Oven cleaning made easy

One of the best inventions ever was the self cleaning oven. With ultra high heat, all the grime and food bits are incinerated and the oven is clean once again. For those of you who need to clean the oven by hand, though, here are some cleaning tips to make this time consuming and grimy chore a little more manageable.

How To Start Maintaining Your Oven

As with most cleaning projects, the first oven cleaning tip is to start at the top and work your way down. First take off all of the knobs and throw them into a pan with a little detergent and water to soak while you clean the rest of the oven.

Wipe down the front, sides and top with a non abrasive detergent and cloth. The enamel is made of a glass and steel fusion, and while heat resistant, it isn't scratch resistant. Here's a cleaning tip: Acidity plays a part as well so make sure if you spill tomato sauce or the like to wipe it off with a dry paper towel right away.

Broiler pans and drip plates under the burners can be lined with aluminum foil (like mom used to do) or soaked once a week and scrubbed clean. The aluminum foil is easier in the long run. My favorite cleaning tip for broiler pans is to soak them right away in the sink while you finish dinner, and then wipe and rinse. Induction ovens have no burners, as the elements are located under the enamel. The top just heats up. The big question is how to wash these without scratching them. The answer is to wipe as soon as the element cools down enough to touch. Spray with window cleaner and wipe.

Traditional chemical oven cleaners all work well, just use enough of it so it will soak and be easy to wipe off, allow it to sit long enough to work before attempting to clean, and always wear gloves. Anyone with a cut on their hand who has touched oven cleaner can vouch for this! Follow the directions on the can and remove all racks to soak in hot, sudsy water.

Preventing Is Key

Of course, another cleaning tip is the best way to clean the oven - with prevention. Wipe down spills as they happen. To loosen grime in between deep cleaning, place an oven safe bowl of boiling water in the oven and let sit for fifteen minutes. This will cause some of the crud on the sides to loosen and can be scrubbed up easier. (The same principle is used when you put a cup of water in the microwave and set it on high for one minute.) It is best to wipe up spills as they happen in a warm oven, if the food bakes on, it can be difficult to scrap off.

After you've spent all that time cleaning the oven, the last cleaning tip to keep it from happening again is by lining as much of the bottom of the oven as you can with aluminum foil. As long as you don't let it touch the elements you will find that it helps tremendously with keeping the oven clean.