Our stoves are workhorses that we use daily to feed our families. A day doesn’t go by without a saucy splatter or greasy puddle on the cooktop. Most of these spills and splatters sponge up nicely if you take care of it right away.
A quick wipe down while things are cooling off but still warm goes a long way in keep this appliance in good shape, but there will come a day when you have to face the dreadful reality: the inside of that nasty oven with baked in grime.
The good news is that nowadays we have a few different options for getting things sparkling again. I have some homemade cleaners listed here along with tips and instructions to help you get the job done efficiently and much more economically.
If you have a self-cleaning oven feature, I have a steam tip in the “Racks” section below that will help make things even easier for you.
Now onto the recipes…
- Fill a spray bottle with water and spritz surface generously.
- Generously sprinkle the bicarb (baking soda) over top the wet surface. Leave overnight.
- The next day wipe out much of the grime.
- Wet a sponge and squeeze out excess liquid then scrub away grime with liquid dish detergent first drizzled over the sponge.
- Preheat to 200° then turn off.
- In a heat safe glass dish, fill with ammonia and set on middle rack (about 1 to 2 cups of ammonia).
- In another dish, fill with boiling water and set on bottom rack (2 cups).
- Leave overnight.
- The next morning, remove dishes and scrub down the inside with a hot wet sponge first drizzled with the soda.
3 tsp Borax
1/4 cup vinegar
1/8 cup liquid dish soap
2 cups hot water
Bicarb (do not add to mix)
- Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and shake to mix.
- Spray mixture generously to cover surface completely.
- Sprinkle generous amounts of bicarb on top.
- Spritz liquid mixture over the soda.
- Leave overnight.
- The next morning wipe out the mixture and wash the surface with hot & soapy rag.
1 cup baking soda
1/3 cup table salt
- Spray surface well with water.
- Mix together the dry ingredients then sprinkle over the wet area.
- Spritz again with more water.
- Leave overnight. Wipe out the next morning and wash with a hot & soapy rag.
You can also use this homemade softscrub for the next day’s scrubbing after using one of the methods above.
I say this is the worst job, getting these all scrubbed down and shiny again…but…I’ve found a few tricks that make the job easier.
- Place them in an extra large heavy-duty garbage bag, pour in a cup of ammonia and tie the bag closed (tightly).
- Set the garbage bag outside away from children and pets.
- The next day remove the racks and wash them in hot soapy water.
- No ammonia on hand? I find commercial foam sprays work well with this method too.
- If you have a stovetop with elements and stainless steel rings, those rings can go in the bag too. They’ll come out nice and shiny again.
If they aren’t that grimy, you can choose instead to soak them in the sink with some dish detergent. Scrub with a bicarb and water paste.
Steam Tip: I now have a self-cleaning model that allows me to pour a cup or so of water inside the oven on the floor/bottom then turn on the steam feature. I keep the racks inside and after it’s run its course, I pull them out dripping wet and just wipe them down with a wet sponge. The crud comes off so easily and the finish is not affected at all.
- Finish things off: Wipe the surface with vinegar to remove any residue left behind from recipes.
- Do a quick wipe inside the oven while doing the dishes, washing up any spills and splatters (do this while it’s still warm but cool enough to work). Your appliance won’t need as many deep cleaning jobs and will never be nasty again!
- You can also cut a lemon in half, sprinkle the cut side generously with bicarb then use it to scrub stubborn spots. The acid from the lemon and the gentle abrasive bicarb will tackle the job nicely. Ketchup drizzled over a crusty spot can help too, the acid will help break things down so the crud will lift up nicely.
- Another thing you can do to freshen and sanitize things is after cooking your meal and the oven is still hot, turn off heat and put on the middle rack a casserole dish (uncovered) with lemon wedges and hot water. Let it steam for awhile then wipe down the inside walls when cool.
- Knobs & Dials: These build up grime over time, which makes sense since we’re always handling them. Sometimes they need more than a quick wash with a soapy dishcloth. I find a gentle softscrub made with baking soda and water cleans them nicely. Look closely at the edges and creases in the dials, if there’s a buildup in there you can use an old toothbrush to lift that gunk out. Also check the manual to see if you can safely remove the knobs for maintenance.
- Line the floor of the oven with a large foil sheet or a strip of aluminum foil to catch spills and drips. (Careful with newer models, the heat is too much and will melt the pans into the floor of the appliance. This tip is only for older appliances).
- Pull the stove out from against the wall. Don’t be shocked, it might be nasty if you haven’t done this in awhile. I get out the vacuum and suck up any dust bunnies and fallen food bits and crud. Wash the back and sides well with a hot & soapy sponge. When everything’s good as new, push the appliance back into its spot.