I have a self-cleaning oven. If you have ever actually run a cleaning cycle with one you will know that you cannot do it during the winter. Unless, you know, you really like the smell of already burnt oil/food being charred to death all night long. There has to be some window action happening while the cycle is running to make it even slightly bearable, and even then it’s pretty bad (ok, really bad). As it’s the middle of the winter a cleaning cycle would pretty much be torture, but my oven was amazingly dirty. It was pretty much covered in blackness. Delicious, oily, blackness.
So you can imagine I was pretty excited to come across a chemical-free way to clean an oven! All it took was baking soda, water, and a little vinegar water for clean-up – supposedly. I was pretty skeptical, because baking soda and I aren’t exactly close friends when it comes to cleaning, but I thought I’d give it a go. The worst that could happen is it wouldn’t work and I’d have to either wait until warmer days to torture my family or go buy an oven cleaning solution somewhere. Here are my results:
I wasn’t cool enough to take a before photo but you can pretty clearly see what it looked like before (particularly on the door). There was grime everywhere, and now there is less grime. Success!…kind of. I’m not exactly sure why it only cleaned the bottom half of the door because I definitely slathered the paste all over the door and the window. I’ll have to give it another shot. It took me a little less than 30 minutes to clean all of the baking soda off the oven and door so that wasn’t terrible. Overall I would recommend this cleaning method because it beats the pants off of the self-cleaning cycle and – to be honest – who wants to marinate in chemicals for the amount of time it takes to clean the oven up?
I also tried a trick for cleaning the oven racks. Cleaning oven racks (or toaster oven racks) is probably my least favorite kitchen task. I hate standing in the kitchen with an S.O.S pad trying to awkwardly lean the giant rack against something so I can have a go at the caked on crud that is, inevitably, all over the blasted thing. Just thinking about it is unpleasant. So when I read that you could simply soak the suckers overnight and then wipe them clean in the morning I was pretty psyched!
I’m pretty rotten at taking pictures of the inside of ovens but, alas, I had no luck. Some of the heftier grime came off but the racks are not clean. I would not recommend soaking oven racks overnight. It’s too much trouble because you need to lay a towel or two down under them to protect your bath tub. Ringing out a sopping wet beach towel filled with ice cold, somewhat oily water is not my idea of making things easier. I will keep searching for a better way though. There must be a better way!
Without further ado here is the oven cleaning method:
1/2 cup baking soda
3 Tbs. water (or more)
Spray bottle filled with vinegar water
Combine baking soda and water, mixing until a thick paste forms. Start with just 3 tablespoons of water and work up a little at a time if you need more. Don your gloves and slather that paste all over the places you need to clean being careful to avoid the heating element. Close the oven door and let that puppy sit overnight. When you can get to it the next morning/day, spray down the surface you’re ready to wipe off with vinegar water and wipe away the grime.
It really is that easy. Sometimes it takes a little elbow grease, but mostly everything just wipes away.