Most people don’t give cleaning their ovens much thought and have no idea how often they should clean them. So, how often do oven manufacturers recommend you clean your oven?
You should clean your oven after every use, but it only needs to be a cursory clean to remove spilled food and grease. You need to do a deep oven clean once every three months. However, this should be more frequent if you use your oven more than once a day.
Cleaning your oven after every use may sound excessive, but it can save you time and money in the long run. When it’s time to do your oven’s quarterly clean, you won’t have as much to clean, and you won’t need to use as much product.
Also, since regular oven cleaning prevents heavy grease build-up, it allows the oven’s parts to work optimally without any strain. This allows the parts to wear down slower and helps your oven to work well for many years.
Another important reason to clean your oven regularly is that it makes cooking more pleasant. No one enjoys opening their oven, only to be greeted by a stale, greasy smell and a filthy interior.
The rest of this article will explain why you need to clean your oven and what happens if you don’t. I’ll also explain how to clean your oven.
Do I Need To Clean My Oven?
Ovens are dark places, and unless you look closely, it’s difficult to notice if they’re dirty or not. So, do you really need to clean your oven?
You need to clean your oven because it helps keep grease and dirt build-up at bay. If you don’t clean your oven, the accumulated grease or food can catch fire, smell bad, and cause your oven to work inefficiently.
Thankfully, modern oven cleaning methods make this unpleasant task fast and easy. You can buy an oven cleaning product from grocery stores, and this contains powerful grease-cutting ingredients that do all the heavy cleaning for you. Spray it in your oven’s interior, walk away, and then wipe all the dirt away half an hour later.
You should ensure that your kitchen is well-ventilated before using an oven cleaner. This is because the cleaner contains harsh chemicals. If you don’t like the idea of using such a strong product, consider using baking soda and white vinegar instead.
Many modern ovens have a self-cleaning function. This feature heats the oven to incredibly high temperatures so that the grease and burned-on food dry up, fall off, and become ash. All you need to do is simply wipe the ash away.
How Often Should I Clean My Oven?
I’ve already explained that it’s essential to clean your oven regularly. But how often should you do it?
You should clean your oven completely every quarter but more regularly if you use it a lot. You should also give it a quick wipe-down after each use.
This is a general guide and applicable to most ovens. However, if your oven’s user manual states otherwise, that should override it.
A thorough clean involves removing grease and dirt build-up from all the oven’s interior surfaces. It also includes soaking and scrubbing the oven’s removable parts (such as the racks).
If you use your oven once a week or less, you can get away with cleaning it less frequently, as a quarterly clean is based on using the oven every day.
However, if you use your oven more than once a day and notice that it gets dirty quickly, you might consider deep cleaning it every one to two months.
You might not notice small food or grease spills in your oven; the main reason why it’s important to give it a quick once-over after each use. Besides, doing so will make your job easier when you do the oven’s intense cleaning.
Here’s an easy guide to daily oven cleaning:
- When the oven is still warm (but not too hot that you could burn yourself), grab an antibacterial wipe or a soft wet cloth with some gentle cleaner. This is the perfect time to give the oven a once-over, as any dirt or grease will be easy to wipe off.
- Pick up any fallen food or grease with the wipe, and quickly wipe down the oven.
What Happens if I Don’t Clean My Oven?
If you have neglected your oven and haven’t cleaned it in a while, is this wrong? Will anything happen if you don’t clean it?
If you don’t clean your oven, it can become a fire risk, be more difficult to clean, or even smell bad. It can also reduce your oven’s efficiency and decrease its lifespan.
I’ll explain what happens if you don’t clean your oven in more detail below:
- Your oven can become a fire risk. Not removing the grease build-up in your oven regularly can cause it to accumulate. This makes it a fire risk as the hot oven temperatures can cause the grease to ignite. Loose food particles, pieces of foil, or crumbs could also catch fire.
- Your oven can become harder to clean. It’s easy to give your oven a quick wipe-down after each use, which helps keep it clean. However, if you don’t clean your oven regularly, the grease, dirt, and food build-up can quickly accumulate, making it more challenging to clean later.
- Your oven can smell bad. Most people use their ovens for cooking a wide range of foods. Over time, the tiny grease and food spills accumulate and attract bacteria. This can make your oven smell bad and smoke when it heats up, affecting the taste of the food you’re cooking.
- Your oven could have reduced efficiency. If your oven has a layer of grease over its interior or food covering its essential parts, it will need to work harder to heat up to the correct temperature. The oven can take longer to heat up when this happens, reducing its efficiency and increasing your energy bill.
- Your oven’s lifespan can be shortened. When your oven continuously has to work harder than it should, it strains the operating parts, resulting in more wear and tear, and potential component failure. This can reduce your oven’s lifespan and cost you a lot of money.
How To Clean an Oven?
I explained how often you should clean your oven and what happens if you don’t do it in the previous sections. So, what’s the best way to clean an oven?
You can clean an oven using a store-bought oven cleaner, baking soda, white vinegar, or the oven’s self-cleaning function. However, you should avoid using abrasive sponges or cleaners as these can scratch the oven.
I’ll explain these oven-cleaning methods in more detail below:
Use an Oven Cleaner
Here’s how to clean an oven using store-bought oven cleaner:
- An hour before starting, remove the oven’s loose parts (racks, etc.), and soak them in a mixture of dish soap and boiling water.
- Remove burned-on dirt, crumbs, and other loose particles from the oven.
- Follow the oven cleaning product’s instructions, and spray over the oven’s interior. Remember that oven cleaner usually contains harsh chemicals, so ensure that your kitchen is well-ventilated.
- In the meantime, scrub the loose oven parts to remove built-on grease and allow them to dry.
- Allow the oven cleaner to break down the stubborn grease for half an hour before wiping the surface thoroughly with a soft cloth.
Use a Natural Method
Don’t like the idea of using harsh chemicals to clean your oven? Use a natural method as follows:
- Remove any loose oven parts, soak them, and clean them (as above).
- Make a solution of equal parts baking soda or borax and white vinegar, and apply it liberally to the oven’s interior. If you don’t want to use baking soda and white vinegar, you could use a store-bought natural cleaner.
- Allow the solution to take effect on the oven, and wipe it off after 30 minutes.
Use Your Oven’s Self-Cleaning Function
Some ovens have a self-cleaning function, but you should only use this if it’s really necessary because it makes the oven work exceptionally hard.
An oven’s self-cleaning function operates at exceptionally high temperatures to burn off the built-on grease. The procedure typically lasts for two hours.
When the cycle has finished, wipe away the ash with a cloth.
If your oven doesn’t have a self-cleaning function and you’re strapped for time, you could use its steaming function. After switching the steaming function on for half an hour, any built-up grease or food will soften, and you can wipe it off with ease.