Wondering how to clean an oven without using any harsh chemicals or high heat? We don’t blame you. Cleaning the oven is one of those jobs that feels more like a weekend project than just another task to check off the cleaning to-do list.
And the process leaves plenty to be desired: You can either use the oven’s self-cleaning function and deal with the fumes as it burns off grease and residue at 600 degrees, or use a highly toxic oven cleaner that can burn your skin. But there’s an easier way! You can make a natural, chemical-free cleaning paste with two items you most likely have on hand: baking soda and vinegar. It’s safe, natural, and gets the job done.
Here, we’ll walk you through how to clean an oven using baking soda and other supplies you probably already have in your kitchen pantry. We can’t say you’ll start to look forward to cleaning your oven, but it will definitely feel like less of a smelly ordeal.
1. Gather Your Materials
To thoroughly clean your oven, you'll need the following cleaning supplies:
2. Remove the Oven Racks
Take out the oven racks and set them aside. Be sure to remove any other items in the oven, such as thermometers or pans.
3. Make a Paste With Baking Soda
Mix half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of water together until it makes a spreadable paste. You’ll be coating the entire oven with this paste, so make enough to cover the whole surface—just double the recipe if you need more.
4. Apply the Cleaning Paste
Spread the baking soda paste all over the interior of the oven (you may want to wear rubber gloves to protect your hands—it’s a pretty dirty job, and the grime will get under your fingernails if you go gloveless). Stay clear of the heating elements as you apply the paste. Be sure to cover those extra greasy spots and don’t worry if the paste is thicker in some areas. The paste will begin to turn brown as it comes in contact with the grease.
5. Let the Cleaning Paste Sit for at Least 12 Hours (or Overnight)
Once you’ve completely covered the inside of the oven with the baking soda paste, let it sit for at least 12 hours. In the meantime, you can turn your attention to the oven racks. The best way to clean oven racks is to give them a soak in hot water for two hours. If you have a big enough sink, great! If not, the bathtub also works. Wherever you choose, the key is to soak them for two hours, then scrub them with soap and rinse them.
6. Wipe Off the Cleaning Paste
Use a damp rag to wipe off as much of the baking soda paste and oven residue as you can. If elbow grease isn’t cutting it on particularly stubborn areas, you can use a spatula to gently loosen the residue.
7. Spray Vinegar Inside the Oven
Add white vinegar to a plastic spray bottle and spray all over the interior of the oven. White vinegar is an excellent cleaning agent. It will cause any residual baking soda paste to foam up and loosen completely.
8. Wipe It All Out
Use a damp rag to wipe the oven clean. Return clean racks to the oven and allow the interior to dry completely. (You can turn it on to a low temperature for a few minutes to speed up the process.)
9. Clean the Interior of the Oven Glass
Now it’s time to tackle the oven window. (After all, you want to make sure you have a clear view of your newly spotless oven interior.) To clean the window, make another paste out of baking soda and water, spread it over the window, and let sit for about 30 minutes. Wipe off the paste with a damp rag or paper towel.
10. Wipe Down Oven Doors and Knobs
While you’re at it, you’re going to want to give the exterior of the oven door a vigorous wipe-down. You can use a natural vinegar cleaner for this too: Make a mixture of 50% water and 50% vinegar, spray it onto a rag, and use it to clean the exterior. (If you spray it right onto knobs and panels, you risk getting the cleaner into a control panel and shorting it out. Better safe than sorry!) Rub the outside until spots and streaks are gone.
11. Line Your Oven With Nonstick Sheets
Your oven is sparkling clean at this point, but we wanted to add one last step to make sure it stays that way. Pop in nonstick oven liners to help you fight off future grease.
How often should I clean my oven?
The answer depends on how much you use it. The more frequently you use it, the more splatters and residue will accrue. If you use it often, aim to give your oven a deep clean once every three months. If you use it less regularly, every six months or every year works just fine.
If you ever notice any significant residue lurking in the oven or you’ve spilled something accidentally, make sure to wipe it out once your oven is cooled so it doesn’t keep baking (and undoubtedly smoking every time you turn on the oven). In fact, giving your oven a light wipe-down once a month is a good rule of thumb to keep grime from building up.
Written by Kristi Kellogg.
This article originally appeared on AD Clever.