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1 October 2020

How to clean your oven

With the right tools and tips, cleaning your oven can be effortless
Main cleaning
HF
Hannah Fox

Cleaning your oven may be one of those jobs that you put off for weeks, months, or even years on end. But, a clean oven will ensure your cooking environment is hygienic and you don’t get funny smells from burnt-on grease.

What products should I use to clean my oven?

Because oven grease can be stubborn, a lot of commercial oven cleaning products contain powerful chemicals. These include ethylene glycol, ethers, methylene chloride, lye (sodium and potassium hydroxide), petroleum distillates and pine oil.

Oven cleaners can be corrosive to skin and eyes, so it’s vital that you follow the instructions on these cleaners to the letter, including wearing the correct protective gloves, eyewear and clothing, and ventilating your room while the oven cleaner is taking effect.

Can I clean my oven with baking soda?

If you’d rather go down the natural route, many people swear by natural remedies such as baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice.

You can make up a cleaning paste of equal parts baking soda and white wine vinegar. Or, mix together lemon juice and salt and spoon it onto any stubborn areas of grease or burnt-on food and leave for a few hours, before scrubbing off.

No matter what you use, you’ll need decent scrubbing brushes or sponges with scourers. An old toothbrush can help you get grease out of any nooks and crannies.

Don't use scourers on a glass oven door, though. These can introduce tiny scratches on the surface of the glass, which could leave it vulnerable to shattering in the future.

Can I use a steam cleaner on my oven?

You can use a handheld steam cleaner to rejuvenate the inside of your oven and to remove stains from the oven door. The high powered steam will help to loosen cooked on grease, grime and food without the need for harsh chemicals.

However, be careful not to use the steamer near the oven's element, as this could damage it.

Discover which are the best steam cleaners to buy in our round up of the top models.

How do I clean the inside of my oven?

The internal cavity of your oven is the area most likely to get grimy and greasy through continued use.

  • Switch off your oven at the mains and lay out newspaper on the floor to catch any dirt.
  • Use a dry brush to get rid of caked on food and sweep them onto the newspaper.
  • Spray the interior of the oven with your chosen cleaning product. Avoid spraying the fan or the gas supply elements and pilot light if it’s a gas oven. Leave the product on for the required amount of time.
  • If you’re using a baking soda and vinegar paste, leave it on overnight, as it will need longer to work.
  • Finally, sweep away the cleaning product and debris. Make sure you wear rubber gloves and don't let the products touch your skin.

If you have a double oven, or your main oven includes a grill, look out for the option of a folding grill. This means you can move the grill heating element aside and clean behind it.

If your oven has a pyrolytic function, you should use this about once a month, following the instructions provided by the manufacturer. You’ll still need to wipe away ash from the incinerated food, but this won't take much elbow grease.

Catalytic linings hasten the breakdown of fatty deposits when you cook at high temperatures. Some ovens with catalytic linings also have a dedicated catalytic cleaning program that can be run when you're not cooking.

How do I clean oven racks?

Oven racks are usually relatively straightforward to clean as you can easily remove and soak them.

You can buy special oven rack soaking kits. You place the racks inside large, re-sealable plastic bags, and then add specialist cleaning fluid. 

The fluid is extremely harsh and corrosive, so make sure you wear protective gloves and clothing when rinsing the racks.

Alternatively, you could soak the racks in a large washing up bowl, a bin bag or even the bath. Be aware that some cleaning products could be corrosive on enamel baths, so you’ll need to choose natural ones.

How do I clean a glass oven door?

A grimy glass oven door will stop getting a clear view into your oven.

  • Use a glass scraper, sponge or microfibre cleaning cloth to remove baked on foods. Don't use harsh scourers such as wire wool, which may introduce miniscule scratches onto the glass, and weaken it.
  • You may be able to remove the glass part of the door for soaking, which will allow you to reach the area between the inner and outer pieces of glass that make up the door, where grease can also accumulate. Check your instruction manual for guidance on how to do this.
  • Some chemical oven cleaners are suitable for use on glass, but don't use caustic-based oven cleaner, which will damage it. For a gentler approach, use warm, soapy water followed by a vinegar-based glass cleaner, which should leave it streak-free.
  • After replacing the glass, wipe down the outside of the door and the control panels. This can be done with standard kitchen cleaner or warm, soapy water.

How often should I clean my oven?

Little and often really is the key here. 

We’d recommend you wipe down your oven at least once a month. If you’ve cooked something that you know has splattered everywhere (such as a roast or a bubbling casserole), you should wipe your oven down once it has cooled.

If you notice a burning smell when your oven is preheating, it’s usually a sign that a previous cooking spill is gradually burning off, so it’s best to wipe it down (when cool) to reduce the risk of anything getting ‘cooked on’.

Likewise, if there's a large spillage on the floor of your oven, wipe it out straight after use.

Can I get a professional oven cleaning service?

It's possible to hire a company to visit your home and clean your oven for you. Prices vary, but expect to pay from £40 upwards depending on whether you have a single or double oven, and whether that also includes cleaning of the hob and cooker hood. 

Some domestic cleaning services will offer oven cleaning as part of a general home clean, but you may have to pay extra for it and provide the specialist cleaning products.

A good place to find a reputable professional service is at Which? Trusted Traders. Companies registered here have been assessed by us and also reviewed by customers. Only those who meet our high standards are eligible to use the Which? Trusted Trader logo.

How do I keep my oven clean?

If you’re slow cooking food, cover it with a lid or foil to stop it bubbling and splattering into your oven.

Place dishes on a baking tray rather than straight onto the oven racks so that if, for example, your lasagne bubbles over, the food will drip onto the tray.

Some ovens come with catalytic linings or a high-temperature pyrolytic function, and it’s definitely worth taking advantage of these to keep your oven clean.

Catalytic oven liners (essentially rough surfaces inside the oven), catch, absorb and break down greasy spills, which are then burnt away when cooking at temperatures of more than 200°C. Ovens often only have liners on the sides, but you sometimes get them on the ceiling and back, too. This makes the oven easier to keep clean, but you will still need to wipe down the base, door and shelves in the traditional way.

Pyrolytic programs burn off dirt and grease at very high temperatures – around 500°C. All you need to do is sweep out the ash afterwards. These programs take around two hours, and for safety, the oven door will lock while the cycle is running. You will still need to clean the oven door and shelves by hand.

Can I buy an easy-to-clean oven?

When we test ovens and cookers, we rate them for how easy they are to keep clean, including whether they have a self-clean function and how easy the different elements of the oven to wipe down or keep clean.

Take a look at the ovens below, which have all scored well for cleaning in our tests.

Best easy-to-clean ovens

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80%
Best Buy
£539.00
Reviewed

The outstandingly good oven was a big hit with our experts in the test lab; it sailed through our tough cooking challenges, and scored highly enough to earn our coveted Best Buy award. Thanks to its pyrolytic cleaning program, it’s very easy to clean.

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79%
Best Buy
£419.00
Reviewed

This single oven comes with a divider and two fans, allowing you to turn it into a double oven as and when you need. So, if you could do with a double, but don’t have the space, this accurate oven with an impressive grill could be the one to go for.copy

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75%
Best Buy
£600.00
Reviewed

This oven is a great all-rounder. It’s quick to heat up, bakes well, is spacious, and not a bad price considering it has pyrolytic cleaning.

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View all Built-in ovens