How to Safely Clean Your Oven Without Self-Clean


Over time depending on how often you use your oven, it can accumulate a lot of filth. Food particles and grease compacted by the heat of an oven can become baked on grime that needs to be removed. While a dirty oven may not seem like a huge deal to some, it can affect the flavor of the food you are trying to cook and the look of your oven.

However, there are those who think they don’t really need to clean their oven, but rather choose to run a self-clean cycle. While this function is built into many ovens, it is not exactly the easiest on your appliance. As the self-clean function runs at a very high temperature, the ambient heat runs the risk of damaging parts of the oven such as the wiring or the control board. While ovens can withstand a few cycles, if you use it all the time, the more risk you run of the heat damaging your oven. So it is always better to just put the elbow grease in.

How to Clean Your Oven

When it is time for an oven to be cleaned, you can generally tell by three very common signs. These signs are always easy to notice so you don’t have to fret over what they mean.


  • The oven looks dirty
  • You smell cooking even when there is no food inside
  • The oven is smoking

Any of these signs means it is time for a cleaning. If you want to avoid self-cleaning to prolong your oven’s life, here is what you can do to.

Oven Cleaners

Your first idea to clean your oven might be to go to the store and pick one of the many oven cleaning solutions for sale. These do work very well at dissolving grease and those tough food particles that have been baked on. However, oven cleaners can be very caustic chemicals. If not fully cleaned away from the oven, they can burn up after the first use in a chemical smoke that is not very good for your food. If you do choose this option, it is best to let your oven run empty after cleaning to let all the cleaner burn up.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

If you are looking for a more natural option to clean your oven, then it is time to turn to the old standard for kitchen cleaning. If you don’t know already, baking soda is the ultimate secret weapon when it comes to cleaning. It may not feel like it, but baking soda is fairly abrasive which means it is great at removing stubborn stuck-on food particles from any surface. Furthermore, it also absorbs up grease so it can easily be removed.

For just mildly dirty ovens, all you need is to wet the surface with a sponge, sprinkle on baking soda liberally, and polish away. For dirtier ovens, you will want to spray the surface down with a solution of vinegar and water. The vinegar will help loosen tough food that has been burnt on and will give the baking soda a little more scrubbing power with its chemical reaction. By mixing the vinegar with water, you will still get that light bubbling reaction, but it will not be quite as violent as it is with pure vinegar. The pure vinegar reaction will just dissolve the baking soda, and that isn’t what you want. Instead, you want more of a paste to form so the abrasive powder can do its job effectively.

When finished cleaning, you should try and wipe away as much baking soda as possible. However, even if you miss a bit, it will not cause any caustic fumes when you use the oven for the first time.


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