A gas oven can be one of the most difficult kitchen appliances to clean. Besides receiving frequent use, ovens tend to bake on any food spilled inside them, causing it to become hardened and hard to remove. Unlike electric ovens, gas ovens lack a high-heat self-cleaning feature. However, there are some tips that can make cleaning your gas oven easier and less time consuming.
One of the best things you can do to make cleaning your gas oven easier is to wear rubber gloves during the entire process. If you're working with harsh chemical cleansers, this is absolutely essential. Even if you use a mild cleaner, gloves will keep your hands from soaking up water and cleansers, along with grease and oven debris. Gloves will also protect your hands from the rough scouring pads you may have to use.
Patience is an essential part of cleaning a gas oven. Just as the food inside an oven gets baked on over time, it will only break down and come off with time, too. Apply your cleanser and leave the oven to soak for an hour or more. This will allow time for the chemical process to do its job, making the scrubbing and debris removal that much easier once you return to the task.
Use Scouring Pads
Use abrasive scouring pads inside the oven and a more fine pad on the stove top and oven door. Soft cotton cloths and paper towels are fine for detailed finishing work, or for rinsing and drying the clean oven, but will have little effect on harsh grease and baked-on food. Metal scouring pads and steel wool work best on metallic surfaces inside the oven, while synthetic scouring pads work best elsewhere.
Make Your Own Cleaner
There are several basic cleaning solutions that you can make yourself, rather than spending money on chemical cleaners or risking the health effects of bringing chemicals into your kitchen. One simple gas oven cleaner is 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon bleach, diluted in a quart of water. For more troubling ovens, make a paste from 5 tablespoons baking soda, 3 drops liquid dish soap, and 4 tablespoons white vinegar. Apply this paste and let it eat away at the oven dirt before scrubbing it clean with a scouring pad.
An alternative cleaner can be made from equal parts salt, baking soda, and water. Apply the paste to the inside of the oven, then close the door and heat the oven to 500 degrees for an hour. Let the oven cool before wiping away the cleaner, and the dirt along with it.
Avoid Heating Elements
Whenever you clean a gas oven, avoid getting the heating elements wet. This is more of a challenge with gas ranges where the burners are exposed, but it can be tricky in an oven, especially when cleaning the broiler section just below the heating elements.
If you do get cleaner or water on the heating elements, test the oven to see if it will still light. If not, use a dry cloth or paper towel to dab the heating element where it appears wet. If the oven still won't ignite, you may need to wait for the water to fully dry. Use a hair dryer and paper towels to speed up the process.