how-to-clean-an-ovenSpills and splatters from long-gone casseroles often leave your oven dirty. Hoping they will vanish on their own is unlikely. There comes a time, when you must clean an oven to ensure its continued operation, assuming you don’t have a self-cleaning oven. These wonderful inventions have been around for a number of years and maintain themselves by heating to an extremely high temperature that burns away residue. Older appliances are not so easily equipped. But by following the instructions below, you can completely clean an oven in only a few of steps.

Supplies: Gloves, Metal Spatula, Baking Soda, Water, Sponge, Old Newspapers, Spray Bottle, White Vinegar, Clean Microfiber Cloth.

STEP 1

Remove the oven racks for cleaning. Give them a good, long soak in hot, soapy water (liquid dish soap or a crumbled dishwasher tablet works well). If you can’t fit your oven racks in the kitchen sink, you can soak them in the bathtub. Make sure you line the tub with an old towel to prevent the metal racks from chipping or scratching the delicate finish on your tub.

STEP 2

Use a metal spatula to gently scrape away residue within the oven. Most baked-on spills and splatters can be removed this way, but you’re not done yet.

STEP 3

Mix baking soda with just enough water to create a thick paste. A good ratio is half a cup of baking soda and two or three tablespoons of water. Apply the paste to every surface inside the oven, including the back side of the door. Let the paste sit for six to eight hours or overnight to allow the paste to penetrate deeply.

STEP 4

Once the paste has soaked in, lay old newspapers or paper towels on the floor in front of the oven. Grab a slightly moist sponge and wipe out as much of the paste as possible. Grease and ash should come out with the paste. Continue wiping and rinsing the sponge as necessary, until there is no more paste in the oven. If your oven still seems dirty, you may want to repeat the process, reapplying the baking soda and letting it sit before attacking the oven with a sponge again.

STEP 5

Fill a spray bottle with a 50-50 mixture of white vinegar and water. Use this to spray down the glass of the oven door. Wipe away the moisture with a clean, dry cotton or microfiber cloth.

In the future, you can make oven maintenance less of a time-consuming chore by regularly wiping down the oven chamber with soapy water. If you do more frequent, less intensive cleaning, your oven may never again need such a major cleaning.