Best oven cleaners – the top products to make greasy surfaces sparkle effortlessly

These are the best easy oven cleaners that cut down on scrubbing

Do you hate cleaning the oven? Us too! But we also know that it’s a household chore that brings a big win. Baked-on food makes dinners taste sour, smell a bit funny, and can cause smoke while you’re cooking, as well as stop the oven working as well as it should.

Related: Best kettles – the top models for the perfect cup of tea in a flash, updated for 2019

Which is why an efficient oven-cleaning product is a must. Not only will it trim the amount of time you’ll need to get a shiny interior, it’ll allow you to overhaul your oven a bit more often. That means every cake, bake, pizza or pie that pops out of it will be as golden brown and delicious as you intended it to be.

Why do I need an oven cleaner?

Best oven cleaners

Image credit: Claire Lloyd Davies

The average Brit cleans their oven just twice a year and it’s easy to understand why – finding enough time when the oven isn’t in use and preparing to scrub away is no one’s idea of fun. That’s where a good oven cleaner comes in.

These powerful products dissolve or soften burnt-on grease and grime, taking the hard work out of cleaning and making it more convenient to fit it around a busy lifestyle. Ideally, you should clean your oven a couple of times a month if it has heavy usage, and at least once every three months for light use.

Will oven cleaner damage a self-cleaning oven?

Before you start, check if your oven has catalytic liners or is a pyrolytic (or self-cleaning) model. Catalytic liners oxidise grease from the oven as it cooks, while pyrolytic ovens have a high-heat setting that burns away grime to leave a fine ash behind.

Oven cleaners can damage these coatings and linings, so they may not work as well in future. It’s best to stick to using a damp cloth to wipe them down following high temperature cleaning.

Best oven cleaners

1. Oven & Grill Specialist Cleaner and Sponge, Astonish – best for a pleasant aroma

best oven cleaners

Ovens cleaners have a habit of smelling strongly of chemicals but if your nose can’t handle it, Astonish’s cleaner does a great job of degreasing without the nasty niff.

Instead of using caustic chemicals to do the job, it employs a slightly abrasive paste and included sponge to remove burnt-on food, while giving off a lovely orangey scent. As it’s not caustic or harsh, containing just soap and limolene, there’s no need to wear gloves, but given that it’s abrasive, you might want to pop a pair on to protect your manicure.

Features that we liked especially was that it can even be used on an oven door and there’s no need to wait – just wet the sponge, swipe over the block of paste and apply in a circular motion.

In testing, we enjoyed the fruity smell and found that it worked quite well on smaller greasy patches but didn’t remove very burnt-on dirt the first time – this needed repeat applications. It also required more effort than most to apply it and thoroughly rinse away (as it foamed a little with water) so there wasn’t any residue left.

However, we liked that our oven smelled great once we were finished and that it was very economical, with plenty of paste left over for future cleaning. It’s probably best to keep this on hand for little and often cleaning rather than tackling an oven caked in grease.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Astonish Oven & Grill Specialist Cleaner and Sponge, £2,98, ASDA

2. Oven Mate Gel Cleaning Kit, Lakeland – best for an effortless oven overhaul

best oven cleaners

Consisting of a bottle of thick gel, handy arm protectors as well as protective gloves and a double-ended application brush, this kit contains everything you need to tackle the grimiest, greasiest oven.

Its ease of use, efficiency and versatility (it can also be used on barbecues, grill pans and glass) made it our favourite cleaner by far. Despite containing a caustic chemical, potassium hydroxide, the gel doesn’t smell acrid, is biodegradable and wasn’t unpleasant to use.

We found that the brush was effective at spreading product around the oven and that it clung well on the sides. Being able to paint it on to specific places was useful rather than just spraying and hoping there was enough product where it was required.

The instructions were imprecise as to how long to leave it on for. They advised anywhere between a few minutes and three hours depending on level of soiling, so the one downside was that we had to keep popping back to check on progress.

The gel turned brown as it worked, so after two hours we wiped some away. However, not all the grease came off, so we left it for another hour.

This time, every surface was sparkling clean except for some small stubborn patches on the sides, which were particularly caked in burnt grease. It was quick to wipe away with water as it’s a non-foamy gel.

Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Lakeland Oven Mate Gel Cleaning Kit, £7.35, Amazon

3. Essential Oven and Hob Cleaner, Waitrose – best on a budget

best oven cleaners

An affordable but still quite powerful formula, this multipurpose spray can be used on barbecues and grills as well as ovens to keep them free from grease and food debris build-ups.

It’s non-caustic, containing anionic surfactants, non-ionic surfactants and EDTA (a chelating agent) as well as pleasant-smelling limolene to do its work. Despite this, it still advises the use of gloves and eye protection and suggest between 15-60 minutes to do its work.

