Whether you’re cooking up elaborate three-course meals or simply warming up leftover pizza, if you use your oven, you need to clean your oven. An appliance that is one of the central pieces of a kitchen (we would argue that the fridge is number one, the oven is number two), ovens are necessary for most forms of cooking, regardless of the cuisine or level of difficulty of the dish. We all use our ovens, but do we all clean our ovens with the best oven cleaners?
A clean oven is more aesthetically pleasing, but are guests checking out your racks? Probably not. Still, cleaning your oven is important for several reasons. Food, grime and grease left in an oven can catch fire and pose a major safety risk. It can also cause your oven to release smoke or fumes. Leftover food can impact the taste of future meals, with your freshly baked muffins tasting like last week’s salmon.
Removing food from your oven door makes it easier to see food cooking inside, while also eliminating the need to constantly open the oven door and lose heat. A clean oven also allows air and heat to be evenly distributed, helping your oven run more efficiently.
Even though cleaning an oven is important, many of us avoid this chore because it feels like such a daunting task. That’s why SPY spoke to Rachel Zepernick, Interior Home Expert at Angi, to get tips on when and how to clean our oven.
SPY: How often should an oven be cleaned? How do you know when it’s time to clean your oven?
Zepernick: As a rule of thumb, you should clean your oven once every three months. However, you may need to clean your oven more frequently if you use it often. If you see or smell any burnt residue when you use your oven, it’s time to give it a deep clean.
SPY: How should someone prepare their oven before cleaning it?
Zepernick: Before you clean your oven, turn it off and allow it to cool completely. Take out any removable objects, like oven racks, bakeware and thermometers.
SPY: What should you avoid doing when cleaning an oven?
Zepernick: Don’t rely only on your oven’s self-cleaning feature. It can be an excellent feature when paired with regular manual cleaning, but it shouldn’t be used on its own. You should also avoid abrasive cleaners when cleaning your oven. These cleaners can scratch the enamel on your oven or cause the mechanisms of your oven to malfunction.
SPY: Is there a natural way to clean ovens?
Zepernick: I recommend creating your own oven cleaning solution using baking soda and water. Simply combine 1/2 cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water and mix it together until it forms a paste. Put on some rubber gloves and spread the paste around the interior of your oven using your hands. Let it sit overnight and wipe it off with a damp cloth in the morning. After the baking soda layer, you can also spray the surface with some white vinegar, which can help remove any grime that is stuck. Finally, wipe down the oven with a damp cloth to remove all remaining residue.
If making your own cleaner at home isn’t getting the grease and grime out of your oven, there are several professional products that can help. Cleaning the outside of your oven often requires a multi-purpose oven cleaner or something more specific, like the Stainless Steel and Cooktop Cleaner bundle from Therapy. When it comes to venturing inside your oven, grime and grease-fighting specialists are needed. Check out our top picks for the best oven cleaners below.
1. Easy-Off Professional Fume Free Max Oven Cleaner
If you’ve got some extra time to clean your oven and want to cut down on labor, it doesn’t get much better than Easy-Off Professional Fume Free Max Oven Cleaner. Spray your oven, including racks, with Easy Off and let it set for an hour. Then simply wipe the interior of your oven clean with a cloth and enjoy a shiny, new-looking appliance. Easy-Off doesn’t contain lye or harsh fumes and it can be used to clean an entire oven at once or just for spot cleaning. Users don’t have to heat their oven before cleaning to get great results and the spray can also be used to clean oven doors.
2. Goo Gone Oven and Grill Cleaner
Save your hands and your back from scrubbing baked-on messed with Goo Gone Oven and Grill Cleaner. This biodegradable, no-fume oven cleaner clings to surfaces, making it easy to target specific messes without the cleaner dripping. Safe for self-cleaning and non-self-cleaning ovens, Goo Gone can be used inside ovens and on oven racks, as well as pots, pans, outdoor grills, toaster ovens and more. Goo Gone works fast to break apart tough messes, including grease, grime and carbon deposits, with users simply spraying affected areas and then wiping the mess away.
