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A guide to oven cleaning

Around this time of year your oven is bound to build up countless spills and collect trapped food. Keep your kitchen sanitary and safe by cleaning it regularly with the help of this simple guide.

Simple oven cleaning tips
Woman cleaning the oven

There was once a time when all ovens were essentially the same, and you could follow a generic set of instructions to get yours cleaned up. But today, when new advances are being made virtually every day — even in the kitchen appliance world — you’ll want to make sure you’re following the instructions intended for your specific appliance. How you clean your oven depends primarily on whether or not it has the ability to self-clean.

Self-cleaning ovens

If you have a more modern oven with a self-cleaning feature, this is your best option. However, it’s recommended to avoid using this setting when kids, pets and people who are sensitive are around, as it can produce some pretty powerful smells. You’ll also want to open a window or two. Begin by removing the racks from the oven and placing them in warm, soapy water in the sink. Then close the oven, and start the self-cleaning cycle. The door should lock, and the process will take a few hours depending on the brand of appliance. Consult your manual for more detailed information. While the oven does its work, scrub off any food stuck to the racks that are soaking, and lay them out to dry. Once the cleaning is complete, wait for the oven to cool completely before you work on it. The food spills will have been burnt off by the high heat, forming a pile of grey ash at the bottom of the oven. Wipe this out using a warm, soapy cloth. Return the racks to the oven, and you’re done!

No self-cleaning capabilities

If your oven doesn’t have a self-cleaning feature, that’s OK. Ensure the oven is completely cool before you get started. Begin by removing the racks and letting them soak in warm, soapy water in the sink. Spray the four walls of the oven as well as the door with an oven cleaner such as Easy-Off FumeFree oven cleaner (, $4). Let the product sit for as long as the directions recommend. For many varieties of cleaner, longer is better. During this time, wipe down the racks, and let them dry. Once the cleaner’s time has elapsed, wipe off the now loosened grime with a wet cloth. If any food globs won’t budge, use an oven scraper to get rid of them. With a little elbow grease and the right product, you should be able to get rid of just about any spill. To be on the safe side, heat the oven up before cooking in it again to ensure all chemical residue is gone.

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