We all have a to-do list as long as our arm at this time of year, so it’s easy to put off cleaning the oven since it’s such a grimy task that takes hours. But that’s why it’s good to know how to clean an oven quickly, so you can tick it off the list and get back to more enjoyable jobs.
Cleaning an oven is more necessary than you may think. Jessica Rhodes, product and marketing manager at appliance brand ASKO explains, ‘A clean oven is more energy efficient because the heat will distribute more efficiently with less energy, leading to even baking.’
Jessica explains further, ‘If an oven is filled with food debris and grease, it can obstruct the heat distribution and thus increase the time taken to cook food. This then puts pressure on fans and thermostats to work harder, resulting in higher energy bills.’
That’s not all, Jessica tells us that a dirty oven could also pose a health risk, ‘If consumers let food grease and spills accumulate over time in the oven, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria and mould. This can lead to potentially dangerous health issues.’
Fine, we’re sold, we need to clean our ovens more regularly, but is there a way to avoid spending hours on it? According to our experts, the answer is a resounding yes.
How to clean an oven quickly
If your oven is fairly new, it could have a self-cleaning option, which of course makes this chore far quicker. Lauren Clark, a large appliance expert at AO.com explains, ‘Newer models of ovens now feature pyrolytic self-cleaning functions, which take out all the hard work and keep your oven squeaky clean in a quick, high heat cycle.’
However, even self-cleaning ovens need some manual work – you will still need to remove and know how to clean oven racks and how to clean an oven door. If you have an oven that doesn’t have a self-cleaning setting, there is still a way to tackle it in a hurry.
We spoke to a selection of experts and collated their tips to find out exactly how to clean an oven quickly, yet thoroughly.
How to clean an oven quickly - What you'll need
- A vacuum
- Distilled Vinegar
- Bicarbonate of Soda
- Dishwasher Tablets
- Scouring sponge
How to clean an oven quickly - Step-by-step
1. Before you begin
Before cleaning, you need to rid the oven of loose debris first. Matt Ayres, a consultant at RDO, one of the UK’s largest independent appliance retailers, says, ‘Before you begin scrubbing your oven, use a vacuum to clear up any debris, crumbs or burnt bits from the bottom of the oven.’
2. Use steam to loosen grime
Lauren from AO.com says, ‘If you have a lot of build-up, a great pre-cleaning solution is to steam the oven out. You can do this quite simply with an oven safe bowl of water and a squeeze of lemon – heat the oven up and allow the water to steam for 5 minutes, before turning off and allowing to cool.’
Cleaning with vinegar works well too, you just need to add some to the water.
3. Remove racks
Before you clean the cavity, remove the racks and add them to a dishwasher if they’ll fit. If not, soak them quickly in a large washing bowl filled with warm water and dish soap. Leave them to soak whilst you move onto the next step.
4. Clean inside
At this point, enough dirt should have been loosened by the steam that removal will be a breeze. What you use to clean the oven is dependent on how you feel about using strong chemicals. If you want to avoid them, it doesn’t mean you’ll have to double the time spent cleaning.
Lauren explains, ‘As an alternative to oven cleaners, which often contain harsh chemicals, you can use a more natural cleaning solution of bicarbonate of soda and water.’ Simply mix the two to form a paste, which Lauren advises must be ‘thick enough to not drip down the oven.’ Leave on for around 20 minutes.
Extra tip: If you do opt for a stronger chemical cleaner, make sure your home is well-ventilated and children and pets are kept far away. Sophie Lane, a product training manager at premium appliance brand Miele explains, ‘If you need to use a more aggressive oven cleaner be very careful not to spray this into the fan or air-vents as you will be unable to remove any residue and this can release a strong odour when the oven is next used.’
5. Tackle the door
To utilise your time as efficiently as possible, whilst the paste is busy tackling the dirt in the cavity of your oven, you should get to work on the door. James Longley, managing director at Utility Bidder says, ‘When cleaning your oven glass door, you should be opening it all the way, and making sure that all loose debris is wiped away with a damp dishcloth or paper towel.’
The door can be cleaned with the same paste as the cavity, or James suggests, ‘wetting a dishwasher tablet and rubbing against the oven door with a wet cloth.’
Leave whichever cleaner you use to soak in whilst you get back to the cavity.
6. Remove paste and the grime with it
After 20 minutes, Lauren says the paste should have done its job, ‘Once soaked, you can simply wipe away [the paste] with a warm damp cloth and use a sponge to clean off any tough stains.’
Do the same to the paste on the door, using circular motions with a sponge and then rinse both the cavity and the door thoroughly. Quickly rinse off your racks and dry them, the door and the cavity with a dishcloth and you’re all done.
Does baking soda and vinegar really clean ovens?
Mixing baking soda and vinegar causes a reaction that produces carbon dioxide gas which is great for cleaning, especially when it comes to grease and grime. Plus, because baking soda has a mild gritty texture, it means it can be used as a fairly gentle abrasive which again is good for lifting caked on grease.
How long does it take to clean a really dirty oven?
When an oven is really dirty, cleaning solutions will need to be left on longer (sometimes three hours), racks will need to soak longer (often overnight) and there will be more time spent scrubbing (occasionally around an hour). Therefore, staying on top of this much-dreaded chore will save you time in the long-run.
Olivia Young, a cleaning expert and product development scientist at Astonish advises, ‘To prevent spending hours cleaning your oven, it’s worth regularly spot cleaning as stains appear, to prevent food and oils from drying and becoming even harder to tackle.’
If your oven is really dirty, a quick 30-minute clean might not do the trick and you might have to look into how much it costs to professionally clean an oven. However, you can prevent it from getting to this point if you keep on top of your cleaning and know how often to clean an oven so the grime doesn't build up.
Do your future self a favour and keep on top of this chore.
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