3. Easy-Off Heavy Duty Degreaser Cleaner Spray
SAFE FOR ALL OVEN PARTS
For a versatile cleaning option that can handle baked-on messes, there’s Easy-Off Heavy Duty Degreaser Cleaner Spray. Customers can spray the degreaser on any spots that have burnt food, grime, or grease and use a soft cloth to lift and remove the debris. Rinse the spray away with water and your oven, as well as cooktop, stovetop, counters, cabinets, sink, microwave, and backsplash will look clean and fresh. Designed for hard, non-porous surfaces, the Easy-Off spray has a fresh lemon scent and works in seconds.
4. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser with Dawn
Mr. Clean Magic Erasers can be used on just about any surface in the home and are great for getting out scuffs, marks, and dirt. The company also has a scrubber that is specifically designed to help with kitchen messes. The Mr. Clean Magic Erasers with Dawn has added grease-fighting properties that help get rid of grease, burnt-on messes, and more from stove tops, inside ovens, microwaves, sinks, and other areas that need some TLC. The erasers work fast, with users simply adding a small amount of water and squeezing the eraser to activate the cleaning ingredients inside the pad. Mr. Clean advertises its scrubbers as four times stronger than all-purpose bleach spray.
5. Carbona 2-In-1 Oven Rack And Grill Cleaner
BEST FOR RACKS
For oven racks that need a deep clean, try Carbona 2-In-1 Oven Rack And Grill Cleaner. The cleaning set includes a large bag that can hold up to two oven racks. After removing large pieces of food and debris from the racks, users can place the racks inside the Carbona plastic bag and cover the racks with the enclosed liquid. Move the bag around to ensure the liquid has completely coated the racks and let Carbona work its magic overnight. No scrubbing is required, and customers simply wipe down the racks after removing them from the bag, ready to go directly back into the oven. The set also comes with a pair of disposable gloves and can be used to clean grill grates.
6. Kona Safe and Clean Grill Grate Cleaner Spray
EASY RACK CLEANER
If you don’t want to remove your racks but still want to get them clean, there’s the Kona Safe and Clean Grill Grate Cleaner Spray. Made with a no-drip formula, users can spray the cleaner directly onto their racks and wait 20 minutes for Kona to soften baked-on food and grease before wiping the rack clean. The water-based, fume-free, non-flammable and biodegradable oven cleaner works on oven racks, as well as cookers, smokers and just about any type of grill.
7. Method Cleaning Products Kitchen Degreaser
Clean multiple appliances and surfaces in your kitchen with the Method Cleaning Products Kitchen Degreaser. Made with non-toxic, plant-based ingredients and free from phthalates, propyl-paraben, butyl-paraben, and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), the Method Degreaser cuts through grease and baked-on food that is inside ovens and on racks, as well as stove tops, range hoods, and drip pans. The cruelty-free cleaner has a gentle lemongrass smell that helps to neutralize odors left behind from cooking.
8. Stax Astonish Oven and Cookware Cleaner
For an oven cleaner paste that won’t produce any harmful fumes, we like the Stax Astonish Oven and Cookware Cleaner. Users can work the paste into grimy, greasy and baked-on messes with a scouring pad and then wipe away excess product with a cloth. A great option for anyone who doesn’t want to deal with fumes while cleaning their oven, Stax Astonish works fast and is great for spot cleaning or using on the entire oven. While customers should avoid using the paste on non-stick coated pans, Stax Astonish can also help to clean stove tops, including ceramic and glass stoves, pans, sinks, tiles, chrome, metal and more.
9. The Pink Stuff
If you’re a fan of TikTok, there’s a good chance you’ve fallen under the spell of watching videos of people cleaning their entire home with The Pink Stuff. The UK cleaning product has developed a cult following as a multi-purpose cleaner and we’ve tested it ourselves and found it to be an affordable and powerful cleaning agent. The Pink Stuff works for getting grease and grime off oven doors and can remove burnt food from inside your oven with some elbow grease. If you’re looking for a low-cost cleaning product that can be used on other areas of your kitchen, this is a great option.