Many ovens today are self-cleaning, but if yours isn’t, these are the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab picks to cut through tough messes. Ovens often have to do lots of work in most people’s kitchens; so, they can gather dirt pretty fast. While keeping a clean oven for the sake of cleanliness is certainly a motivation to keep these cooking appliances tidy, it is also important to keep in mind that the dirt they collect can affect their cooking performance
Pro tip: Check to see if your appliance manufacturer cautions against using cleaning products first — some do and might void the warranty if you have a problem.
Spills, smoke, scorching and other issues that come with baking often leave these devices very dirty. And it’s usually the sort of dirt that requires quite a bit of effort to clean up. That is why choosing a good oven cleaner is such an important decision.
These cleaning products have to stand up to tough stains, and they should also help you complete the cleaning task quickly and without introducing any harmful contaminants to the appliance.
Method Heavy Duty Kitchen Degreaser– Best Overall
One of the most affordable, effective, and safest oven cleaners out there is the Method Heavy Duty Kitchen Degreaser. This naturally derived cleaner is free from harsh chemicals that could be dangerous to you and your family, but it’s still strong enough to cut through grease, oil, burnt-on food, and more.
The 28-ounce bottle contains a non-toxic, plant-based formula that leaves the pleasant smell of lemongrass behind. It doesn’t contain any parabens, phthalates, dyes, or aluminum, and it can be used for a variety of cleaning tasks around the kitchen, including on your oven, microwave oven, stovetop, drip pans, and more.
Reviewers were amazed at how well the Method Heavy Duty Kitchen Degreaser worked, saying it can cut through tough messes in minutes, allowing you to wipe away crud with minimal elbow grease. Plus, it smells great and doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals. Win-win.
Fit Cleaner and Degreaser – Best All-Purpose
Whether you’re cleaning the oven, shower, grill, or car, you can use the Fit Cleaner and Degreaser to make any surface shine! This all-purpose cleaning product uses a variety of natural ingredients, including organic plant oils, to remove grease and dirt from every area of your home.
This product comes in 32-ounce bottles, and it can be used on ovens, cookware, countertops, bathroom surfaces, and much more. You can either dilute the formula with water for lighter jobs or spray it directly onto the mess for heavy-duty cleaning action. According to one reviewer, she used it on her 20-year-old oven, and it left the interior looking like new again. Plus, many say they use it for various jobs around the house to great success, as well.
Puracy Natural All Purpose Cleaner– Best Natural
Most commercial cleaners have chemicals in them, which can be irritating to you, your children, and your pets. If you’re looking for a natural cleaner to use (and don’t have time to make a cleaner out of household ingredients), you may want to consider the Puracy Natural All-Purpose Cleaner. Customers praise the non-toxic and hypoallergenic formula, writing that it’s an effective natural cleaner that they feel safe using in their home.
This cleaner comes in 25-ounce bottles, and it’s effective on grease, grime, adhesive, and more. The formula is plant-derived, vegan, and free from sulfates, and it can be used to clean any hard surface from your oven to hardwood floors.
A few reviewers said that it left streaks on windows and mirrors, but the majority of customers who used it on their appliances (ovens, microwaves, stovetops) didn’t have any problems. Plus, it has a refreshing green tea and lime scent!
Easy-Off Oven Cleaner Spray – Best Heavy-Duty
The Easy-Off Oven Cleaner Spray is an inexpensive, powerful oven cleaner that will help remove even the most caked-on stains when cleaning gas, electric, and self-cleaning ovens. As an added bonus, it’s fume-free, so you don’t have to worry about inhaling harmful chemicals as you clean.
The Easy-Off Cleaner comes in a 14.5-ounce spray can, and it can be used on ovens, oven doors, broilers, and other stainless steel surfaces. You should always use it on a cold oven, and for spot cleaning, you can just spray the formula onto the surface, let it sit for a minute, then wipe it away with paper towels or a sponge.
It’s safe enough to use without gloves, but you’ll want to wash your hands after application to ensure you don’t accidentally get it in your eyes. Reviewers say this oven cleaner can take off years of grease, and you can let it sit for longer if you want to deep-clean your appliance. Note that this should not be used on aluminum or platinum surfaces (it may cause this kind of surface to peel), or in a continuous-cleaning or microwave oven.
Weiman Ceramic & Glass Cooktop Cleaner – Best For Cooktops.
Glass and ceramic cooktops are notoriously challenging to keep clean, which is why you should invest in a top-rated cooktop cleaner. The Weiman Ceramic & Glass Cooktop Cleaner is a highly trusted brand, and it will help you keep the top of your range looking like new.
This product comes with a 10-ounce bottle of cleaner and three scrubbing pads. When used together, the tools will cut through even the toughest burnt-on stains, as well as grease and grime. Plus, the scratch-free formula won’t damage your cooktop—instead, it will leave it looking shiny and beautiful!
You can use these products on all major appliance brands, and reviewers can’t say enough about how well the cooktop cleaner works, even on old stains that seemed impossible to get off. “I was really blown away by how quick and easy it was to clean using this product,” enthused one reviewer.
