One of our most commonly used appliances, ovens are notorious for collecting grime, gunk and mess. Cleaning an oven is often a lengthy chore that requires a lot of elbow grease, which is why most people put it off. Not only does the mess easily accumulate on the oven walls, but it’s usually in hard-to-reach spots.
It’s professionally recommended that your oven gets a proper, thorough clean every 3-6 months, depending on how often you use it. However, here are some easy ways to give your oven a quick DIY clean in between those big cleans.
These DIY methods are effortless and convenient, and you’ll find that most require the same set of natural ingredients that you’re likely to already have in your household.
Remove Grime overnight with Ammonia
The first cleaning tip I can offer to you is to use an overnight method. This will save you a lot of time, as most of the grunt work happens while you’re asleep and the preparation process isn’t too long!
This first method removes grime using ammonia, a chemical that can be found at your local Coles, Woolworths or Bunnings. While this method is highly effective, keep in mind that it might not suit everyone. Although ammonia is a natural ingredient, it has a very strong smell and, while most can handle the smell for cleaning purposes, others may find it a little too strong.
- Preheat the oven to 65ºC and start boiling your kettle. Once the oven heats up, turn it off.
- Place a baking dish full of boiling water on the bottom rack and a baking dish with one cup of ammonia on the top rack.
- Close the oven door and leave overnight. For the next 12 hours or so, the ammonia works to soften the grime on the oven walls. This makes it a lot easier and quicker to scrub off the grime the next morning.
- The next day, open the oven door and air it out for 15 minutes or so. Pour the water down the sink, but don’t get rid of the ammonia just yet – it can double as a cleaning scrub.
- Add 1-2 teaspoons of dishwashing liquid and some warm water to the ammonia.
- Use a sponge, scrubbing pad or brush and the ammonia solution to wipe down the oven walls, removing as much gunk as possible.
- It’s helpful to finish this method using one of the DIY deodorising methods below to give the oven a fresh smell.
Remove Grime overnight with Baking soda and Vinegar
For those who would prefer not to use ammonia, here’s a similar overnight method using less harsh ingredients – baking soda and vinegar.
- Mix half a cup of baking soda with a few teaspoons of water to create a paste consistency.
- Use a scrubbing pad to spread a thick layer of paste all over the oven walls.
- Leave overnight. The baking soda causes the grime to dissolve easily and is likely to harden overnight.
- The next day, use a damp sponge or scrubbing pad to wipe away the baking soda paste. Once the baking soda touches water, it will soften up again, making it very easy to remove, along with the oven gunk residue. If necessary, use a hard bristle brush for an extra scrub.
- Next, fill up a spray bottle with white vinegar. Spray all over the oven walls and use a cloth to wipe down. This gives the clean a finishing touch.
Deodorise with Vanilla, Vinegar or Lemon Juice
Not only does grime accumulate in the oven, but so does food smells, and you’re going to want to get rid of these right away. After all, you wouldn’t want to bake a cake in an oven with a baked fish smell lingering.
For the best results, it’s useful to deodorise your oven after you’ve scrubbed it, so there’s no remaining gunk still leaving a smell. However if you haven’t scrubbed it properly, make sure to at least scrape away any obvious mess.
- Place a baking dish of water in the oven, mixed with a couple of drops of your choice of scent (either vanilla extract, white vinegar or lemon juice).
- Put the oven on a low heat for one hour. If you feel the need to, check up on it halfway to make sure the water hasn’t evaporated.
- After the hour’s up, turn the oven off and leave for another hour to cool down.
Deodorise with Orange or Lemon Peels
Rather than throwing away your orange and lemon peels, why not repurpose them to create a fresh, citrus smelling cleaning solution?
- Accumulate your orange or lemon peels in a mason jar.
- Pour white vinegar into the jar until it covers all of the peels. This is important because the peels will rot if the vinegar doesn’t cover all of them.
- Leave the jar to sit in the fridge for five days or so. This allows for the peels to release their oils into the vinegar.
- After a few days, pour the liquid into a spray bottle.
- Spray all over the oven walls and wipe away as necessary.
Note that this method also works best if the grime on the walls has already been scrubbed off.
Don’t forget the Oven Door
Chances are your oven door won’t have accumulated as much mess as the walls, but it’s important to clean this as well. Quick and effective methods include using a baking soda solution or spraying vinegar then wiping it down. Rather than thoroughly scrubbing, oven doors are a lot easier to clean, as they usually just need a wipe.
Recommended Professional Clean
It’s recommended that you get your oven professionally cleaned every 3-6 months, depending on how often you use it and how much grime has accumulated. Not only is this important for kitchen hygiene, but also for oven functionality. If your oven begins to emit smoke, takes too long to preheat or if it’s affecting the taste of your cooking, then it’s a warning that it’s time to get a thorough clean.