Ovens, one of the most important appliances invented, provide the heat needed for baking and producing delicious dishes, such as cookies and casseroles. Unfortunately, oven cleaning is a chore that’s easy to miss. If not completed regularly, it often leads to off-tasting food and a smoky kitchen. Don’t have the slightest clue on how to clean your oven? You’re in luck, we’ve created a beginner’s guide to help keep your oven clean and clear, just in time for the baking season.
Frequency of Cleaning
Oven cleaning should occur every three to six months, or more frequently if excess debris has fallen onto the bottom of the oven from spills or overflow. The buildup of oven scraps can increase the risk of a fire, especially if the accumulation is grease based. If you see excessive smoke billowing out of the oven every time you open the door, then immediately cleaning is needed to prevent a fire.
Key Signals Your Oven Needs a Cleaning
Built-up grime on the oven door and window is an obvious sign indicating an oven cleaning is needed. Another sign that your oven needs cleaning is the presence of a charcoal taste in food baked in the oven. It’s important when cooking, to pay attention to the color, buildup, and heating pattern of your oven.
Self- Cleaning Method
Newer-model ovens come with a self-cleaning function, taking the guesswork out of oven cleaning. Once the self-cleaning feature starts, the oven door locks while the heating cycle completes. The cycle heats to scorching temperatures, over 800°F. The hot temperatures burn off leftover food and debris from the racks and bottom of the oven. Simply wipe the ash away with a cloth, once the self-clean feature completes its cycle. Due to the high heat produced, the self-clean cycle can cause issues in older units. Never run the self-clean cycle right before you need the oven. Don’t get caught the day before holiday cooking, with a clean oven that no longer turns on. Better to wait until after you finish baking or do it a few weeks beforehand.
Baking Soda Method
If you’re looking for a natural cleanser to take out grease and leftover clumps in the oven, you want to go with the tried and true baking soda and vinegar method. Mix one-half cup of baking soda with approximately three tablespoons of water and stir to make a paste. Spread the paste along the sides and bottom of the oven and leave overnight (approximately 12 hours). Using a damp cloth or damp scrubber with bristles. Spray the oven with vinegar to locate baking soda residue and wipe clean.