We can all be guilty of leaving our oven to build up with food residue, grease and grime, but with figures from the Office of National Statistics showing that 67% of all in-home fires were started in the kitchen and caused by neglected dirty ovens, it’s important that we’re all taking the time to maintain our appliances.
And, doing so doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. Here, I will be discussing my top three quick and easy oven maintenance tips.
Regular wipe downs
Leaving crumbs and spills are an inevitability when you’re using your oven, but leaving them there for long periods can be particularly hazardous. Food can burn and, in worst case scenarios, catch fire. Plus, with food residue carrying germs that can be passed on whenever you use your oven, you’ll want to make sure you’re giving your oven regular wipe downs anyway.
Ideally, you should be wiping away any spills or splashes right after you’ve cooked — when the oven has completely cooled down of course. But, at a minimum, you should ensure that you are giving your oven a wipe down weekly, and maybe more often if you have any larger spills. This can simply involve using an oven cleaner and a cloth to remove any stubborn bits of built-up food and kill off any germs and bacteria. Keeping on top of your regular cleaning also makes it more manageable when it actually comes to doing a deep clean.
Deep clean every 4–6 months
While you need to regularly clean your oven, you’ll also need to dedicate time every 4–6 months to give it a really deep clean. For this, I recommend using just three household items to cut through the grease and grime effectively: white vinegar, water and baking soda. When mixed together, they will create an effervescent solution that will make it easier to lift any built-up dirt.
Follow these steps:
Empty the oven: Remove any racks, thermometers or additional items you have in your oven, as these will need cleaning separately after you’ve done the inside.
Create a paste with baking soda: Mix around 65g of baking soda with around 2–3 tablespoons of water, adjusting these measurements slightly until the final result is a spreadable paste.
Coat your oven with the paste: Spread the paste over the insides of your oven, being careful not to get any on the heating elements and paying special attention to particularly greasy areas. You should then let this sit on your oven for at least 6 hours, with a view to leaving it overnight if you think it needs it.
Clean your oven racks: With your oven out of action, now is the perfect time to clean your oven racks. Soak these in your sink, or in sealable plastic bags, filled with plenty of washing up liquid and hot water for at least 4–6 hours. Remove and use a scourer to clean off any remaining residue.
Wipe the oven out: Using a damp dish cloth, wipe off as much of the paste as you can. Using a plastic spatula can help you to lift any stubborn paste, especially in any tricky corners.
Use a vinegar spray: Put some white vinegar into a spray bottle and spritz directly onto any leftover paste. This will react with the baking soda in the paste and cause it to gently foam so it can be easily wiped away.
Repeat: Repeat the above two steps until there is no paste residue left and then put your oven racks back and you’re good to go again!
If you prefer to use a specialist oven cleaner, be wary to check for sodium hydroxide in the ingredients list. Although effective as a cleaner, it is toxic and also highly corrosive, so it can damage your oven and be harmful to skin if it makes contact.
Use oven trays during cooking
It can be all too easy to throw pizzas straight onto your oven racks, but doing so can speed up the need for cleaning, with grease and food crumbs dripping directly onto your oven bottom. To keep this to a minimum, I would always suggest using oven trays as these will catch any grease or oil rather than letting them melt onto the bottom of your oven, which can make for some tough cleaning when the time comes to it.
Deeper trays are also a better idea rather than shallow ones, as these will be easier to take out of the oven without any liquids or crumbs spilling. Cover the top of these with foil to contain any potential splashes during cooking, too.
It can also help to use an oven liner. These sit at the bottom of your oven and collect any food that’s dropped or spilt. And, as most can be cleaned easily and put in the dishwasher, you’ll save yourself at least one job. Alternatively, place a second baking tray right at the bottom of your oven and line it with foil to catch any grease.
Cleaning your oven can be a big job, but with frequent wipe downs and precautionary measures in place, you’ll be able to make the maintenance easier for yourself. Follow my top three tips and watch your oven cleans become less gruelling each time!
Beckie is the product manager for the Home Appliance Care brand as well as the spares and cookware accessories sector of Glen Dimplex. Her main roles involve managing web and social media, as well as sourcing and developing kitchen accessories and cleaning products to sell from their sister site, help centre and fleet of engineers.