One issue we had with the cleaner is that because it’s a liquid, it dribbled off the sides of our oven shortly after spraying. It was otherwise easy to apply in a few spritzes but the floor of the oven definitely ended up with more coverage. After 45 minutes, it had shifted the large burnt-on patches on the bottom, where the solution seemed to have soaked in well.

Smaller spots of grease on the sides needed a second application and some rubbing in. After 30 minutes, they came away easily and the oven was quick to wipe down thanks to the solution not being foamy.

Ideal Home’s rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Waitrose Essential Oven and Hob Cleaner, £9.22, Amazon

4. Oven Cleaner, Dr Beckmann – best for weekly cleans

best oven cleaners

One for those who aspire to always having a spotless oven and shiny cookware, this spray-on gel can even be used to get baking trays and pans back to looking like new.

It contains sodium etasulfate (a low-foaming anionic surfactant) and caustic soda, so you’ll need to don eye protection and gloves when you use it but on the plus side, it’s odourless and inoffensive to use.

It was runnier than some of the other gels we tested but we liked being able to spray it on and walk away. The cleaner is billed as being able to cling to vertical surfaces, and some did stick to the sides of our oven but we also noticed gel running off. An approximate time to leave it to do its work was 30-60 minutes.

After 35 minutes, a few of our greasy patches shifted but the majority remained. We left it until the timer hit one hour and found that the stubborn patches of grease still wouldn’t shift. It required a second application left to work overnight to finish the job.

On the plus side, the cleaner can stay on for up to 24 hours, which would be handy for a weekend cleaning session. It was also straightforward to wipe away with a damp cloth as it didn’t foam.

Ideal Home’s rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Dr Beckmann Oven Cleaner, £6.48, Amazon

5. Gas Hob & Oven Care Kit, Wpro for Hotpoint – best for shiny surfaces inside and out

best oven cleaners

If you look longingly at your oven and pine for the days when it was newly fitted and gleaming, this three-product kit is for you.

It’s designed to work some magic not just inside your oven but also outside, with a degreaser for the interior, a cream cleaner for shifting stains on stainless-steel surfaces and a cleaning spray for bringing the shine back to stainless-steel doors and controls.

Plus it can also be used on the gas hob when you’re done with the oven.

The Oven & Grill Degreaser spray contains anionic surfactants, non-ionic surfactants and advised a time of 10 minutes to clean a warm oven and 30 minutes for a cold one. It was easy to spritz onto our oven walls and floor, and the foam stay mostly on the vertical surfaces, turning brown as it soaked into the grease.

After 30 minutes we wiped it away. The first layer of grease had been penetrated and was removed but some burnt patches remained.

A few repeat applications were required to melt away the worst greasy burnt patches. The cream cleaner was effective at removing greasy splashes but we found it tricky to rinse away all the residue.

We especially liked the spray cleaner – it was fantastic for restoring the shine to the oven door and didn’t need any rinsing, just a quick buff.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Wpro for Hotpoint Gas Hob & Oven Care Kit, £19.98, Amazon

6. Complete Oven Cleaner, Oven Pride– best for spotless shelves

best oven cleaners

Grill racks and oven shelves can be tricky to clean with elbow grease alone, so Oven Pride’s solution is this kit of cleaning solution, large zip-up bag and gloves. Simply pop the shelves in the bag, coat with cleaning solution, zip up and leave for six hours (turning over after two).

The remainder of the cleaning solution can be used to clean inside the oven, which melts grease away in four hours. The solution contains anionic and amphoteric surfactants and is caustic, so requires some care while using.

The large bag easily accommodated all our oven shelves and supports plus the grill pan. It sealed securely but we found it hard to remove all the air from the bag so we could wrap it around the shelves as suggested by instructions.

The gloves provided were thin and didn’t cover our arms from splashes so had to be supplemented by our own rubber gloves. The remaining product was difficult to apply straight from the bottle – it suggests using a cloth or a sponge but it’s quite a skill not to get any on your arms when reaching to the back of a cavity.

It also smelled strongly of chemicals, and wasn’t suitable for cleaning the door. Getting the shelves out of the bag was messy as solution splashed around as they emerged. However, the product was effective – the grease came off with a wipe followed by washing with soapy water.

After rinsing, the oven was spotless. Some residue was visible once the shelves and interior had dried but this could be wiped away.

Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Oven Pride Complete Oven Cleaner, £10.30, Amazon

7. Mr Muscle Oven Cleaner, SC Johnson – best for speedy yet thorough cleaning

best oven cleaners

For those who like to spray and walk away, Mr Muscle’s aerosol cleaner is probably one of the fastest possible to apply and equally quick when it comes to removing burnt-on mess without scraping.

