How to Clean an Oven Without Oven Cleaner

You don't need harsh chemicals to get your oven and oven racks shiny. A few inexpensive pantry staples like baking soda, vinegar and tin foil are all you need.

Cleaning your oven is one of those household tasks you want to forget about. Who’s going to look in your oven anyway? But baking soda and vinegar work wonders on a grimy oven.

oven knobs

Clean Your Oven Knobs

To clean knobs, pull them off and spray them down with 1:1 mixture of water and vinegar.

Photo by: Carley Knobloch

Carley Knobloch

Tools and Materials:

  • aluminum foil
  • baking soda
  • damp cloth
  • dish soap
  • distilled white vinegar
  • scrubbing sponge/pad
  • spray bottle
  • towels
  • vinegar
  • water
  • rubber gloves (optional)

1. Use the Self-Cleaning Feature (if You Have It)

If your oven has a self-cleaning option, go ahead and run it. This part is optional, but it makes the process much easier. This feature is made to remove most of the tough, baked-on debris in your oven by burning it at a high temperature (usually about 880 degrees Fahrenheit). Your oven door will lock (for safety) and run for about three hours. Make sure the area is well-ventilated in case there is smoke from the oven.

2. Make Baking Soda Paste

After the self-cleaning cycle has run and cooled, make a paste of baking soda and water. You will need it to be the consistency of yogurt.

Bowl of Baking Soda Paste and Spoon

Make a Baking Soda Paste

Make a paste of baking soda and water.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Make a paste of baking soda and water.

3. Apply the Baking Soda Paste

Remove the oven racks. Use a shop vacuum to suck up any ash and debris from the inside of the oven after the self-cleaning cycle. Then, rub the baking soda paste over all the surfaces. If the paste seems too thick, add more water. Make sure you get into all the nooks and crannies. Let the paste set for an hour or so.

4. Clean the Oven Racks

You can clean the oven racks while you wait for the baking soda paste to work its magic on the rest of the oven.

If your oven racks aren't too grimy, clean them with a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda and set them aside to dry. If they need a bit more tough love, try these steps.

  1. Put the oven racks in a heavy-duty garbage bag.
  2. Pour in a little white vinegar.
  3. Sprinkle liberally with baking soda.
  4. Set outside in the sun for a few hours.
  5. Rinse and dry.
Gloved Hand and Ball of Aluminum Foil

Use a Ball of Aluminum Foil to Scrub

Use a ball of aluminum foil to scrub stains.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

5. Scrub the Oven Interior

After letting the baking soda paste work for an hour, it's time to scrub the oven. You can use a sponge for the first pass, but to get stuff that’s really stuck on, scrub with a balled-up sheet of aluminum foil. This will get the really stubborn stains off your oven without scratching the surface. Wipe off all the baking soda paste with a clean, damp cloth.

6. Spray Inside of the Oven

Mix a spray bottle with vinegar and a squirt of dish soap. Shake to mix. Spray the inside surface of the oven with the vinegar mixture. You will see some of the areas foam up due to the residual baking soda. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then wipe down with a clean, damp cloth.

Hand with Spray Bottle

Spray the Solution Inside the Oven

Spray the vinegar and soap solution inside the oven.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

7. Disassemble and Clean Oven Glass

Ovens have a double/triple glass wall in the door. This is what keeps it insulated and allows you to see inside while the oven is baking. Unfortunately, sometimes dirt and spills get in between the glass. Regardless of how well you clean the glass from the inside and outside of the door, it’s still going to look dirty if there is gunk in between the glass.

To get to this part of the door, you will need to partially disassemble it. At the top of the oven door, there should be two to three screws (double-check your oven’s assembly instructions). Place a block or box under the door to catch the front part of the door, then remove the screws.

Carefully clean the glass in between the doors. When finished, reassemble the door.

8. Insert Oven Racks

Reinsert the racks and, voila, you have a shiny, clean oven. The best way to celebrate such a feat is to bake a batch of delicious cookies.

How to Clean an Oven Naturally
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