Monday, 15 April 2013

How to Clean an Oven with Baking Soda and Vinegar

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Before I get into the nitty gritty of how to clean an oven with baking soda and vinegar, I want to manage my readers' expectations. I am a huge fan of white vinegar and baking soda. It works miracles on all sorts; limescale, blocked drains, mucky irons. And some blogs will tell you it is also a miraculous oven cleaner. This is not true. If you follow this cleaning tutorial it will not leave you with an oven which looks almost like new.

So why do I still use vinegar and baking soda on my oven? Well, call me paranoid but chemical oven cleaners are highly toxic and I'm just not comfortable cleaning something which cooks my food with substances that could kill me. That said, I have tried many chemical based oven cleaners and they all left my oven better but far from sparkling. My natural homemade cleaner works at least as well as them. Consequently, I've made my peace with the fact my oven will never be perfectly clean - short of wiping it down every time I use it or paying a professional I've accepted there is only so much I can do.

Now you know there are no short cuts to a shiny oven, here is how you can at least make a big improvement. This is what I had to work with.

It had been a while since I last cleaned it! 

I started by taking out the shelves and bunging them in the dishwasher. If you don't have a dishwasher, put them in the bath and cover them with hot water and plenty of dish soap and leave them for as long as possible. 

Next I made up a paste of white vinegar and baking soda. No need to measure quantities, just add enough baking soda so that the paste isn't too runny to stick to the sides of your oven. Spread it all over the door and the oven walls. Ideally this paste should be left on over night, but an hour is enough to make a difference if you're pressed for time. 

Once the dishwasher is finished, get out the shelves and scrub them with a scourer. It is a very tedious job, but most of the crusty bits should come off.

Turn your attention back to the oven. Wipe all of the vingear/baking soda paste off with a damp cloth. I'll be honest, it is a faff! But at least you should start to notice the difference. This is what I was left with when it was all done:

It is easy to get the glass door looking clean and sparkly again. The inside... not so much. The difference is much more noticeable in real life than it is in the photos. It is just too difficult to get decent pictures of an oven with my mediocre photography skills. 

If anyone does know the secret to creating a shiny oven with little to no effort then please do share in the comments!


  1. Thanks for the tips! I was just thinking my oven could use a once over and since my family switched to organic in January, I was wondering what to do. This should be perfect!

  2. lol
    oh! the dreaded oven. I hate it as much as you do but I think that water+soda are doing a much better job.
    In a spray bottle mix 2 tbs baking soda, fill with warm water and shake well. Then spray the whole oven and the shelves in there. Repeat every 2-3 hours for a couple (or more if your oven is really dirty) of days.
    It seems like too much to do but it really isn't. The oven should be kept wet for as long as possible as the soda dissolves the burnt fat when it is wet (that's what the article said anyway)
    Then you take a wet sponge and just wipe the surfaces, no scrub needed. Repeat for a couple of times with clean water.
    Then you make a cup of tea and stare at your oven amazed (not that I've done that!)
    Usually it takes 2 days for my oven to get cleaned but when I'm reaaaaally lazy and bored I've been known to let it sit for 4 days in a row, but then cleaning is only getting easier, so I don't really mind :)
    Oh, while all this is taking place, you can actually bake in there, too. Just let the oven get cool and then spray down again.
    Tip: my oven seems to gather all the water in its bottom in a specific area and since I don't want to let it sit for 2-4 days, I either put a container there or I just remember to wipe away the excess as it seems to make a white rim

    1. Ooo thank you, that sounds really easy (my sort of cleaning!). Will definitely give that a go. Like that you can still bake when cleaning the oven - I always schedule my oven cleaning for a day when I only need the hob to make dinner which is kinda inflexible :)

  3. Thanks for sharing! I'm pinning this!

  4. In a cold oven place a small bowl of non-sudsy ammonia on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven overnight. The fumes will soften the gunk on the oven walls and floor. But be careful when opening the door — the fumes may be strong. Use a damp sponge and wipe it out...then you can move on to your technique. I think this may make your task a bit less laborious.


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