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How To Clean an Oven

To thoroughly clean an oven, you have to address a variety of surfaces - glass, metal, plastic - and multiple levels of mess - from light spatters to baked-on stains. The following suggestions will help you get and keep your oven clean. Also, read our article on how to use your oven's self-cleaning feature.

For ease and safety, it is usually best to allow the oven to cool completely before cleaning. Wear protective clothing such as gloves  and eye protection, work in a well-ventilated area, and make sure to completely remove cleaning residues to prevent irritation from accidental contact. If your oven has a self-cleaning feature, make sure to read the manual and follow the instructions carefully. Keep in mind that these features are sometimes most effective when you first remove as much grease residue as possible by hand.

Always test any cleaning solution or technique on an inconspicious location to make certain it will not damage the material or surface being cleaned. Some materials may react with various surfaces over time and may not reveal damage immediately. Always rinse away all residue of cleaning solutions to minimize the risk of damage.

Metal

There are several choices for cleaning the metal parts of your oven. You may find it easier to remove the oven racks to get full access to the interior surfaces of your oven. You can also use these techniques to clean metal used in handles and other fittings.

Oxycleaners on Metal

The active ingredient sodium percarbonate, found in OxiClean and other commonly available commercial products, reacts with water to produce hydrogen peroxide, resulting in a cleaner with disinfectant properties. It also has a mild bleaching effect, so it may bleach colored rags and clothing. Generally, commercially available powdered oxycleaners are more cost effective than using hydrogen peroxide purchased from the drugstore. Oxycleaners also contain additional ingredients to neutralize the pH of the cleanser, which helps make them less irritating. Mix 1 tablespoon of powdered/granular oxycleaner with 1 tablespoon water. Use a damp sponge to apply the mixture to the metal surfaces of a cool oven. In this case, a sponge is easier than paper towels, as the baked-on stains commonly found in ovens are hardened and cause the paper towels to tear. Rub in a circular motion to dislodge stains and remove light soil. Remove the stain/oxycleaner mixture. Using a clean, damp sponge, wipe any remaining  residue from the metal surfaces. Dry the metal surface thoroughly with a clean, dry paper towel or soft cloth.

Borax on Metal

Borax produces similar results to oxycleaners, but without the bleaching properties. You should still test it in an inconspicuous spot to avoid discoloring or damaging surfaces. Mix 1 tablespoon of borax with 1 tablespoon water. Use a damp sponge to apply the mixture to the metal surfaces of a cool oven. Rub in a circular motion to dislodge stains and remove light soil. Remove stain/borax mixture. Using a clean, damp sponge, wipe any remaining  residue from the metal surfaces. Dry the metal surface thoroughly with a clean, dry paper towel or clean, dry soft cloth.

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