How To Deep Clean An Oven the Easy Way

You hate cleaning the oven so badly that you’re willing to deal with the billowing smoke cloud every time you turn it on, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s a simple hack that makes deep cleaning your oven super easy.

Does cleaning your oven sound about as fun as getting a root canal? I hear ya! I sort of feel like Cinderella when I’m elbow deep in gunk and scrubbing my arms off. Yuck!

I love a clean home, but I detest some of most of the cleaning tasks. So much so, that I’ll usually try every method and hack under the sun until I find the one that’s easiest for me.

Once I find one that works well, I usually write about it and put it on my Cleaning page. Needless to say, I tried several methods before I figured out how to deep clean my oven the easy way.

When To Deep Clean Your Oven

Unless you never use your oven, there’ll come a time when it’s a nasty mess of caked-on baked-on grease and gunk. The glass window will be so grimy you won’t be able to see through it well enough to check on your Tater Tot Casserole.

If it’s bad enough, it might even smoke a little when you bake on higher heats. Smoke billowing out of your oven definitely means it’s time for a good deep cleaning!

My oven gets gunky fast because I do a lot of Oven Bacon and I like to broil my Steaks when it gets too cold outside to use the grill. You can probably imagine all the grease splattering around in there.

I wipe my oven out regularly during my weekly cleaning routine, but I deep clean it as needed in addition to my spring cleaning routine and in preparation for the holiday season.

This oven cleaning process is an easy way to get it sparkling clean.

Gloved hand with sponge deep cleaning the oven.

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1. Gather Your Oven Cleaning Supplies

Start by gathering all of your supplies and setting them out on the counter so you don’t have to keep running back and forth to get what you need.

The easiest way I’ve found to deep clean my oven involves letting the cleaning mixture sit for a minimum of two hours, but preferably overnight.

The dirtier the oven, the longer it takes for the mixture to penetrate the gunk.

Put on your kitchen gloves and let’s get started.

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1. Remove the Surface Gunk

Using the nylon scraper and metal spatula, remove as much buildup as possible from the racks and inside surfaces of the oven. If you’re using the metal spatula, make sure you don’t scratch the enamel coating.

The more surface gunk and crusty bits you can remove now, the better the cleaning mixture will penetrate and soften the rest of the mess.

Vacuum the oven to get all of the loose bits out.

Dirty oven with burnt on food before being cleaned.

2. Apply the Cleaning Mixture

If my oven is really gunky, I’ll spray it with hydrogen peroxide and let it sit 10 minutes before covering with the cleaning mixture.

Mix approximately 2 Tablespoons Dawn dish soap, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and enough water to create a thick syrupy consistency.

Remove the oven racks and place them in the bathtub on top of an old towel. Liberally paint both sides of each rack with the cleaning mixture and let them sit.

Go back to the kitchen and paint the cleaning mixture over the interior surfaces of the oven, including the oven door and window glass. Don’t forget the top of the oven.

Interior of oven with cleaning mixture applied.

You can also paint some over your stovetop if it’s dirty. This mixture works great on my glass cooktop.

Let the mixture sit for at least 2 hours. Overnight is even better if you can manage without your oven and bathtub for that long.

The extra time gives the dish soap and baking soda a chance to penetrate the nasty buildup.

3. Clean the Exterior and Around the Range

While the cleaning mixture is working its magic on your oven, remove your stove burner knobs and soak them in hot, soapy water.

You can skip this part if you want, but I like to do it now since I’m already cleaning the oven.

Pull the range out away from the wall. Wipe down the walls and exterior sides of the range.

Wipe down the surrounding walls with a multi-surface cleaner. Vacuum and mop the floor where the range usually sits, then push the range back into place.

Wipe down the control panel part of the range. Wash and dry the knobs and put them back on.

Push the range back into place.

4. Clean the Stove Top

Wipe the stovetop with a damp cloth to remove the dried on cleaning mixture. Scour any remaining dirty areas.

If there are any stubborn burnt-on messes left on a glass cooktop, you can use a razor blade and water to gently scrape them off.

5. Clean the Oven Walls

Once your wait time is up, fill the tub with enough hot water to cover the oven racks and let them soak while you go clean the interior of the oven.

Lightly spritz the interior of the oven to slightly re-wet the soap and baking soda mixture, then use the scraper and spatula to remove the caked-on gunk.

