 2 cups of warm water in a bowl, pour it into your oven, and close it up tight. If you’re at home during this, you can open a few windows to ensure ample ventilation. You can clean out the dirty oven with a scrubby sponge after a few hours or overnight.
  • Fill a spray bottle with 1 tablespoon Borax (which works great as an affordable laundry detergent booster), 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, dishwashing soap and a quart of warm water. Spray the oven walls. After an hour, scrub it clean and rinse thoroughly.
  • Creating a paste of baking soda and vinegar and leaving it on the oven cavity surface could work well. But if you have a gas range, be careful to cover the holes of the gas line really, REALLY well, because if they get clogged, that’s a bad thing. If you go this route, you should be able to scrape off food mess with a spatula. Wipe out the oven thoroughly afterwards.

What tricks are we missing? Share them in the comments so we can crowdsource a great resource for anyone looking to get those ovens cleaned.

Of course, if you need to stock up, we’ve got cleaning supplies in stock, too.

Should You Put Aluminum Foil In the Oven?

Maybe your grandma used to use tinfoil to line her oven floor to aid cleanup. But times have changed; tinfoil is no longer made of tin. The stuff you use to shield your ham is actually aluminum foil, which has a lower heat tolerance.

A Case Study on Aluminum Foil in the Oven

Warners’ Stellian‘s expert service guy, Gene, passed on a cautionary tale after he ordered a new, $90 oven floor for a customer.

A well-meaning woman lined the bottom of her oven with aluminum foil, to catch all the food that bakes into the oven.

Instead of having to scrape it all off, she could just pull out the aluminum foil, and voila, no more mess.

Except she ended up with a bigger mess when the aluminum foil melted onto the oven. Turns out the heat tolerance between aluminum foil and tinfoil from the good old days makes a difference.

Aluminum foil-maker Reynolds warns against the practice of lining your oven.

From the Reynolds FAQ webpage:

To avoid possible heat damage to your oven, we do not recommend using aluminum foil to line the bottom of your oven. Rather, we recommend that you place a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil on the oven rack beneath the pie or casserole you are baking. The foil should be only a few inches larger than the baking pan to allow for proper heat circulation. The foil will catch any drips before they reach the oven bottom.

There you go. Smart play on Reynolds part, right? Because you know people will end up getting rid of the sheet of foil and using a new one next time.