How to clean an oven and oven shelves

Most of us expect to see a small amount of smoke when we open the oven door to check on our lunch or dinner progress. However, you shouldn’t have to endure so much of it that it brings tears to your eyes and sets off the smoke alarm.

Once it gets this bad, it’s a sure sign that your oven and oven shelves need a deep clean. One option is to give your local oven cleaning specialist a call. But if you want to save yourself some money, you can easily do the work yourself and get your appliance looking as good as new in no time at all.

Burnt pieces of pepperoni, melted cheese, and spilled sauces from casseroles are just some of the many items of food that can find their way to the sides and bottom and onto the shelves of your oven. If ignored, the next time you switch on your stove, these food remnants will begin to burn.

Not only is the smoke from the oven a hindrance, but it can also be harmful. It will often contain toxic gases like sulfur dioxide, nitro oxide, and carbon monoxide. What’s more, besides emitting poisonous gases, the presence of leftover food in your oven can also affect the taste of your food. And not in a nice way.

So, on that note, let’s get right to it and look at the best methods you can use to get your oven looking pristine again so your food tastes as it should, and you’re not overwhelmed with possibly toxic gases every time you open the door.

How Often Should You Clean Your Oven?

You can save yourself a lot of time and future effort if you clean up any spills or messes when you have finished cooking, and the oven has cooled down. Those bits of pizza and oil splashes will be a lot harder to remove the longer you ignore them.

How often you carry out a deep clean on your oven depends on how often you use it. If you have a large family and it’s constantly in use, you will probably need to use one of the methods below every two to three months. If, on the other hand, you only use it occasionally, you can leave it longer. There are no hard and fast rules.

Home Remedies for a Cleaner Oven

Baking soda is such a fantastic cleaning product for two reasons. Firstly, it can dissolve organic compounds such as grease and dirt, and each particle’s mineral structure provides a gentle cleaning abrasive that doesn’t scratch the surfaces. Two attributes that make it the ideal solution for cleaning your oven.

Using baking soda to get your oven glistening again is simple. Just add two or three tablespoons of water to 1/2 a cup of baking soda to form a paste. Apply to the walls and bottom of your oven and leave to sit for approximately an hour.

If the inside of your appliance is excessively caked in grease and burnt food, leave it overnight before removing the paste with a sponge as best you can.

The next step is to add some white vinegar. The acidic nature of this liquid allows it to dissolve mineral deposits, dirt, and grease and is also strong enough to kill bacteria. Add one part vinegar to two parts water into a spray bottle and start spraying down the inside of your oven until it begins to bubble, at which point you can begin wiping away the paste with a damp dishcloth.

You can use the same principle as above when cleaning the glass in the door. Use a soft cloth to buff up the oven door after leaving the paste mixture on for a few hours to avoid scratching the surface.

Cleaning the Oven Shelves

Grab your baking soda and white vinegar once again and head for the bathroom with your dirty oven racks. Begin by placing your shelves in the bathtub, and then give them a generous sprinkling of baking powder followed by an equally lavish spray of white vinegar.

Once the foaming has ceased, run the hot water tap until your oven racks are fully submerged and let the cleaning solution work its magic overnight. Use an old dishcloth to remove any grease or grime the following morning. For any hard-to-move baked-on gunk, you can use a firm toothbrush.

Dishwasher Liquid and Dryer Sheets

The bathtub is used once again with this technique. Begin by lining your bath with some dryer sheets and lay your shelves on top. After filling the tub with enough hot water to cover the racks, add some dishwasher liquid.

Once you’ve left everything to sit overnight, drain the shelves in the morning and wipe the shelves clean with the wet dryer sheets. This strategy works by diluting the bond that causes the grease and burnt food to stick to the racks.

Dishwasher Soap Soak

For this, you’ll need a bathtub, old towels, a few old sponges, and some dishwasher granules. Start by putting the towels down in the bath and place the sponges where the corners of your oven shelves will sit to avoid scratching or damaging your tub.

Carefully place the oven shelves onto the sponges and fill the bath with enough hot water, so they’re sufficiently covered. Now add one cup of dishwasher liquid and leave to soak overnight. Rinse off the racks and firmly rub away any stains with a sponge in the morning.

Commercial Oven Cleaners

It’s always best to use these types of cleaning products outdoors to ensure sufficient ventilation. And always remember to wear gloves. You can use one of two methods here. You could lay down some old newspapers, shower curtains, or dust sheets, and place the shelves on top in separate layers and then spray both sides with your solution.

Rather than using newspapers or sheets, you can place the shelves in a large trash bag instead. Once you have sprayed them, tie up the bags and leave them. Whatever method you use, leave the solution to work for at least ten minutes or however long the product recommends.


By using the above methods and with a bit of time and effort, you can have your oven looking as good as new once more. Better tasting food and no more smoke to set off the alarms each time you open your oven door.

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