You clean your pots and pans, bowls and plates, utensils and appliances, but not your oven? What gives?
Cleaning your oven can seem like a Herculean task, but it's really just a series of simple steps. And they're well worth it—seriously, do you want to be baking cookies in a box that's dripping with stale turkey grease and baked on tomato sauce?
If you have a self-cleaning oven, you should begin by running the self-cleaning cycle. All this does is bring the oven to a super high heat (800 degrees Fahrenheit!) to essentially bake off any dried-on foods or grease. Let the oven cool for several hours once it's finished, and then wipe out any loose ash or burnt residue.
If that doesn't do the trick, it's on to step two. (Start here if you don't have a self-cleaning oven). A mixture of baking soda and vinegar makes a surprisingly effective scrub. This cleaning method comes from The Kitchn, and the simple combination of two household ingredients really can't be beat.
First, mix 1/2 cup baking soda with a few teaspoons of water to form a thick paste. Rub the paste all over the inside of your oven. You might want to don a pair of rubber gloves for this part, as it can get pretty messy. (But unlike most conventional cleaners, there are no toxic or harsh chemicals to worry about!) Let it sit overnight.
The next day, it's time to really get down to cleaning. Wipe out the baking soda paste with a damp dish cloth. If you need to really scrape any dried bits off, you can use a metal grill spatula.
Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar, and spritz the inside of your oven with it. The vinegar will react with any leftover baking soda bits and create some foam. That's a good thing, and means the deep clean is working.
Give the oven one final wipe down with more vinegar or plain water, and you're done! In between deep cleanings, maintain your oven by wiping it down with vinegar or water. The cleaner it stays, the easier it is on you in the long run.
Photo credit: Paul Delmont