While the refrigerator and microwave tend to get regular wipe downs, the oven remains overlooked. It is used again and again while minor spills from cheesy casseroles or drippings from Sunday roasts get burnt and caked onto its interior surfaces.
For minor melts and icky oozes that have collected on the glass, grates and bottom of your stove, a speedy steam with a homemade cleaning solution can make quick work of the chore of cleaning your appliance. There are other oven cleaning hacks that can help too.
Why a Homemade Steam Cleaner?
A cleaning solution made from vinegar, water and baking soda or other natural ingredients is nontoxic and effective. It eliminates the amount of elbow grease you'll need to scour and scrape the baked-on blech in your oven.
Oven-cleaning hacks that use homemade cleaner include sprinkling baking soda and vinegar on the glass and bottom and giving it a good scrub. Once that is complete, the leftover bits of food and grease will lift off after a good steam.
Before Cleaning an Oven
Remove all of the grates and place them in the dishwasher if they fit without hitting any of the jets or blades in the tub. Once the grates are cleaned, put just one back at the bottom rack of the oven.
Place a metal pan on top of the rack. The deeper and larger the pan, the more cleaning solution it can safely hold. If your oven is truly dirty, a metal casserole dish or baking pan should be deep and wide enough.
You don't want the pan to be too deep and large, or the steam that rises from the bubbling cleaning solution won't have enough room to do its magic along the walls, ceiling and bottom of the oven's interior.
Benefits of Steam Cleaning
The option on a self-cleaning oven can take up to two hours to finish, can heat up the kitchen and can leave layers of soot to clean up once the cleaning cycle is complete. The typical steam clean with a pot of water takes about 30 minutes.
Steam Clean Oven Options
Some ovens have a steam clean option. For these models, pour just one scant cup of water into the cool oven and turn on the steam clean option. The job should be complete in about 30 minutes. The oven works with a low temperature so it doesn't lock and is safe to open while it is steaming crud off the oven walls.
How to Steam Clean Your Oven
You need a hot oven, the solution and a pot of your choice. Set the oven to 450 degrees and let it run at that temperature for 20 minutes and up to an hour with a pot full of water or a cleaning solution. This will loosen any dirt and grime that has attached to the oven's interior surfaces.
Wipe down the interior of the oven after it has had time to cool. Don't wait too long, or the loosened stains and food bits will reattach to the oven's interior.
Steam Clean Solutions
Plain water can work wonders for basic spills and puddles of oil in your oven. If the spill has just occurred in the oven, a pot of plain water should be enough to lift the stain from the surface, and you can simply wipe it up with a standard washcloth.
To clean the oven with vinegar, mix one part vinegar to one part water.
If the stains have had some time to set, you can use straight vinegar in a large pot in a hot oven for an hour. This can emit some serious aromas that may irritate your eyes or nose. It isn't toxic, but it should be reserved for seriously dirty ovens.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.