Cleaning the oven is not a job that anyone looks forward to, but as a baker, it’s a necessary evil when you’re putting your oven to work on a regular basis. Buildup of grease and crumbs at the bottom of the oven can lead to a smoky kitchen, so it’s best to get in there on a regular basis to keep things under control.
Did you know that you can use baking soda to clean your oven quickly and easily?
With this easy technique, cleaning the oven won’t seem like such a chore.
The two most common ways to clean the grime and grease out of the oven are with a heavy-duty oven cleaner or by using the “self clean” cycle on the oven.
The cleaners can leave a residue, which can smoke and smell the next time you use your oven, if you’re not careful. The oven’s cleaning cycle basically heats up the oven to a temperature at which most things will burn up, but they sometimes don’t get the whole job done and they put your oven out of commission for hours.
Baking soda is a better option than the two “traditional” options for a couple of reasons.
It’s nontoxic, inexpensive, easy and effective. I am able to get my oven clean in about 15 minutes with almost no hands-on work or scrubbing. And, I can use the oven again immediately.
How to use baking soda as an oven cleaner
To use baking as a cleaner, simply combine baking soda with water to make a paste, then spread it onto the dirty parts of the oven. Avoid the heating elements, but feel free to add a thin coat to your oven glass. I use a small spatula, though you can do it by hand if you’re wearing a glove.
Let the baking soda mixture sit for at least 15 minutes, then use a wet paper towel to wipe it off.
Since you don’t want any leftover baking soda in your oven, try this trick: After wiping away the baking soda with water, go over it again with vinegar. Wet a paper towel with vinegar and wipe it over cleaned are. Vinegar will react with any remaining baking soda by bubbling. If you spot any pockets of baking soda, wipe them again with a clean, damp towel.
I’ve seen tutorials that call for letting the baking soda sit in the oven for up to 12 hours before the grease is loosened. For me, I only need about 15 minutes most of the time. You can check by rubbing away a small portion of the baking soda mixture to see if the grease has been loosened. If not, let it sit a bit longer.
Why it works
Baking soda is basic, rather than acidic. The baked-on grease at the bottom of your oven is most likely slightly acidic, thanks to the presence of a bunch of food particles in it.
When you put baking soda on the grease (with the help of some water to make sure it sticks), it starts to react and gently loosen that grease.
Baking soda is also slightly abrasive, so scrubbing it against a really dirty oven will also help, but it shouldn’t be necessary for an oven that’s cleaned regularly.
Baking soda oven cleaner
- ½ cup baking soda
- 2½ – 3 tablespoons water
Combine baking soda and water in a small bowl to form a paste with the consistency of pancake batter. Add an additional teaspoon or so of water to thin the paste, if necessary.
Remove racks from oven. Using a spatula or a gloved hand, spread paste on dirty parts of the oven interior, including the base and glass, while avoiding heating elements.
Let paste sit for at least 15 minutes.
Use a series of wet paper towels to wipe off baking soda residue and loosened grime.
If desired, use a paper towel with vinegar on it to wipe the freshly cleaned surface to remove any last traces of baking soda.