Baking soda is a practical, affordable, and environmentally friendly alternative to commercial oven cleaners. It is also much less irritating for people with allergies and chemical sensitivities. Cleaning your oven with baking soda can be time consuming, but it's very effective if you follow the appropriate steps.
Clean the Oven With Baking Soda and Vinegar
The baking soda method doesn't work as quickly as commercial methods, but you may still prefer it. Expect to spend a couple of hours of hands-on time and about 12 hours of soaking.
Supplies You'll Need to Clean Your Oven
- Towels or rags
- Tarp or drop cloth (optional)
- Scrub brush or scrubbing sponge
- Rubber, plastic or silicone spatula (optional)
- Rubber gloves
- Paint or food brush (optional)
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
- Empty spray bottle
- Cloths for cleaning
Step 1 - Prepare Your Oven for Cleaning
Start by getting everything you can out of the oven.
- Remove the oven racks and a separate thermometer if you have one.
- Remove any obvious, loose debris and burnt food with a cleaning cloth, paper towel or a vacuum using the hose attachment. You can also scrape it with a rubber or silicone spatula.
- Spread towels or a tarp on the floor around the oven to catch any mess that comes out. You can also use big plastic garbage bags or a painter's drop cloth.
Step 2 - Prepare Your Cleaners
You'll want to have your vinegar and a baking soda mixture ready. Baking soda is used to clean because it's mildly abrasive and works well as a scrub.
- Fill the empty spray bottle with a mix of 50% water and 50% white vinegar.
- Mix a few tablespoons of baking soda in a small bowl with a few teaspoons of water. Add water until you get the mixture to a consistency you can spread.
- You can use any ratio that works for you, but a good starting place is about five tablespoons of water per one cup of baking soda.
Step 3 - Apply the Baking Soda Mixture
At this point, consider putting on a change of clothes that you don't mind getting dirty. You should put your rubber gloves on at this point too.
- Begin applying the baking soda mixture to every surface of the inside of your oven, except the heating elements and gas inlet. You can apply it by scooping some up in your gloved hands and pressing it around the surface of the oven. You can also use a spatula, or a clean unused paint brush or food brush.
- Pay attention to especially grimy areas like the door and bottom of the oven.
- If you're having a hard time reaching spots at the back of the oven, you can use a spatula or brush dipped in the paste to spread it to those areas. If there are tiny areas that you can't get the paste into, another option is to use an old toothbrush.
- If you notice the paste taking on a discolored, dark appearance, that's perfectly normal.
- Then shut the door and allow the paste to sit on the surfaces at least 12 hours or overnight.
- If you're in a hurry, you can return to cleaning the oven much sooner. Try to let the paste sit for at least 40 to 45 minutes before returning to it to give it a chance to work. The dirtier your oven, the more effective the baking soda will be if you give it longer to work.
Step 4 - Cleaning Oven Glass With Baking Soda
Cleaning the oven glass can be done with the baking soda mixture as well. Rub the paste onto the glass, and apply extra in areas that are heavily stained. You can clean the oven door with baking soda as well. Ideally by the time you're done, every square inch of the inside of the oven should be covered with your baking soda paste.
Step 5 - Cleaning Oven Racks With Baking Soda
While the baking soda paste is sitting on the oven surfaces, you can clean the racks. Baking soda will work on stainless steel racks. If you have aluminum racks, it's best to use another cleaning product as baking soda can discolor these.
- Start by getting the racks damp with a wet rag and then sprinkle them with baking soda.
- Use the spray bottle of regular white vinegar to spray them all over. The vinegar will react with the baking soda and foam up.
- With a damp scrub brush or brillo pad, scrub away all the baked-on gunk.
- Reapply as needed until the grates are clean.
- If the racks are especially stubborn, allow them to soak overnight. You can put them in your tub or a large flat plastic container and use a mixture of hot water and baking soda.
Step 6 - Return to Cleaning the Oven
After 12 hours, or the next morning if you let the oven sit overnight, the paste will have dried on the oven surface.
- With your gloves on, take a warm wet rag and wipe the dried baking soda off.
- As you encounter stubborn areas, spray them with vinegar and use a scrub brush to really dig in. You can also use your spatula to scrape it off.
- Once you clear all the paste off the oven glass, give it a full spray of vinegar to clean it off and give it a nice shine.
- Once everything is clean, use a rag dampened with just water to give the surfaces a final rinse.
- Make sure you get into all areas, including the sides along the door. Spraying the vinegar can help in those areas as that will cause the paste to foam and loosen up.
- You may need to rinse several times since baking soda can leave a film.
Step 7 - Put The Racks Back In
Once the oven is cleaned of all the baking soda paste, you can put everything back together.
- Take the racks and remove any excess baking soda from them and dry off with a towel. Then slide them back in place in the oven.
- Replace the oven thermometer if you use one.
- Give the outside of the door a spritz of the vinegar and a wipe-down so you can enjoy your hard work.
Stubborn Oven Stains
If you find that the baking soda method still leaves you with some stubborn oven stains, you can try this process with one additional ingredient. Arm & Hammer recommends adding regular table salt to the baking soda and water paste. Their recipe is one pound of baking soda, two tablespoons of water and one tablespoon of salt.
Fresh and Clean Without Harsh Chemicals
Using baking soda to clean your oven is a great, effective way to get rid of grime without harsh chemicals. It may take a bit longer than traditional oven cleaner, but it won't introduce irritating fumes into your home. Soon, your oven will be fresh and clean, and you can enjoy using your oven again.