Dirty Oven? Power Clean It With These Homemade Recipes

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…

#1

Baking Soda
Dish Detergent

  • 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.

#2

Ammonia
Baking soda

  • 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

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.

#4

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.

Racks

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.

Tips

  • 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.

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What Readers Are Saying: 54 Comments
  1. Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship says:

    Sprinkle salt on the spill while it’s still HOT and you can usually just wipe it out as soon as the oven’s cooled down with little trouble.

  2. Jamie moody says:

    I use Baking soda,Vinager and water, Spray oven with water generasly sprinkle with baking soda spray with strait vinagar and let set over night, wipe off and scrub really touph spots with baking soda on your spounge,(if dont have scrubber) rise with water and wipe out! I clean the tub the same way only dont let it set over night just for an hour or so!

  3. Veronica says:

    Another way to clean the racks is to wrap them in alfoil, then place into a laundry tub that you’ve dissolved one cup of washing soda crystals with hot water. Press them down, and leave until water has cooled enough to put your hands in. Remove foil – only as much as you are going to clean – and wash off the grime.

    • Jan says:

      Another way for oven racks is to use biological clothes washing powder dissolved in hot water, soak rack(s) in the solution for 15 mins or longer, then use either a ‘Brillo’ type pad (wire wool pad) or a scrubber pad (the green coloured part of your washing up sponge/the green coloured individual scrubber pads)- the enzymes in the washing powder dissolve the grease and grime and it rubs off easily with the scrubbing pad.

      Also – please be careful using ammonia or ammonia-based products – always use only where you have adequate ventilation and DO NOT inhale the fumes as they do cause breathing problems; in asthmatic/breathing compromised people, this could be lethal!!

  4. carole says:

    can this be used on self cleaning oven?
    Carole

    • Vicky says:

      I’m with Carole, does any or all of these tips work with a self cleaning overn? I’ve got to clean mine out and would love to clean it without having to use one of those terrible oven cleaning sprays that stink up the house. My children have asthma and I really need to have something that want cause them to have an asthma attack just cause my oven needed cleaning up. lol Thanks to everyone for the tips.

      • mjxfingers says:

        I bought a self-cleaning oven *before* I did the research. The chemicals used are toxic and can kill animals in the vicinity. Please Google dangers of self-cleaning ovens. Plus this new oven says not to put down aluminum folk on the bottom (to catch the drips). I found out the hard way – didn’t notice the raised letters (b/c they’re the same color as the floor of the oven) until it was too late. The a.f. stuck to the bottom of the oven & I couldn’t get it off. Whatever happened to the Good Old Days? All I use for cleaning it now is water & baking soda.

  5. tanya says:

    My mom swears by using Ketchup for the tough stains.
    Surprisingly it works well!!

    Just warm the oven up – squirt the ketchup where-ever then scrub into the surfaces with a nice scratch free scrubby.
    Leave on for 5 minutes or so, and the mess wipes right up!

  6. Kim says:

    which of the above recipes works best to clean the oven door/window?

  7. pam says:

    I used a pumice stone. Yes, what people usually use on their feet. Wet the pumice stone with water and have an old wet cloth to wipe off the area after using the pumice. It did not scrape the finish off my whirlpool oven either. You may want to try an area on yours to make sure. It was great and no chemical smell. Just a “small amount” of elbow grease- Easy! You may use a little dish detergent on the pumice if you desire. The pumice stone will crumble only slightly with the cooked-on crusty stains. Your oven will look like new! I used the pumice on the racks too and again no fumes from oven cleaners! Easy! Cleaning both the oven and racks were quick and easy!

  8. lori says:

    what about the oven glass door? I have spot in between the glass. It looks awful. Any suggestions?

  9. Laura says:

    NEVER leave aluminum foil on the bottom of your oven, it will melt in the heat and you will be very, VERY unhappy because you will never get it off. Trust me. Don’t do it!

    • Denise says:

      Laura, I agree. I tried this foil on the bottom of my oven and I’m very sorry. It fused to the base of my gas oven.

