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CDA Buying Advice – Oven Cleaning: What is the best way to clean an oven?

Whether you choose a double oven or single oven, an electric oven or a gas oven, one thing will always hold true. You will need to keep it clean to achieve the best cooking results possible.

Keeping your oven clean as you go along is the best way to avoid hours of scrubbing a greasy oven interior. Wipe down the inside of your oven with a damp cloth on a regular basis to stop food residue from being burnt on and you won’t need to spend as much time cleaning when it is time to do a more thorough job.

Another way to cut down your oven cleaning time is to invest in a pyrolytic self-cleaning oven. These built-in ovens have a setting that superheats the internal cavity to up to 500°C to burn off any grease, grime or food residue. This pyrolytic self-cleaning function combined with catalytic liners that fit into the oven cavity, make the whole process of cleaning your oven a breeze.

With a self-cleaning oven, all you need to do is select the programme when your oven needs cleaning and wait for the cycle to finish before wiping away the small pile of ash that will be left on the bottom of the cavity.

What should I use to clean my oven?

If your oven doesn’t have a pyrolytic self-cleaning function built-in, you will probably need to break out the elbow grease to get high standards of cleanliness in your oven. Even if you wipe it down regularly.

There are plenty of easy to use cleaning products on the market but they are all very harsh and can be expensive.

A quick, homemade solution is to coat the oven’s internal surfaces in a paste made from bicarbonate of soda and water. Leave for 30 minutes and this will loosen the dirt so you can simply wipe it away with a bowl of warm water and a cloth.

Mum relaxed with a glass of wine next a self cleaning oven and smiling
kids showing off their hands after baking with grandma

Cleaning Oven Racks

It’s not just the inside of your oven cavity that will regularly need a good clean. Your racks and oven trays will build up their own crust of grime you’ll need to clean off.

The supporting side racks in your oven are removable. Simply unscrew the bolts that hold them in place and remove to give them a thorough clean. If they are sticky or heavily soiled, you can soak them in a solution of warm water and bicarbonate of soda for an hour to loosen any grease. Then, a wash down in hot, soapy water should bring them back up to their gleaming glory.

The same treatment can be given to the internal oven shelves. When it comes to pyrolytic ovens, be sure to remove the shelves before turning on the cleaning cycle. Such high temperatures are not suitable for chrome and may leave your shelving discoloured if they are left in during a pyrolytic clean.

How to clean oven door glass

In your oven manual, you will find specific instructions on how to remove the door glass on your model. Most types will feature a set of clips at the handle end of the door, these are visible when you open the door. After sliding out these clips, the door glass may also be pulled out for cleaning.

Once removed, you can clean your door glass with a glass cleaner if it is only lightly soiled. We recommend any cleaner that contains vinegar, or even a solution of vinegar and water should do the job perfectly, and has the added bonus of being chemical-free. If you have a lot of cooking splatters on the door glass, treat the surface to a soak in bicarbonate of soda and warm water to loosen the dirt. The door glass can then be polished up with the vinegar solution for a clear and brilliant shine.

Cleaning glass without scratching

If you are concerned about scratching the glass on your oven door, a solution of vinegar and water is the best option for getting a squeaky clean shine with no marks. You can buy a range of cleaning products that promise to cut through the grime quickly, but homemade solutions can be just as effective.

How to clean your oven without the use of a dip tank

‘Dip tanks’ are a chemical solution to burnt on, difficult to remove grease and dirt. We do not recommend using them in case you damage your oven and accessories. We do however have a hot tip for the most difficult stains and dirt: washing up powder! Yes, a sprinkle of biological powder in a sink full of hot water will let clever little enzymes go to work on your burnt-on food. You will be amazed at the results.

How often should I clean my oven?

Wiping away fat, grease or spilt food is always quicker and easier if you do it straight after cooking, when the oven has cooled of course. How often you clean your oven comes down to how often you use the oven and your cooking style. Roasting regularly and cooking fatty food will no doubt leave more grease for you to clean up in your appliance. However, if you are a casserole or baking fan, your oven may not need quite as much cleaning attention.

There are other options available to help with the maintenance of your oven. Catalytic liners can be fitted to the internal cavity of your oven. These absorb grease and dirt and will need replacing when saturated. The right size of catalytic liner for your oven will be listed on the product page for your model. Never line your oven with foil. This will damage the elements and cause potentially devastating damage to your appliance. Similarly, never put foil under the grill. The foil reflects heat back up to the heating element and damages the thermostat.

Self cleaning ovens

When choosing the best type of oven to suit your needs, when you read ‘self-cleaning oven’ we are referring to models with a pyrolytic function. Once selected, the cycle automatically locks the door and heats the internal cavity to over 400°C to incinerate the dirt and grease inside to a fine ash. The small pile of grey ash can then be simply wiped away after the cycle has finished and the oven has cooled. The door will not unlock again until the internal cavity has cooled to a safe temperature.

Your pyrolytic cycle will cost around 45p to run, which is still cheaper than a bottle of branded oven cleaner.

The beauty of pyrolytic ovens is that they clean themselves. Don’t be tempted to try and use chemical cleaners on these ovens as you can damage the walls.

Can I leave the house while the pyrolytic cleaning function runs on my oven?

Yes, the added safety features, quadruple glazing and automatic locking system mean that your pyrolytic oven is perfectly safe to leave on a cleaning cycle.

Safety precautions before cleaning

If you are using a pyrolytic oven always ensure that you remove the oven shelves before turning on the cleaning cycle. The enamel inside the oven is perfect for withstanding the high temperatures whereas the chrome shelving is a little more sensitive and could discolour if left in place during a pyrolytic clean.

Cooking safely after cleaning your oven

Another convenient aspect of a pyrolytic cleaning function is that it won’t leave any harsh chemicals in your oven. As soon as the cycle is finished you can cook right away without having to worry about your food being affected.

If you’d rather use chemical cleaners to get your oven gleaming, make sure you thoroughly rinse the inside of your oven afterwards. You should also make sure that you wear gloves while cleaning, and open a window to let any vapours escape.

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