How to Clean Your Oven
Once you’ve found the type of oven cleaner that you feel will be the most useful, it’s now time to get down to work and actually get to cleaning. While you should always follow the directions on whatever product you’re using, below are some general tips which will help you clean your oven in a quick and orderly fashion.
Gather Your Equipment
Before you begin cleaning your oven, you should first gather together some supplies. Besides the oven cleaner, there are a few tools which will help you do a better job of cleaning your oven. Some of the tools below will help you protect yourself against the harmful nature of the cleaner, and some of them will help you do a better job at actually cleaning. After all, the cleaner can’t do all of the work. You’re going to have to use a little bit of elbow grease as well.
Rubber Gloves — The first thing you should put on is a pair of rubber gloves. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a harsh chemical oven cleaner or you’re using a more natural product. Putting on a pair of gloves will not only protect your hands against the cleaner but will also help keep your hands clean.
Old Towels — Old towels are an indispensable tool for any oven cleaning job. You can help keep the floor in front of the oven protected from any grease and cleaner that may come off of the oven.
Paper Towels—Some people may see it as overkill to have both old towels and paper towels for an oven cleaning project, I don’t see it that way at all. When I clean my oven, I use old towels to line the floor in front of the oven, and I use paper towels to wipe the gunk off of my oven after the cleaner has liquefied the grease and grime on the inside of my oven.
Paint Brush — We know what you’re thinking: Why bring a paintbrush to clean your oven? That’s because it can be an invaluable tool for applying oven cleaner to your oven. I know that it’s effective because that’s how I apply cleaner to my oven. Of course, if you feel that it’s a little bit of overkill, then at least try to bring a toothbrush to your next cleaning. It will make it easier to apply cleaning product to hard-to-reach areas of the oven and is disposable.
Paint Scraper — A paint scraper is a good tool to have around for cleaning your oven. You can either use the plastic scraper or a metal one. It’s a useful tool to scrape off excess food particles before you begin actually cleaning the oven.
Scrub Brush — A scrub brush is not something you’re going to want to skimp on when you’re cleaning your oven. Using a high-quality scrub brush will make it a whole lot easier to remove dirt and grime from the inside of your oven. Just be sure that you get a scrub brush that’s abrasive enough to easily remove grease and grime from your oven, but isn’t so abrasive that it damages your oven’s surfaces.
Soft Cloth — Paper towels are a completely optional tool to have available when you’re cleaning your oven. Some people prefer to use paper towels to wipe down the interior of the oven when they’ve finished cleaning it.
I prefer to use a separate cloth for finishing up because I’ve found that sometimes paper towels can leave a residue that ends up burning in the oven, so I just use a soft cloth to give the whole interior of the oven a good once over, so that doesn’t happen.
Oven Cleaning Procedure
I would like to reiterate that your oven cleaner’s instructions should be followed to the letter, so if they contradict with these instructions, then they should definitely be the instructions you follow. Having said that, here are some general cleaning tips for getting the inside of your oven nice and clean.
Remove Accessories: Make sure that you not only remove the shelves from your oven but should also remove the thermometer and any other accessories that may be in your oven. Most people place their oven shelves in soapy, hot water and clean them separately. However, if they’re not that dirty, you can always just give them a good wipe down and continue on.
Scrape off Food Residue: Using your trusty paint scraper, make sure that you remove any of the big pieces of food from the inside of your oven. Whenever I clean my oven, there are big pieces of charcoal that were once food clinging to the side of the oven. So, I pull out my scraper and clean it up.
Apply Oven Cleaner: Take your favorite cleaner and apply the sides and bottom of your oven. Also, make sure that you cover the inside of the door panel. Using your paintbrush (or toothbrush), spread the cleaner out evenly.
Try to avoid getting cleaner on your oven’s heating element (if it’s electric), or on any of the door seals. It should also be noted that most oven cleaners are flammable, so avoid using them around pilot lights.
Let the Cleaner Work: It should be noted that most cleaners need to sit for a period of time to work on your oven’s grease and grime, so make sure that it sits for about 30-minutes or so. This is a crucial part of the cleaning process and will make cleaning out the oven a whole lot easier.
Time to Scrub: Now, you can begin to scrub off the grease and gunk from your oven. The cleaner has had time to work, so it should be too difficult to get the oven clean. Using your brush, give the inside of the oven a good scrubbing to make sure that you’ve broken up any stuck-on grease or charcoal particles.
Wipe the Oven Down: Using paper towels, make sure you wipe away all of the cleaner and grime that may be left on the inside of the oven. When you have finished doing that, you can then use your cloth to give the oven one final wipe down to make sure that you didn’t leave any residue behind and that the oven is completely clean.
Clean Up: Now, make sure that you clean up or throw away any supplies you’ve used to clean your oven. Tools that can be used again such as rubber gloves and paint brushes can be cleaned and then stored away for next time. Be sure to place the cap on your oven cleaner before you put it away.
Congratulations! Your oven is now clean and ready to use.