      • Donna says:

        I did the same thing, Laura. Had to order a new bottom for the oven for $40 in 2004. The gas oven I grew up with in the 50’s didn’t act like that.

        • Heather says:

          We always leave an old cookie sheet on the bottom at my house. It catches all the spills and doesn’t melt to the bottom. Also when its too nasty we can throw it out and replace it with another old cookie sheet.

      • Diane says:

        That happened to me as well

  10. melissa says:

    Thanks a bunch for this great cleaning advice. I’ve used these tips to clean my working antique Chambers stove and it sparkles like new. I also wanted to add that I’ve cleaned the wire racks by placing them in a garbage bag with a cup or two of ammonia and left them sit in the sun on the patio for an hour or two. Just remember to open the bag away from your face when you remove the racks. A little scrubbing wtih a micro fiber cloth and they’re good as new. Now just toss the bag with the ammonia in the trash.

  11. msuphd says:

    do you know how to clean between the glass on an oven door (electric)?

    • Vicki says:

      try using Softscrub, or 409, place a paper towel soaked with 409, and let it sit for a few hours, your oven door will be open, and use a nylon scrubby for tough spots, soft scrub will not scratch the glass, or find any stove glass/smooth top cleaner…

      • Darlene says:

        I believe you need to take apart the oven door frame front and back (glass is in between. Look for skrews on the top and sides. This is the only way you will get between the glass as msuphd wants to know.

  12. sue says:

    do you know how to clean the top of a gas stove?

  13. Nancy says:

    I took my oven door apart to clean between the glass, it was not hard and it looks so much better!

  14. Holly says:

    The tin foil also messes with your temperatures in the oven. It takes longer to cook something when the foil is in the oven. I do like the idea of using not harsh chems to clean the oven and the self clean option is brutal!

    • Darlene says:

      Good to know! No wonder my food hasn’t been cooking the same!

      • Julie says:

        I also was taught toi use heavy aluminum foil to proitect the bottom of my electric oven.I had a repair man come out to the house and he told me to take it out because it messes with the thermostat. It used to take 5-10 minutes to heat my oven..it now takes 15-20 minutes.

      • Julie says:

        I also was taught to use heavy aluminum foil to protect the bottom of my electric oven.I had a repair man come out to the house and he told me to take it out because it messes with the thermostat. It used to take 5-10 minutes to heat my oven..it now takes 15-20 minutes.

  15. Dorothy-Anne Pelkey says:

    I clean my oven door(inside), with vinegar and baking soda. I also use i/2 vinegar snd 1/2 blue Dawn dish detergent to clean my glass top stove. The stove top seems to attract less dust, and I use the $ Store package of little green scrubbers . The don’t scratch the surface

  16. Kirsty O says:

    Another great tip for cleaning the wire racks in your oven.. Line your laundry trough with aluminum foil. Fill with hot water and laundry powder. Put the wire racks in and leave overnight. Wipe of grease in the morning!! Fantastic!!

  17. kim says:

    for the top of your range a mr. clean magic eraser works for spots or stains and a razor blade for boil overs. For everyday cleaning or lite cleaning of glass surface I use a non ammonia glass cleaner

  18. Catherine says:

    Soak your oven racks with warm water and liquid fabric softener the grease just scrubs off.

  19. janel says:

    All these tips are safe to use on my gas stove i dont have shut the pilot offor anything im not going too blow up the house right
    .

  20. Lydia says:

    Easiest way I’ve found to clean the oven (so much so that I do it after most uses of the oven) out a bowl of freshly boiled water in the bottom of oven while the oven is still hot and let it cool – grease and burn just wipes away once the oven has cooled down…

  21. Colleen says:

    I bought the product that came with my stove and soon realized I’m not willing to pay that much when Baking Soda (or even Bar Tenders Friend or BonAmi will do the same).To clean glass top, first wipe off any crumbly stuff, then mix baking soda with a little water making a paste. Rub paste over the glass top, this will get most of the burnt overflow. Baking Soda will not scratch the surface. If unable to get tuff spots, then a razor to scrape off residue. After then rinse and wipe dry.

