When cleaning your oven, first know what type of oven you have to prevent damage. Be sure to check if your oven is self-cleaning, textured, or a regular, non-self-cleaning model.
For self-cleaning models, first remove the oven racks and soak them in warm, soapy water. This will help to loosen any grease or spilled food. Then, turn on the automatic oven cleaner, which usually requires locking the oven door and turning the dial to “clean.” The oven will heat for several hours, turning all spilled foods within the oven into a fine, gray ash that is easily wiped away with a damp cloth or two. You may want to keep a window open during the self-cleaning process as the oven may produce a smoky smell. Regularly running the self-cleaning cycle of your oven keeps the oven clean and safe. Be sure not to use any oven cleaners on the interior of the oven as it can be harmful during the self-cleaning process.
Textured ovens, often called continuous cleaning ovens, have a rough porcelain layer that gradually burns off food particles and grease as you use your oven. The best way to clean this type of oven is to wipe down the inside with a damp cloth when the oven is cool. Never use oven cleaners, abrasive cleaners, or scouring pads as these can damage the porcelain of the oven.
Regular non-self-cleaning ovens are often the most difficult to clean. Try to wipe up spills with a hot, wet cloth after the oven has cooled from use. Wiping up the spills prevents food build up or burning onto the oven surfaces. Another tip is to cover the bottom of the oven with aluminum foil. Make sure no vents are blocked when covering the bottom of the oven. Many manufactures make oven cleaners and cleaning pads specifically for this type of oven that can help with tough stains and build up.
Homemade Oven Cleaners:
There are also many recipes for making your own oven cleaner.
One recipe requires you to combine 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap, 1 to 2 tablespoons of bleach, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with a quart of warm water. Apply the mixture to the interior of the oven with a sponge. Allow it to sit for approximately 45 minutes then scrub clean. Rinse well with cool water.
Another great homemade oven cleaner uses baking soda and white vinegar. Mix 5 tablespoons of baking soda with 4 tablespoons of white vinegar. Add 2 or 3 drops of dish soap to the mixture and mix until it forms a thick paste. Using a sponge, apply the paste to the inside of the oven. Wipe the oven clean with a clean cloth and rinse thoroughly with cool water.
Making a paste with 1 cup of salt, a cup of baking soda, and a cup of water creates a great cleaner for removing tough, baked on stains. Apply the paste to the inside of the oven, close the door, and turn the oven on 500 degrees for an hour. Then, turn off the oven and allow it to cool. Wipe clean using a moist sponge and be sure to rinse well.