Baking soda is a practical, affordable, and environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional oven cleaners, and it's much less irritating for people with allergies and other sensitivities. Using it to clean your oven can be time-consuming, but it's very effective if you follow the appropriate process.
Cleaning Inside the Oven With Baking Soda
The baking soda method isn't as fast as traditional oven cleaner, but it's not difficult. You'll need towels and rags, a scrub brush, some rubber gloves, plenty of baking soda, and a spray bottle of white vinegar. Expect to spend a couple of hours of hands-on time and about 12 hours of soaking. After that, your oven will be spic and span!
1. Prepare Your Oven
Start by getting everything you can out of the oven. This means oven racks and a separate thermometer if you have one. Then remove any obvious, loose debris with a cleaning cloth or a vacuum. Anything you can get out now means less to clean later. It's also a good idea to spread towels around the oven to catch any mess that comes out.
2. Mix a Baking Soda Paste
Baking soda is mildly abrasive and works well as a scrub. You just need to mix it with a little water. Using a small bowl, pour in some baking soda and add water until you get 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 cup of baking soda.
3. Roll Up Your Sleeves and Get Started
Put on something you don't mind getting dirty and wear a pair of rubber gloves. According to the CDC, baking soda doesn't irritate the skin, but it's still better to wear gloves to protect your hands from the messy work. Then begin applying the baking soda mixture to every surface of your oven, except the heating elements and gas inlet. Pay attention to especially gunky areas like the door and bottom of the oven. Then shut the door and allow the paste to sit on the surfaces at least 12 hours or overnight.
4. Work on the Racks
While the baking soda paste is sitting on the oven surfaces, you can clean the racks. Bob Villa recommends a combination of baking soda and vinegar for extra gunky surfaces like this. Start by getting the racks damp and then sprinkle them with baking soda. Use a 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 pad and some elbow grease, 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 in water and baking soda and try again the next day.
5. Tackle the Oven
After 12 hours, the paste will have dried on the oven surface. Put on your gloves again, and with a wet rag, begin to wipe it off. As you encounter stubborn areas, spray them with vinegar and use a scrub brush to really dig in. Once everything is clean, use a rag with just water to give the surfaces a final rinse. You may need to rinse several times since baking soda can leave a film.
6. Put Everything Back Together
Once the oven is dry, you can put everything back together. Dry the racks and slide them back in place. Replace the oven thermometer if you use one. Give the outside of the door a spritz of glass cleaner and a wipe-down so you can enjoy your hard work.
Using Baking Soda on the Stovetop
While you're cleaning the inside of the oven, you can freshen up the stovetop with baking soda too. Here's how to do it:
- Remove burner pans or grates and allow them to soak in baking soda and water overnight in your sink.
- While they're soaking, use the baking soda paste to coat the top of the stove.
- Scrub with a wet cloth. Baking soda is an abrasive, so it can remove crud on glass stovetops, as well as metal or ceramic ones.
- Wipe off the paste and make sure the residue is gone. You may need to rinse the stovetop several times to get rid of the film.
- After the burner pans or grates have soaked, drain the water from the sink and sprinkle them liberally with baking soda.
- Spray the pans or grates with vinegar and scrub with a brush to clean them.
- Rinse and dry them well and replace them.
Tips for Stubborn Stains
If you run into some extra stubborn stains as you're working on your oven, try the following tips:
- Add vinegar. The reaction between baking soda and vinegar has great cleaning potential. As the chemicals fizz together, they loosen stuck-on grime.
- Try soaking. Let the stained area soak in a mixture of baking soda and water. If the stain is greasy, add a little dish soap to the water. Let it soak for several hours.
- Use a plastic spatula to scrape off built-up crud in the oven. This works best after soaking for a while.
- If your oven door is stained, apply a baking soda paste and leave it on for several hours. You should leave the door open to do this. Then spray with vinegar and scrub to clean.
- Don't forget the elbow grease. A scrub brush and some extra cleaning time can go a long way on those stubborn stains, and the abrasive nature of baking soda will help your scrubbing be efficient.
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.