I really cook, so that means that my oven gets dirty. On the disgusting end of the dirty spectrum. It’s a slow process from clean to disgusting that sneaks up on you until you forgot what a clean oven ever looked like.
While making cookies with a friend and his children, he asked why I didn’t use my oven light to see into the oven instead of opening the door to check on the cookies.
I said, “I can’t see through the window.” Later, I realized that I was supposed to be able to see through the window, but the oven was so spattered with baked on grease that I couldn’t.
I like to cook bacon in my oven, and I suspect that’s the primary reason my oven was so dirty. That and the fact that it wasn’t super clean when I moved into this house two years ago. I never could see through the window, so I forgot that it was an option at all.
Fortunately a dirty oven doesn’t endanger anyone’s health. It’s all baked down into a hard, almost enamel-like grime that doesn’t harbor any germs or mold. It just looks icky.
So after my holiday baking was over, I decided to tackle this oven cleaning business but do it with natural cleaners that wouldn’t hurt me or the environment.
If you follow me on Instagram (@jimmielanley), you may have already seen this process.
I settled on Yum Universe’s recipe for a natural oven cleaner which uses liquid soap, baking soda, vinegar, and a drop of essential oil.
Plus I used these supplies:
- cordless hand vacuum (Mine is a million years old; I wish I had this one!)
- paint brush
- latex gloves (Mine weren’t pretty like these unfortunately.)
- stainless steel scouring pads (These were exactly what I used. I needed approx. one pad per surface, so you need at least four — door, left, right, bottom, back.)
How I Cleaned the Oven
I used a paint brush to apply the cleaning paste to the entire interior of the oven. Then I let it dry overnight with the door closed.
The next day, the paste was dry, and I could begin the hard work.
I started with the inside of the door, using a tremendous amount of elbow grease to remove the baked-on streaks. It was difficult, but rewarding! Look at my before and after shot! Wow, right?
I quickly realized that working dry was far better than wet because the suds would be nearly impossible to wipe away.
For the drips that mysteriously get inside the door between the glass panels, you have to take the door apart to reach. I chose to live with that one remaining drip because I didn’t want to risk breaking my oven simply to clean it.
I found that the plain stainless steel abrasive pads worked better than soapy steel wool pads or sponges with the green abrasive side.
I also discovered that even though the cleaner is natural, the scrubbing was not easy on my sensitive skin, so I started using latex gloves for the rest of the process.
The door was much harder than the interior of the oven, so I was glad I got that out of the way first. For the inside, I used my stainless steel scrubbers with quite a bit of pressure to erase the stains. It took several passes on some of the stubborn areas. I didn’t use any water, just the scrubber and the paste that had dried onto the surfaces. That grit was enough to remove the grime.
As the powdery cleaner accumulated in the bottom of the oven, I brushed it into a pile and used my mini-vac to suck it away. Don’t be tempted to use a wet cloth at this point. You need to work dry until all the grime is rubbed away and you’ve vacuumed or brushed away all the powder.
Only when the oven is clean and the powder is mostly gone do you want to wipe it down with wet cloths. There will be a lot of suds, still. But it’s okay. Just wipe it as best you can. The first few times you use the oven, it will smell odd — like cleaner. (Odd only because who cooks cleaner, right?) But it will go away eventually, and it’s not a choking smell like those harsh chemical cleaners.