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Home Ec: How to safely clean an oven

DIY Green Clean Your Oven (& Wood-burning stove window): Life Hack

Oven cleaners can be extremely toxic and the self-cleaning feature on most ovens is so toxic that they kill many birds and sicken many humans every year. What’s the alternative?
Read more about the difference between cleaning and sanitizing. In this case, you just need to clean and that involves a little elbow grease, and a little life-hack magic.

Degreasing the Oven

  • Make a baking soda & vinegar oven degreaser mix. Here is the recipe I use (it’s very simple).
  • Put the mix into an oven pan and put on your lowest rack. Wipe the mix onto the bottom of the oven. Then heat the oven to your lowest bake setting.
  • Let it bake in there for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Once it cools enough to touch, clean out the bottom of the oven with a cloth. Remove the oven trays for further cleaning and wipe down the rest of the oven.
  • If you would like to get things even cleaner, proceed below and hopefully things will be degreased enough to make phase two a breeze.


Cleaning the Oven

  • Making a baking soda oven cleaner using dish soap or castile soap and baking soda to make a paste. Here is the recipe I use (it’s very simple, too).
  • Remove the contents of the oven, including the oven racks if you haven’t done so already, and put them in your sink for cleaning.
  • Spread the baking soda paste over the interior of your oven, avoiding the heating elements. Go ahead and do the oven top too if you like (this isn’t tested or approved for the electric convection stove tops, once I get one of those I will try out a recipe for those, or check out my glass cleaning recipe), just remove whatever can be removed first. The baking soda will become brown as you rub it in, use more in the particularly dirty or greasy areas.
  • Let it sit for a bit. I’m usually too anxious to let it sit for very long, but if you’ve done the above degreasing you should only need to let it sit for 20 minutes. (This is a great time to focus on the stove top and cleaning the oven racks.)
  • Clean all the muck up using a cloth rag, spatula if you need it. Wherever the baking soda is stuck  or where there are extra yucky spots, rub or spray vinegar, and then wipe after the bubbling finishes.
  • Clean your oven racks. Use the same baking soda paste. Then pour vinegar over top and finish off with hot, hot water.

Put everything back together and voila! You’re done.

Cleaning the Oven Window

You can clean your oven window with newspaper and vinegar or use this glass cleaning recipe that I use, here. Or, for heavy duty jobs, apply dishwashing liquid to the oven window. Let sit for 15 minutes. Then scrape it off with a razor blade. (Place the sharp edge flush with the glass).
Or, try the trick below if you have ash around!

How to green clean the glass of your wood burning fireplace or stove

If you have yucky black creosote built up on your wood burning stove window you can clean it by using warm water, ash from the stove, and newspaper. Just rub the ash into the window with a slightly wetted bit of scrunched up newspaper and then wipe clean with another bit of wadded-up paper.  Thanks to my friend Barry who taught me this trick. I’m new to heating with wood and I’ve appreciated this trick!