There is a reason for everything, and the reason for this post is bacon. Crisp, salty, oven-baked bacon. It crackles to perfection, but one jostled attempt to remove a rimmed cookie sheet filled with the savory strips can lead to a greasy disaster. Lose the courage of your conviction, as Julia Child would say, and bacon drippings slosh onto the bottom of your oven, smoking instantly and rendering the appliance useless until it can receive a proper cleaning. Which it will. After you’re done eating.

If your oven has you hot and bothered, here are some oven cleaning tips we’ve scrubbed up to share:

If You’re Using Commercial Cleaners

If you’re using commercial cleaners, try to go fume-free and make sure your oven is cold before you attack that grease. This may mean you have to take out your appliance bulb, which generates a surprising amount of heat. If you have a self-cleaning oven, be sure to use a cleaner made for such finishes.

If You Want to Go Natural

The most effective fume-free, natural method I’ve found is this:

  • Make a water paste with baking soda. Stir together a thick paste (you don’t want it to run) and coat the top, sides, back, bottom and door of the oven with it.
  • A natural bristle paintbrush—like you’d use to paint your house—is the easiest way to spread the paste evenly.
  • Let it sit for at least 12 hours, and then wipe out the dried paste with a soft cloth.
  • Spray remaining baking soda with vinegar to activate it and then wipe out. Fresh, clean and chemical-free!

Cleaning Oven Racks

When it’s time for cleaning oven racks, draw a hot bath. Oven racks can be soaked in the tub, coated with commercial oven cleaners or sealed up in a large plastic garbage bag with a ½ cup of ammonia for 30 minutes. (That last one works well with stove grates, too.) You’ll still probably need to do a fair amount of scrubbing, and kitchen-duty steel wool is a great thing to have on hand for this purpose. Scrub-a-dub-dub!

Cleaning Oven Windows

As the window to what’s cooking, oven doors can be exceptionally tricky—particularly when pesky grease and goodness-knows-what magically appears between the layers. Daredevils will go so far as taking the door apart (not for the faint-hearted—it can void the warranty and make your hair turn gray when the pieces don’t go back together). Others scrub what surfaces they can with baking soda paste and scouring pad and hang a cute towel in front when all else fails.

To Self-Clean or Not to Self-Clean?

The jury is out about the self-cleaning functions on ovens. The heat levels can reach up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit, which can be intimidating. Many opponents say it ends up damaging the oven, particularly if it gets used a lot or if the appliance has lost its youthful glow. And, since the self-cleaning option sometimes requires a pre-cleaning ritual anyway, it’s sometimes quicker to do it yourself. But if you do put the self-cleaning feature to work for you, put these tips and tricks into practice:

  • Make sure that you or another adult can be home during the cleaning process, which can last a few hours. This is because your oven will be very, very hot. This feature usually locks your oven, so curious hands are safe, but I like to be home and keep an eye on its progress. You wouldn’t want to leave the house while the iron’s on, would you?
  • The high heat should successfully turn any grease or baked-on sugars to dust, which you can easily wipe away with a soft, damp cloth. But if there is some tough food residue left, try spot-cleaning with the baking soda paste once the oven is completely cooled. Do not double up on self-cleaning cycles in one day, as this can cause damage to the oven.
  • When you do use the self-cleaning feature, take advantage of the house-heating benefits. Staying in on a cold autumn or winter day? The high temperature emanating from the oven will add a little extra warmth to your house while it cleans. That’s multi-tasking at its best.

Now that you know how to clean an oven, how’s the rest of your house doing? Call The Maids® and sit back and relax while we give every room of your home a spotless shine with our 22-Step Heathy Touch® Deep Cleaning System. Call us at 1-800-THE-MAIDS for a free price quote today!


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