Ovens are an essential part of every kitchen and can be quite a pricey investment. Because they are used almost daily, ovens trap grease and crumbs, causing food build-up and residue to accumulate over time. Failure to maintain your oven could result in discoloration, excessive smoke, and overheating; not to mention the possibility of adding a hazardous taste and odor to your food baked inside. While cleaning an oven is not the most pleasant task, proper care is essential for safely baking food and extending the lifetime of your appliance. To ensure your food stays safe to eat, and your oven remains a beautiful kitchen centerpiece, we have gathered some tips for keeping your oven clean.
Deep Cleaning Routine
Deep cleaning your oven is the best way to start fresh in creating a healthy culinary environment. While many ovens today may offer an auto-cleaning function, oven specialists recommend regularly performing a manual deep clean for a thorough job. To avoid harsh chemicals that may be deposited onto your food, experts recommend using white vinegar as a natural cleaning compound, alongside baking soda for scrubbing. You will also need to gather rubber gloves to protect your hands and a spatula for mixing your cleaning solutions.
Before cleaning, make sure your oven is off and completely cooled. It is important to note that the deep cleaning process may take 8-12 hours, so choose a day that you know your oven will not be needed. Start by removing your oven racks and placing them into white vinegar and a warm water solution. While there are many ways to measure the amount of vinegar compared to water, a one-to-one ratio is commonly used for this step. Next, make a paste by combining baking soda and spoonfuls of water. This paste should be spread along with the interior of the oven and left to rest for 8-12 hours, or even overnight. Once the time has finished, and your baking soda mixture is brown, wipe the paste off with a damp sponge or rag. Remove your oven racks from the vinegar solution and allow them to dry. Upon drying, place them back into the oven, keeping the door open for the interior to completely dry.
Regular Cleaning Tips
Once your oven has been deep cleaned, you may be able to reduce the amount of work you have to do next time by following these tips. The first tip is to prevent messes at their source by avoiding food spills. If you are cooking something that has the potential to bubble over a pan, or be quite messy, place a baking sheet on the rack below to catch any food that may fall during the baking process. Oven liners are another great option for preventing messes. You can line the base of your oven with a piece of foil, or buy easy-clean oven sheets. These products are available in many different sizes and are often reusable, so mess prevention is as effective as possible.
If you do not have access to these products, or a mess still occurs during baking, turn the oven off, allow it to cool slightly, then immediately wipe up the spill, being careful to not touch your skin to the surface. If grease and food stains still prevail, choose natural cleaning products that include citruses on their ingredient list, since citrus oils are known to be tough on stains and grease. If your meal did not leave a visible mess in your oven, crumbs and oils are still likely present. Performing a light cleaning after each use is a great way to ensure food build-up does not occur. This can be done by simply wiping your oven interiors with a damp sponge, or creating a white vinegar and water spray for the interior.
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