  22. ConnieG. says:

    Holly! Yea! I think you solved the problem of the temperature in my oven.
    I didn’t connect the foil to the temp..and was going to call a repairman, thinking my thermostat was broken. I have bought two oven thermometers and
    have to set my oven for 400 if I want the temp to be 375.
    Duh! I’m going to go remove the foil right now and see what happens the next time I use the oven. Thanks, ahead of time for the suggestion. Connie

    • sue says:

      If removing the foil isn’t the solution to the temperature issue check your oven manual for trouble shooting. I had no foil but still had temperature issues. Turned out that there was adjustment that could be made using the controls on the stove. Took care of the problem. Too bad the sales people at Sears aren’t informed of this. Good luck

  23. Dorothy Maxwell says:

    This sounds brilliantly safe and simple. I’m having my oven professionally “gleamed” next week, afterwards I shall use this tip and hope never to have to have it done again!

  24. Anne Jones says:

    Is baking soda the same as bicarbinate soda

  25. Janine Cox says:

    Please, any hints/advise for cleaning the oven door gasket? Thanks 🙂

  26. maryl stratton says:

    My daughter-in-law places her burner grills from her gas stove in a heavy duty plastic bag with a cloth soaked in ammonia, lets them sit over night and says the grease and dirt washes right off.

  27. Anita says:

    I’ve found that e homemade googone recipe (baking soda + oil) works great on dried grease. Like dissolves like. Will be cleaning my oven today before the new heating element comes in. Ugh. Three days before Thanksgiving!

  28. Gina says:

    I recently began cleaning my oven racks in the bath tub. First, I boil a large roasting pan of water. I run the water in the tub until its as hot as it gets. Once hot, lift up the stopper thingee to keep the water in. Place the racks in tub. Dump in 2-3 tbsps. baking soda and a few squirts of dish soap. Pour the boiled water on top of baking soda and dish soap. It will dissolve the baking soda and suds up the soap. Within 10-15 mins, you should see the grease and grime just melt off and it will be floating in the tub. Usually, I’m able to scrub off the grease with one of those brown/bronze scrubbers.

    Once my oven racks are sparking clean, I let the water out and rinse off the racks under the shower. My racks came out looking brand spanking new like I just bought them. This won’t remove baked, burnt in stains. Just grease and stick-like grime. You’ll have to clean your tub before and after you clean your oven racks. And, I place a chair in front of the side of the tub to clean the racks instead of sitting on the rim of the tub. Makes it a little easier to scrub the racks.

  29. Suzy-in-Colorado says:

    Thanks for all the great tips everyone.. I have one more if you please… I am moving and need to do a move out super clean an electic stove (I have always had gas stoves).. how do I clean all the chrome.. especially around the knobs? and also, the glass top has burnt on grime from God knows when and it has been baked on for who knows how many years.. I have kept it clean of anything we have added, but would like to know how to make it look like new (basically better then it did when we moved in).. any ideas would be appreciated.. Thank you (P.S. I cannot stand the smell of the self cleaning element of the oven, it fills the entire upstairs of our home with unbreathable stench).

  30. Suzy-in-Colorado says:

    Thanks for all the great tips everyone.. I have one more if you please… I am moving and need to do a move out super clean an electric stove (I have always had gas stoves).. how do I clean all the chrome.. especially around the knobs? and also, the glass top has burnt on grime from God knows when and it has been baked on for who knows how many years.. I have kept it clean of anything we have added, but would like to know how to make it look like new (basically better then it did when we moved in).. any ideas would be appreciated.. Thank you (P.S. I cannot stand the smell of the self cleaning element of the oven, it fills the entire upstairs of our home with unbreathable stench).

  31. Ginny says:

    I’m reading online that equal parts of vinegar and cream of tartar will clean your oven. Not sure if anyone mentioned because I didn’t read through the comments. Anywho, you let it sit for about 3 hours then wipe out oven. I’ll be trying this very soon.


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