We know cleaning your kitchen is a daily occurrence, but there are some parts of it that don’t get a thorough clean quite as regularly. You oven is one of them. How often should you clean it? Well, that depends upon how much you use it and how messy the items are you cook in it, but there are still good average recommendations—approximately 4 – 6 times a year. Since January is a great time to tackle cleaning projects, why not start that schedule this month! Time to clean the oven.

How to Clean Your Oven

Most ovens nowadays have a self-cleaning function. Depending upon your model, this might include a traditional high-heat self-cleaning mode or a steam clean setting.

Traditional Self-Cleaning Oven: The oven heats to a higher temperature than normal heating range (upwards of 800 – 1000F). Any residue in the oven is burned off, leaving behind an ashy residue that is easily wiped up, once the oven cools. Make sure to remove oven racks or liners before starting the clean cycle. The self-cleaning cycle typically lasts 2 – 4 hours, depending upon your model, and the oven remains locked while the cycle is in use.

Note that using this method of cleaning your oven often causes significant odours. The fumes can be harmful for birds, and sometimes irritating for other pets or sensitive people. Make sure to turn on ventilation systems and open windows to vent as needed.

Steam Cleaning Oven: Steam cleaning ovens take far less time to complete their cleaning cycle; typically 20 – 40 minutes. They also cause far less odour. Add approximately 1 cup of water to the bottom of your oven, and like with traditional self-cleaning settings, wipe up any residue once the cycle has completed and the oven cooled down. Again, do not leave racks inside the oven when running a cleaning cycle on your oven.

* For either a traditional self-cleaning or steam cleaning oven cycle, always refer to the manufacturer’s directions for use. Never use oven cleaners when using high-temperature cleaning settings. The high heat does the work without them.

Manually Cleaning Your Oven

clean your ovenWhile self-cleaning ovens have come a long way from older models where elbow grease or noxious chemicals were needed to make your oven sparkle once more, there is still room for a little DIY cleaning. Whether wiping out debris before hitting your self-clean button, or tackling the whole job yourself, you still need to get your hands dirty on occasion to clean your oven. The best part though is that it is an easy job to do!

To clean your oven, all you need is mild soap and water, and a cleaning sponge or brush. Like in cleaning other areas of your kitchen, your best bet is to wipe up any spills as soon as they occur. This prevents them from hardening into wrist busting messes that require the self-cleaning mode. Remove oven racks for ease of cleaning and wash them in warm soapy water.

Don’t forget the door. If soap and water doesn’t cut greasy marks, turn to glass cleaners or even a vinegar and water solution. Make sure the glass is cool before cleaning to ensure no cracks or breakage occurs.

Remember that the more often you manually clean your oven, the less frequently you need to run your self-cleaning cycle. That helps your utility bill too.

Happy cleaning!