The beginners guide to cleaning your oven
There are some things that you do not realize are possible until someone tells you about them. For example, I recently learned that I could clean my oven by boiling vinegar, baking soda, and water in it until the gunk floated to the top of the oven, where it could be easily scooped out with a spatula.
This technique works 100%, but the first time you try it on your oven, there will be issues where too much or too little cleaning product is used for various reasons, so here is how to avoid those problems:
- Get everything ready beforehand
You do not want half of the contents of your cabinets spread across your countertop while trying to come up with a game plan for this job. You should already have all of your materials lined up and ready to use.
- Turn on the oven for about 10 minutes.
This is not supposed to be a science experiment, so skip all of the scientific mumbo jumbo and just turn on the oven while you are waiting for it to heat up. When you start this job, you do not want cold or cool air in your oven because that will mess with your measurements and ratios of ingredients needed. If you are boiling vinegar, then there is no reason that the temperature cannot exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but give it some time before adding baking soda or water
- Add 1 cup of white distilled vinegar when the interior temperature of your oven is between 250-300 Fahrenheit
The exact temperature will vary from oven to oven, but a good estimate is that the temperature is right when you can hold your hand in there for about 15 seconds without it hurting. This technique only works with white distilled vinegar because that kind of vinegar has no additives or coloring. You can usually find this type of vinegar at Walmart, Smart & Final, Kroger, FoodMaxx, or Kmart.
You will want to use one cup of this vinegar for every 1/4th the circumference of your oven. So if your oven is 30 inches across then, you will want to use 7 cups of white distilled vinegar which should be enough to fill up about halfway.
Do not go overboard because the fumes from the boiling vinegar could cause serious damage if too much accumulates inside of your oven.
- Add 1 cup of baking soda when the interior temperature of your oven is between 200-300 Fahrenheit.
Baking soda is another ingredient that is safe to use at any temperature above 100 degrees. Still, it will work faster and better if you give the baking soda enough time to dissolve into the boiling vinegar before adding more. If there are chunks or lumps in the bottom of your mixing bowl, then those ingredients will not dissolve properly, so make sure that they are no longer visible after stirring.
- Add 1 gallon of water when the interior temperature of your oven is between 200-300 Fahrenheit.
Adding a whole gallon at once might feel like overkill, but many factors can prevent this step from working properly, so it is necessary to have a backup plan if any problems arise during this part.
If you were to add one cup at a time, then what was left inside of your mixing bowl could become diluted and ineffective before the next cup is added, so it would be necessary to repeat this step if that problem happened. In addition, the boiling vinegar could cause bubbles or foam to form, which would keep the baking soda from properly mixing in with the water, so you should add all of your ingredients at once just in case too much fizzing occurs.
After adding 1 gallon of water then you will want to stir everything together until they are fully mixed together because that could also create problems, but there should not be any visible chunks or lumps after stirring for about 1 minute.
- Combine two tablespoons of vegetable oil with one teaspoon of liquid dish soap (dawn works best)
This homemade oven cleaner does not require very many ingredients, so you should have everything needed for this step of the cleaning process already available in your kitchen.
After stirring these two ingredients together, there should not be any chunks or lumps of oil remaining in the mixture because that would prevent it from cleaning properly. Any big particles that are still visible could clog up your expensive oven, which is why this homemade cleaner needs to be mixed very well before using it in a dirty oven.
- Wait until your oven cools down before removing the contents inside of it.
When you add all of these ingredients to boiling water,, they will create a lot of heat and fumes while reacting, but this mixture will become even more dangerous once it begins to cool down.
This is why you should wait at least 4 hours before removing the contents from your oven after using this homemade cleaner because that would be plenty of time for all of the heat and fumes from inside of your oven to dissipate into the air.
- Remove everything inside of your oven:
Do not touch any parts in the interior of your oven which has been heated up beyond 300 degrees Fahrenheit because they could still be hot enough to cause serious burns on contact, so wear protective gloves when cleaning out an oven after it has been cleaned with a homemade cleaner.
