How to clean an oven
We are happy to share our knowledge as professional oven cleaners but we would point out that DIY oven cleaning is entirely at your own risk. We have years of experience and insurance against damage so we urge you to take your time and be careful.
In general a newer, good quality, branded, oven will be designed to come apart to be cleaned. If you have an ‘old junker’ then please don’t risk taking anything apart. Remember it is much easier to take something apart than re assemble it afterwards. We have cleaned really old ovens were screws had vibrated and fallen out and only dirt was holding the oven together. Other times screws or even the oven body have disintegrated to rust. However, horror stories aside, most newer ovens have been designed to be cleaned relatively easily (with the exception of Smeg and Britannia ovens).
You probably don’t realise but there are dozens of different types of mechanisms used to attach, remove and disassemble oven doors. A professional oven cleaner training course costs around £800.00 and covers all of these door types. However we don’t have time to cover that much detail here. We would urge you to READ THE MANUAL as it always has a section on how to clean your oven.
Removing oven parts before cleaning
Listed below are the parts of your oven to remove to make cleaning faster, easier and more thorough. If you are not too bothered and just want a ‘quick wipe around’ then it is best to leave them in place.
Removing the self cleaning panels– This is usually quite easy to do and is advised to avoid damage. See the self cleaning ovens section for more details.
Remove the oven racks and side holders– Some ovens have corrugated sides that the chrome oven racks fit into. This means lots of tight corners that hold dirt and are really difficult to scrub. If the oven racks sit on chrome side runners there are various removal procedures depending on the type. Some just pull out, others come out at an angle or unclick or unscrew. If you don’t know how how they work make sure not to use force and cause damage. Check the manual.
Removing the oven door– What to do if the oven door is in the way of cleaning? Removing bottom hinged doors makes getting into the oven to clean much easier. Also you will avoid putting weight on the door and damaging hinges or breaking the glass. There is usually a release mechanism on the hinge. However there are many different types so see your oven manual for details. Side hinged doors are usually best left in place. If you are unsure and live in the North Devon area contact us for more information.
Removing the oven door glass– If you want to clean grease or fat from between the glass panels. There is are many ways of removing the inner glass panel, unless you have a sealed ‘double glazed’ unit (found in more expensive triple glazed ovens), so check the oven manual. When cleaning remember this is tempered glass and scratches more easily than normal glass so use a non-scratch pad.
Removing the fan and fan housing– The back panel which covers the fan should unscrew and come out. To remove the fan, put a socket on the nut and spin the fan clockwise (it has a reverse thread). Once the nut is removed the fan should slide off. Most fans are quite easy to remove but please check your oven manual before starting. There are issues with certain Bosch oven fans being hard to remove and mole grips might be required. If you have problems then either contact a professional oven cleaning service or leave the fan in place.
We will be covering cleaning under oven stovetops and gas hob pan supports on a new web page soon.
Caustic oven cleaning spray
Caustic oven cleaning products e.g Mr Muscle, contain Lye (chemical name Sodium Hydroxide also known as Caustic Soda) and solvents. They rely on this to soften and displace burned-on oven grime. The directions for these cleaners will tell you to use rubber gloves, goggles and avoid contact with your eyes or skin.
Animals (especially birds) and children are more susceptible to these fumes than adults. Please take extreme care to limit access to the kitchen and have adequate ventilation (a carbon filter face mask is recommended).
Caustic soda will damage polished surfaces, rubber (door seals), heating elements, aluminum hinges and the outer trim of your oven. Prolonged use can cause damage to chrome oven racks.
Professional oven cleaning tip-
Please note that the vast majority of commercial oven cleaning services DO NOT use caustic cleaning solutions.
You may well have used this stuff at home but it often causes damage to your oven if used incorrectly. It may promise a quick fix, after elbow grease and Fairy Liquid has failed and it can work if you follow the instructions. If you do use it, always wear eye protection!
Contact us for more information about booking a professional oven clean.
The tradition baking soda method
This is the traditional way of cleaning an oven. It does work but required some scrubbing effort (as do all non-caustic methods). Expect about 80-90% of dirt removed, depending on how dirty it was to begin with and how long you are prepared to spend scrubbing.
- Remove the oven racks: and any pans inside the oven.
- Removable oven rack cleaning: Line the bottom of your bath with two old towels to prevent scratches. Place your oven racks on the towel.
- Cover the racks with hot water.
- Add dishwasher detergent: Dissolve 1/2 cup dishwasher detergent.
- Let soak for 4 hours, or overnight.
- Brush off any remaining gunk: After soaking, gunk and stains on the racks should be soft and easy to wipe off. Use a non-abrasive scrub brush or sponge.
- Make a baking soda paste: In a small bowl, mix a 1/2 cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water until you have a spreadable paste.
- Coat your oven: Spread the paste all over the interior surfaces of your oven. However steer clear of the heating elements but pay attention to any particularly greasy areas.
- Let it sit overnight: Allow the baking soda mixture to rest for at least 12 hours, or overnight.
- Wipe out the oven: Take a damp dish cloth and wipe out as much of the dried baking soda paste as you can.
- Spray a little vinegar: Put a little white vinegar (brown will do at a pinch) in a spray bottle. Squirt everywhere you still see baking soda residue in your oven. The vinegar will react with the baking soda and gently foam.
- Do a final wipe down: Take your damp cloth and wipe out the remaining foamy vinegar-baking-soda mixture. Repeat until all the baking soda residue is gone.
Dishwasher powder is one of the strongest non-caustic degreasers you probably have to hand (similar to clothes washing powder but with less foam). This is stronger than normal detergent so wear rubber gloves and old clothes as it may contain bleach.
Dissolve a couple of tea spoons full with warm water in a refillable sprayer. You can get these from a garden centre or DIY shop. Follow the instructions above for the baking soda method.
Apply to the inside of the oven, then close the door and leave for 10 minutes. Open the oven and scrub with a scouring pad (but use a non-scratch pad for the glass), remove dirt residue with a damp cloth. Repeat the process until all dirt is removed. Rinse thoroughly with a damp cloth.
This works well for cleaning the internal shell of the oven.