HomeLifeHow to clean an oven using pantry staples

How to clean an oven using pantry staples

Oven cleaning is often a task we dread, but with the right knowledge and tools, that needn’t be the case.

Here’s a guide to cleaning your oven naturally, or with a store-bought cleaner.

Materials needed to clean your oven

A quality cleaner – you have several options here.

  1. Store-bought oven cleaner. This is the easiest, fastest process and will remove serious amounts of grease and grime. The caveat: the oven cleaner can be quite caustic, so if you’re sensitive to harsh chemicals or prefer an all-natural approach, you may want to choose another option.
  2. Baking soda, water, vinegar and a spray bottle. A DIY option with pantry staples.
  3. Lemons and water. Another DIY option that takes about two hours; good if your oven is only mildly dirty and your racks don’t need cleaning.

Rubber cleaning gloves – no disposable gloves, especially if you go with the store-bought cleaner, as you’ll want a heavy-duty barrier between your skin and the cleaner.

Protective safety glasses.

Old newspapers or paper towels.

Damp cloth rags – scouring or microfibre sponge may be helpful if you’re tackling lots of build-up.

How to clean your oven naturally
Making your own DIY oven cleaner is easier and cheaper than you’d expect. All you need is:

  • baking soda
  • white vinegar
  • a little dishwashing liquid
  • warm water

Read: Ten cleaning tips with vinegar, lemon and bicarb

Start by pulling the trays and racks out of your oven. Leave these to soak in a sink of warm water and a dash of dishwashing liquid.

Then scoop four tablespoons of baking soda into an empty spray bottle. Fill with warm water and shake before spraying onto the internal surfaces of the oven. If you don’t own a spray bottle you can mix the baking soda in a bowl and use a gloved hand and cloth to wipe it around the inside of the oven, taking care around the heating elements. Leave this to work for an hour.

Return to wipe out the oven with a cloth and warm water. If grime is still solidly stuck on, spray or wipe it down again with the baking soda mix and leave it for another hour. Using a spatula may make it easier to scrape away build-up. If grime is particularly persistent, wipe the oven out with a mixture of white vinegar and warm water. When combined, baking soda and vinegar work to break down grime and grease.

Wipe out the oven with warm water after an hour.

Steam clean your oven with lemon
If you’re looking to get rid of some tough grease and dirt on the inside of your oven, try a little steam cleaning.

First, fill an oven-proof bowl with water and squeeze in the juice of two lemons.

Place the bowl in the oven and set it to 200C. Once the oven is up to temperature, leave the bowl in there for one hour.

Turn the oven off and allow it to cool to a temperature you can safely clean. The lemon-infused steam will help to melt the grease and fat and make it easier to remove.

Read: Common kitchen cleaning mistakes and their simple fixes

Put on gloves and wipe all surfaces with a damp cloth including the back, sides, bottom, top, door, corners and crevices. A more abrasive tool may be required like a scouring sponge or microfibre cloth to target any extra sticky spots.

Be sure to wipe thoroughly so that you remove all grease and grime.

If you are running out of time or don’t have the ingredients to make your own homemade paste, there are many store-bought oven cleaners available.

How to clean your oven with a specific store-bought cleaner
First, ensure your kitchen is well ventilated as these cleaners often contain harsh chemicals.

Remove the racks from your oven and clean them thoroughly in the sink with dishwashing liquid. If they are especially grimy, you can take them outside and spray them with the oven cleaner.

Spread newspaper or paper towel on the floor beneath the oven to catch any drips and protect the floor.

Read the instructions on the back of the bottle, then don your safety gear (gloves and goggles) and spray the oven cleaner according to the directions.

If you have an electric oven, don’t spray on the heating elements; instead, simply lift them up and spray underneath. If you have a gas oven, don’t spray where the gas comes through. Close the oven when you’re done.

Let the spray sit for the time listed on the label (most cleaners will need about 20-30 minutes). Then wipe the entire inside of the oven thoroughly with a damp cloth.

How to maintain a clean oven
Once the hard part is done, these tips will help you keep your oven cleaner, for longer.

Read: Save time and money with these cleaning tricks

Always line the base of your oven with an oven sheet or some tin foil to catch anything that drips or drops.

Roast meat and fish in cooking bags to prevent fat spitting everywhere.

After cooking, pop a bowl of water into oven and turn on to high heat for around 20 minutes. After it has cooled, wipe the oven down with a paper towel.

How often do you clean your oven? Do you prefer the natural method or use a store-bought cleaner?

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Ellie Baxter
Ellie Baxter
Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.


  1. Haha to the oven sheet in the bottom of the oven. Bought two thinking this is great – I won’t have to clean the bottom of the oven anymore. Turned the oven on and the sheet went everywhere – don’t use in an oven where the fan turns on when you turn on the oven!

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