Cleaning the oven can be hard work but it's a necessity.

How to clean an oven without oven cleaner?

A dirty oven need to be cleaned

Cleaning your oven. You see it as hard work, a chore you tend to delay. I understand that. But do you know that burned food can become a fire hazard and give a sour taste to your food? There’s an easier way to do it. You don’t even need to buy a specific product for that. Now, you may wonder how to clean an oven without an oven cleaner. All you need is baking soda and vinegar.

Why I don’t use oven cleaner?

Oven cleaners are toxic

Oven cleaner contains harsh chemicals. According to a study, they can cause burns when in contact with skin or eyes, nausea when you eat food contaminated, or cough if you inhale the vapors. Do you really want that around your food? I don’t think so.

On top of that, oven cleaners are expensive.

Why I don’t use self-cleaning?

In fact, I use it sometimes because who doesn’t want something that burns to ashes all the dirt and stains so you just have to wipe it? But it has some drawbacks.

It can provoke toxic smoke that may harm you, your family, or your pets. Depending on how your oven is, it can also be stinky. Greases are not always completely burnt. After the treatment, they will be more difficult to clean than before.

What will you need to clean your oven?

You’ll only need a few products and items you already have in your house:

  • baking soda (also known as bicarbonate of soda or sodium bicarbonate)
  • vinegar
  • gloves (optional)
  • a spray bottle
  • and that’s it!

How to clean your oven without oven cleaner?

  1. Remove everything that’s in the oven: pans, rack, thermometer, etc…
  2. Form a paste with baking soda and water: ½ cup of baking soda for 3 to 4 tablespoons of water.
  3. Spread it in the oven avoiding the heating elements and aluminum elements. You can use a paintbrush or your gloved hands. Hands make it easier to be sure the paste goes everywhere but the baking soda will make your skin dry. So it’s better to wear gloves. The paste can become brown. It’s the magic happening.
  4. Let it sit overnight (or 12 hours). 
  5. Meanwhile, clean the oven racks and trays. You can soak them in hot water and dishwasher detergent or, if your racks are in stainless steel, you can use the same baking soda paste. Baking soda discolors aluminum so it’s better to avoid it if your racks are in aluminum. Leave it to rest overnight as well.
  6. Use a damp cloth to remove as much of the dried paste as possible. You can use a plastic spatula to help if it doesn’t come easily.

    Use a spray bottle of vinegar to continue cleaning your oven

  7. Spray the inside of the oven with vinegar. It will become bubbly in contact with the baking soda residues. You can add 2 or 3 drops of essential oil if the vinegar’s odor bothers you but the odor will go away as the oven dries.
  8. Rinse with clear water. 
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Other solutions to clean your oven that don't imply oven cleaner

Lemon and steam

Use lemon and steam to clean the oven without cleaner

It works best if your oven is slightly dirty. 

Put water and the juice of a lemon in an ovenproof dish. Heat up to 170°C for an hour. Wait until the oven has cooled down. The steam will have molten the stains. It’s time to scrub them. 

This solution works better with a convection oven as the fan will spread the steam in every corner of the oven. If you don’t have lemons, you can use vinegar instead.

Dish detergent, baking soda, and vinegar or lemon juice

This solution helps with steel surfaces.

Form a paste with ½ cup of dish soap, ½ cup of vinegar or lemon juice, and 5 to 10 tablespoons of baking soda.

Heat up the oven to 50°C and turn off the oven once it’s hot. Spread the paste in the oven and on the racks (if made of stainless steel). Let it sit for 12 hours or overnight. The following day, wash with warm water. Leave it to dry.

How often should you clean the oven?

It is recommended to clean it every 3 or 6 months. I clean mine quarterly. It might seem a lot but the task is so much easier that it’s really worth cleaning the oven as often. The sooner you clean spilled food, the easier it will be. So, if you can, wipe it as soon as your dish has finished cooking.

How to keep the oven clean?

Dishes with lids will help cleaning less

The best way to clean the oven is to not have to clean it. These few tips will help you go in this direction.

Get an oven liner

It’s not expensive and you can wash it instead of the bottom of your oven. Just be careful not to use aluminum ones or aluminum foil, as they can fuse to your oven surface.

Put a spare roasting tray on the bottom of your oven

The goal is the same as above. You want to collect grease and food before it hits the bottom of your oven.

Put a lid on your dishes

Putting a lid isn’t always possible but when it is, the lid will prevent grease splashes from your casseroles and roasts.

Don’t overfill your dishes

Yeah, a bubbly full dish is mouthwatering but a bigger one will save you time cleaning and your dish will still be appealing!

Cleaning the oven with fewer chemicals doesn’t mean you’ll have to scrub it for hours. What method will you use? baking soda and vinegar, or lemon and steam?

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