The foam is both caustic and smells strongly of chemicals – you’ll also find anionic surfactants and aliphatic hydrocarbons (degreasing solvents) in the mix.

The can advised wearing gloves, protecting arms and eyes when using it (although none of this is provided), and promises to shift grease in as little as 30 minutes with oven door closed.

It was an unpleasant product to apply – even when holding 20cm away from the oven surfaces, there was foam backsplash from the spray. It also made us cough and we had to leave the kitchen for a few minutes before coming back to finish applying.

The foam adhered to the vertical surfaces fairly well. After half an hour, we found that the product had worked best in areas where it had gathered, as opposed to specks of it or where it had started to run down the oven sides.

It required another couple of applications to get rid of smaller spots of baked on grease. Wiping it away with a damp cloth was straightforward and no residue was left behind.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Buy now: SC Johnson Mr Muscle Oven Cleaner, £3.50, Amazon

8. Oven, grill & barbecue cleaner, HG – best for indoors and out

best oven cleaners

Whether it’s barbecue season or you love regular roast dinners, it’s a good idea to keep a bottle of this cleaner to hand. It was our quickest acting cleaner, taking between just three to five minutes to work – great if you don’t want to wait around or have to make a note to come back to the job.

It advises using on a slightly warm oven (about 30C), though, so you’ll have to add that on to your cleaning time.

While it doesn’t suggest the use of gloves or eye protection, it does have a warning about chemical burns, so it’s probably best to wear some.

We especially liked the rotating safety catch on the nozzle that prevented it from being sprayed by accident. Inside, there’s biodegradable foam that contains anionic surfactants, non-ionic surfactants and phosphonates (a chelating agent).

The cleaner was easy to spray on as long as the bottle remained upright (tipping it to reach corners caused the spray to falter).

Its foam clung to the sides of our oven at first but then started to run down. Our first application brought off most of the grease but the thicker layers stubbornly remained. It took two extra applications to remove the rest of it. The foam took a couple of rinses down before we were sure that no residue was left behind.

Ideal Home’s rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Buy now: HG Oven, grill & barbecue cleaner, £6.99, Amazon

Think before you buy – Cleaning Gel, Bosch

best oven cleaning

A tube of gel that includes a built-in brush-style applicator, this low-odour cleaning product can even be used on steam ovens, microwave ovens teppan yaki surfaces and baking trays to help shift sticky spots.

It’s non-caustic, instead containing anionic surfactants and non-ionic surfactants and is a nice thick formula that we found easy to apply and spread around the oven. It estimated a minimum time of two hours to work.

It came out of the tube in a large splodge initially, with lots of product released in one squeeze. The gel clung to the sides of the oven well. However, after two hours it hadn’t shifted much of the blackened grime. It did help loosen burnt chunks of food but didn’t appear to dissolve the grease.

We had to reapply and leave overnight to start to shift some of the worst deposits but the result still wasn’t spotless.

We felt this might be a better product for lightly dirty ovens rather than the heavily soiled interior we were trying to clean. On the plus side, it was simple to wipe away with a damp cloth and no residue remained.

Ideal Home’s rating: 2 out of 5 stars

How do I use oven cleaner?

best oven cleaners

Image credit: David Giles

For standard enamelled ovens, equip yourself with a thick pair of rubber gloves, old toothbrush, a sponge, and bicarbonate of soda. The toothbrush is ideal for getting into awkward spots, while the sponge can be used to wipe the product away once it’s done its job.

If there are any areas of grease that won’t budge, the bicarbonate of soda can be left overnight to soften it. You may also need a scourer to tackle awkward spots on shelves and supports.

Remember to open windows and doors so you won’t breathe in any fumes and always follow the instructions. Cleaners often contain sodium hydroxide (known as lye or caustic soda), which can burn skin, irritate eyes and cause damage to nostrils and lungs, so it’s vital they’re used with care.

Other ingredients you’re likely to find are anionic surfactants (chemicals you’d usually find in laundry detergents and body washes), non-ionic surfactants (also found in laundry and dishwasher detergents) and chelating agents that help the cleaning chemicals along and may also help to prevent scale.

After using an oven cleaner, rinse the surfaces and door and wipe dry. To make sure there’s no remaining product and to remove the cleaner’s smell, heat the oven to 200C for at least 10 minutes before cooking.

Related: Best steam cleaners – the top steam mops for refreshing floors and more

And that’s it, you’re done! All that’s left to do is decide which tasty treats you’re going to bake next.

All the latest from Ideal Home