Ovens are an important part of most kitchens, flexible and classic tools for cooking all sorts of foods. But even though many ovens have self-cleaning options they are still one of the most loathed tasks in any cleaning repertoire.
But with the right approach and equipment the job can be made easier.
Soak the Racks to Reduce Resistance – The racks need to be cleaned in a sink like normal dishes. They are typically amongst the dirtiest of the elements in an oven so they often require a lot of work, so the best approach is to allow them to soak in hot water with detergent added for as long as possible. Some sinks won’t fit them, so you may need to use your laundry trough. Detergent can be bought at any supermarket, extra strength or ones for cleaning oily things are generally advised. A strong sponge should be sufficient to wipe the rack down, most of the build ups will soften after soaking. Just be thorough and make sure you clean the small gaps and corners of the rack.
Self-Cleaners – Self-cleaning ovens generally work by getting super-hot and burning build ups to the point they are easily brushed away as ash. To brush away the ash use a dry sponge or dustpan and brush. It is important it is dry because moisture will just make the ash clump and harder to wipe away. Once as much of the ash is off and out as possible use a wet sponge or cloth to wipe the remainder off, it doesn’t even require chemicals at this point.
Traditional Ovens – Old school ovens require old school cleaning techniques. You need to apply a cleaning chemical to the buildups, let them break down then wipe them away as with any surface cleaning. Baking soda mixed in with water to varying intensities is a popular home solution that has the benefit of being cheap. The alternative is store bought spray on cleaners which are generally stronger and often have the benefit of leaving the oven shinier after cleaning but do cost a lot more. Basically you just spray on the chemicals, let them sit for a period to start the breaking down of the build ups and then using a robust sponge and hot water start to clean down the inside doing your best to be thorough and not leave any build ups. Try not to use too rough a sponge as it can damage the surface of the oven and that will cause issues over time.
Oven Doors – No matter the oven type you will have to manually clean the oven doors. This is another basic spray and wipe down process, though how thorough you can be depends on whether the door can be disassembled. Regardless, using kitchen surface cleaner spray it on, leave it to break down the build ups a bit, and using a sponge and warm water thoroughly clean down the door. If your oven has a polished finish then you can use a spray designed for metal surfaces to add a little extra sparkle.
Clean Regularly – Okay, this is probably wishful thinking, but the reality is that the more often you clean the oven the less of a pain it is every time you do the job, and in a way that is much more pronounced then other tasks. Because ovens tend to ‘bake’ oil and build ups into corners and cracks, the longer you wait to clean the more stubborn it will be. Good cleaning products help, but nothing helps more than period cleaning to assure the build ups don’t have time to establish themselves. Even just doubling your frequency two once every few months from once or twice a year will have a huge impact.
With good cleaning product, allowing time for it to work properly and a good amount of attention to detail you can assure your oven is left clean and help assure that the next time you clean it the job is easier.