Even though these burn injuries may sound minor, then they can still lead to permanent scarring without proper medical treatment, so this is why you should wear protective gloves when cleaning out any oven after it has been cleaned with a homemade cleaner.
It is also important to remember that the interior of your oven could still be extremely hot even if it does not feel very warm, so do not touch any parts inside of your oven which has been heated up beyond 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
The racks in an oven usually stay fairly cool during use even though they are made from metal, but they can become extremely hot once all of the heat and fumes accumulate inside of them. These metal racks will only retain their heat for about 5-7 minutes as long as they are fully exposed to all of the excess heat and fumes inside of your oven like most other objects inside of an oven, but they will retain their heat for over 30 minutes if they are left in the partial dark like when the door is closed.
If you were to pull your rack(s) out then, it could cause them to cool down faster because that would allow them to be exposed to more air, but this step is not required unless you are trying to clean off any excess residue from food spills on the sides or bottom of each rack inside of an oven.
Be sure that you have a backup plan for drying off any wet racks after removing them from a steamy oven because a towel could get burned if it touches an extremely hot metal rack. Also, metal can conduct electricity, so anything made from metal should never be soaked with water if you do not have a dry towel or rag to use then you can place each rack back into the oven with all of the heat and fumes trapped inside of them so it will warm up and evaporate most of the moisture from wet racks after cleaning an oven. This method works well, but it is not recommended if your racks are very dirty because it would be easier to clean them by hand with some mild soap and water.
- Use a paper towel to wipe off any excess residue:
The most important part about this step is that you should avoid using too much pressure on certain parts of your oven, which could damage the finish, so just gently wipe away any excess grime until everything looks clean again
- Spray off any excess residue which you were unable to wipe away:
The best way to clean the rest of your oven would be with some water and a spray bottle, but it is important that if you use this method, then you should wait until everything inside of your oven has cooled down first. This step is not required unless you are trying to clean off tough stains or baked-on food spills because paper towels work well for wiping off most of the extra grime, but these paper towels will leave behind quite a bit of excess residue, so spraying off any extra grime will make everything look much cleaner.
- Wipe up water with a dry towel after cleaning your oven:
You must wait until your oven completely dries out before using it again because leaving water inside of your oven can cause serious damage, but you should also remember to turn on the heat for a few minutes as soon as possible if any parts of your oven are still feeling moist.
The best way to dry out an oven is by first opening up all of the windows and doors throughout your house before turning on the heat in order to allow excess moisture from cleaning a steamy oven to escape into the air outside instead of building up around your home. Suppose you do not have a forced-air heating system. In that case, you could place a fan near where your oven is located so it will blow out all of the excess moisture from cleaning a steamy oven, but be sure that it is blowing towards an open window or door so this excess moisture will escape into the air outside instead of building up around your home.
Remember that household fans could also cause extra moisture to build up if they are constantly running inside of an enclosed area, so you would need to allow at least 2-3 hours (or more depending on how much excess moisture is in the air) before using your oven again because this should be enough time for everything to completely dry off. If your oven still feels moist after waiting for several hours, then turn on the heat and leave it on until every part of your oven has dried out completely, but do not place anything made from paper or cloth inside because these objects could easily get burned.
The most important step while cleaning a steamy oven with any method is to avoid letting the water drip down the sides of your oven because this could lead to a major repair bill in order to fix any damages which were caused by getting water inside of various parts of an oven, so always remember to put something on the floor underneath any areas where you are cleaning with water.
Suppose you spill any excess water while cleaning your oven. In that case, you should wipe up this water immediately, but if some parts still feel moist after waiting for several hours, then turn on the heat and leave it on until every part of your oven has dried out completely, but do not place anything made from paper or cloth inside because these objects could easily get burned.
So, there we go. You now have no excuse not to have a spanking clean oven anymore! Sorry!!