Use the scraper to remove as much of the cleaning mixture as possible. Removing it now will make the final clean up easier.

You’ll be shocked at how much of the mess comes off at this point. If your oven has a lot of greasy build-up, it’ll look like you’re removing frosting from a cake.

Once you’re done scraping the gunk out of the oven, use a damp scouring pad to scrub through any remaining spots.

Wipe everything down with a damp cloth to remove any remaining soap or baking soda residue.

If the remaining soap is sudsing excessively, try wiping the oven out with a dry towel.

Greasy gunk on end of scraper after being scraped off of the bottom of the oven while removing the cleaning mixture.

6. Scrub the Oven Door and Window Glass

Scrub the oven door and glass window with a scouring pad to remove any build-up.

If there are drips in between the glass of your oven door, use a butter knife to slide a soapy rag in between the glass through the opening in the bottom of the door.

If your door doesn’t have the opening, you’ll need to remove the door and take it apart in order to clean between the glass.

7. Scrub the Oven Racks

Now head back to the bathtub to scrub the oven racks.

Use the scraper and a scouring pad to remove the remaining gunk. When you’re done scrubbing, rinse and dry the racks and place them back in the oven.

8. Finishing Touches

Wipe down the front of the oven and the oven door handle, then step back and enjoy your freshly cleaned oven and range.

Shiny oven door after being deep cleaned.

Other Options for Cleaning an Oven

Here are some other options that worked well during my trials.

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Self-Clean Setting

The self-clean setting is by far the easiest method I tried. It heats your oven to around 900 degrees and turns the gunk into ashes. All you have to do afterward is wipe it out with a damp cloth.

I only use the self-clean option when my oven’s super dirty because of the hazardous fumes that stink up the entire house and make my eyes burn even with all of my windows open.

You can find out more about the safety and chemistry of the self-cleaning function on your oven from this article by McGill University.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Another option is to sprinkle baking soda on everything then spray it with vinegar and let the chemical reaction do some of the scouring for you.

I personally don’t like this method because the vinegar is so stinky and the baking soda seems harder to get off of everything. I also don’t think it cuts through the greasy gunk like the dish soap does because I had to do lots of extra scrubbing.

Ammonia and Water

Ammonia and water make oven cleaning very easy – if you can handle the ammonia smell.

You preheat your oven to 300 degrees, then shut it off and place 3 cups of ammonia in an oven-safe dish on an upper rack, and 3 cups of boiling water in an oven-safe dish on a lower rack.

Close the oven door and let the steam work its magic overnight. When you get up the next day, you should be able to wipe the oven clean.

I rarely use ammonia because the smell gives me headaches and affects my breathing. If you can handle it, this is a super-easy way to cut the gunk.

Tips for Keeping Your Oven Clean

Want to avoid the dreaded deep clean, try these tips to keep your oven clean.

Wipe Spills Immediately – Cleaning spills as they occur will prevent them from getting baked on set in. Let the oven cool before attempting to clean any spills.

You can also do a quick vacuum and wipe down during your weekly cleaning routine.

Use An Oven Liner – Place a heat resistant oven liner on a lower rack to catch the spills. The liner can be removed and rinsed off or thrown in the dishwasher.

Cover Your Food – Cook your food with oven bags or aluminum foil to prevent spills and splattering.

Beware that covering certain most foods can alter the cooking times and final textures of the food.

How Do You Deep Clean Your Oven?

Now that I’ve told you how I deep clean my oven and the other methods I’ve tried, it’s your turn. Tell me how you deep clean your oven in the comments below.

deep cleaning an oven the easy way with Dawn dishsoap and baking soda

4 Comments

  1. I can’t get all the soap off either. Will it hurt if I cut my oven off, is there is some of the mixture left behind?

    1. Morgan, the soap should come out easily with a dry cloth just like wiping it off of a countertop. If it’s stuck in crevices, try sprinkling with table salt and wiping out with a scrub brush. Any residual soap isn’t going to harm your oven.

  2. The dawn dish soap method is anything but easy!! Can you say soap for days?? It is impossible to get all the soap out of the oven… every time you wipe it with a wet towel it creates more suds! Hardest clean up ever!

    1. It sounds like you might have had a lot of the mixture left over after scraping. Try sprinkling with some extra baking powder or wiping with a dry towel after scrubbing. You want the mixture slightly damp, but not thoroughly wet.

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