If cleaning the oven is on anyone’s list of favourite things to do, then we haven’t met that person yet. Cleaning a dirty oven is a c-h-o-r-e in no uncertain terms and one most people simply put off.
It’s bad enough that you practically have to crawl into the cursed appliance to reach the corners where the real grit has accumulated, but the cleaning process can also involve the use of hazardous chemicals that give off noxious fumes and cause rashes and more if they come in contact with delicate skin.
The good news however is that there are oven cleaning hacks (among other solutions you’ll see at the end!) that you can employ to save time and energy, and negate the need for those skull-and-crossbones commercial cleaners.
Making Short, Safe Work of a Dirty Oven
As a bonus, these hacks involve natural alternatives to hazardous chemicals. Ready? Great!
Cleaning a Standard Oven – Method 1
- Make a paste comprised of 2 parts baking soda and 1 part water and set it aside.
- Remove the oven racks and set them aside for later cleaning.
- Take the paste you made and spread it over the top, sides and bottom of the oven.
- Close the door and let the paste work its magic overnight.
- In the morning use a wet rag to remove the paste.
- Once the paste is removed fill a spray bottle with vinegar and spray those areas that still have baking soda residue on them and then wipe them clean.
- Clean the window in the same manner except only leave the paste on for an hour or two.
Cleaning a Standard Oven – Method 2
Another effective way of cleaning a standard oven is by using citrus oil.
- Cut two lemons in half. Squeeze juice into an oven proof dish and then toss the spent lemons into the juice.
- Add water until the dish is about 1/3 full and then pop it into the oven at 250 degrees and bake for 1/2 an hour.
- As the citrus oil vaporises it will eat away at the crud on the inside of the oven, loosening it and making it much easier to remove.
- When everything has cooled down sufficiently use whatever lemon water remains as your cleaning liquid.
- When cleaning a standard oven don’t forget the guide ridges on the walls of the oven that the racks fit into. Remove the racks when cleaning the oven and make sure you clean these ridges thoroughly. When you’re finished you can also wipe a bit of vegetable oil on them to ensure the racks slide in and out smoothly.
For Those Oil and Grease Splashes
Grease that splatters while cooking a roast in a standard oven can start to smoke and make your kitchen atmosphere really unpleasant.
- Open the oven door, remove the roast, and very carefully apply some salt to the spills and splatters (remember the oven is hot).
- Return the roast to the oven and resume cooking.
- By the time you’re done the spills and splatters should be transformed into ash and be easy to wipe away once the oven has cooled.
Cleaning a Microwave
Sometimes microwave cooking is not the mess-free experience we expect. Things get a bit over excited and splatter all over the inside of the oven. Cleaning it can be a pain, especially if the residue has become cooked on over time. We’re going to break this hack up into 2 parts: 1 for the walls and ceiling and 1 for the inside of the door, the bottom and the glass turntable.
Turntable, Bottom and Door
Break out the baking soda once again and mix up some paste using the same 2 to 1 ratio mentioned above then apply this paste to the mess. After letting it sit for approximately 10 minutes wipe it off using a wet cloth. When all the paste is removed dry things off with a paper towel and you’re done!
Walls and Ceiling
Take several paper towels and soak them with water then place them in the microwave. Set the timer for 3 minutes and let it run. The steam that results from the water in the towels will loosen food stuff on the walls and ceilings. Once they’ve cooled down you can use the paper towels to clean the now-loose material. If you don’t have paper towels handy just put some water in a bowl, place the bowl in the oven and bring the water to a boil. The steam will loosen the caked-on material and you can wipe if off with a damp cloth.
When Life Gives you Lemons…
Another great alternative is to use a lemon in a bowl of water to give the inside of your microwave a ‘steam-clean’. Chop the lemon in half, submerge it in a bowl of water and microwave for 5 minutes on full power. Then, wait until the microwave has cooled to a safe temperature and use a clean, damp cloth to easily wipe away any dirt or residue from the inside. Simple!
The Cooker Hood
If you find your range hood filter is in dire need of a cleaning find a bucket big enough to accommodate the filter and fill it with boiling water. Add 1/4 cup of baking soda to the water as well as a generous squirt of your dishwashing liquid and mix it up with a broom handle or some such thing (that water is boiling hot so don’t you dare use your bare hand!) and then place the filter or filters into the bucket making sure they’re fully submerged.
After about 15 or 20 minutes the water should have cooled down and the filters can be removed (again, be sure the water is sufficiently cool before plunging your hand into it). If you have an old toothbrush lying around now is the time to put it to work. Place the filters in the sink and scrub them with the toothbrush until clean. You should be able to do so with relative ease. Once clean the filters should be rinsed with hot water and allowed to dry completely before being put back into the hood.
Self Cleaning Ovens
Yes, this is actually a thing! Self-cleaning ovens use a special ‘Pyrolytic’ coating which is able to withstand an extremely high temperature. The oven heats to temperatures in excess of 500 degrees C in order to burn any residue and turn it to ash, enabling cleaning without the use of chemicals.
Check out the range of self-cleaning ovens available at AO.com