A foam formula that is a good alternative to aerosol cleaners. Works effectively on tough jobs, particularly grease. No fumes, odors, or harsh chemicals. Boasts biodegradable ingredients.
Requires patience and scrubbing for optimal effectiveness.
Made with natural ingredients; leaves no lingering odor or residue. Can be used safely and effectively on a variety of surfaces, including stoves, sinks, tubs, toilets, and grills. Low price.
May not be able to tackle the toughest of jobs.
A fume-free, biodegradable formula. Gel-like consistency resists dripping. Safer than aerosols that contain caustic chemicals. Works on most baked-on foods, grease, and stains. Available in multi-packs.
Tough tasks might require leaving product in place for up to 4 hours.
Easy to spray on and wipe clean without excessive scrubbing in most cases. Can be used in warm or cold ovens. No overpowering fumes. Results in as little as 5 minutes.
Contains harsh chemicals. Nozzle can quit working before the can is empty.
Designed to remove stains, smudges, and streaks from stainless steel appliances and surfaces. Natural, plant-based solution. Safe and effective on other fine metals. Fast and easy application.
Doesn't work as a degreaser or interior oven cleaner.
Even the most careful and meticulous home cook can end up with splatters and spills inside the oven. Roasting, baking, and broiling at high heat are bound to leave behind greasy stains. Splashed meat juices, spilled batter, and oozing cheese can all wreak havoc on the inside of this often used appliance.
While you can clean counters and even the inside of your microwave within an hour, tackling a messy oven interior is a whole other ballgame. It takes patience, scrubbing, and a powerful oven cleaner to tackle greasy glass and baked-on food.
We at BestReviews want to make this chore a little simpler by providing you with a shopping guide to oven cleaners. It features cleaning tips and a few ideas for preventing impossible-to-clean messes in the first place. You’ve put off the task long enough, and now it’s time to make that oven sparkle! The right oven cleaner will make this tough job a whole lot easier.
There’s some debate about whether self-cleaning ovens are a good idea. The process seems simpler, but it still requires some forethought. When your oven is in self-cleaning mode, you can’t use it, and your home gets very hot and can start to smell. There’s also some evidence that the very hot self-cleaning mode in some ovens can damage electronic components. And a self-cleaning function doesn’t magically clean your dirty oven interior. You still need to so some scrubbing before and after.
Scrubbing beforehand is recommended
Gentle steam-cleaning function (some ovens) loosens particles
Very hot temperatures (up to 500°F)
Gets stuck-on food in hard-to-reach areas
Requires some cleaning after self-clean mode
Accessories must be washed separately
More expensive than regular oven
Most oven cleaners contain abrasive chemicals that eat away grime, stuck-on food, and stains. They’re designed to be left on for a few hours or overnight to work their magic. After a waiting period, it should be easy to wipe away stubborn particles that were impossible to remove before.
Tough stain-fighting power
Most products involve soaking period
Requires ventilation (but fume-free formulas available)
May require use of face protection
No heat needed
Most are toxic; must be handled with care
Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing an oven cleaner.
One common ingredient found in oven cleaner is sodium hydroxide, a harsh chemical that can burn the skin. Be aware that you should wear gloves when handling oven cleaner to prevent skin irritation and burns. Make sure to check the product’s instructions to make sure you’re using it safely and effectively. Keep oven cleaners safely stored out of the reach of children and pets.
Not all ovens are compatible with all commercial oven cleaners. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines for your oven to make sure you won’t damage it by cleaning it with certain products. Cleaners should not be used on certain parts of your oven, such as the seal around the door. The owner’s manual should indicate these more delicate areas. Also, some self-cleaning ovens are not compatible with chemically formulated oven cleaners.
Oven cleaners come in spray, gel, and cream formulas. A spray is convenient for getting at areas that are hard to reach, but all three types are equally effective at removing grime.
Read the product’s instructions. Before you start scrubbing, make sure you’re following the right procedure.
Wear gloves. This is a no-brainer. Oven cleaners contain harsh ingredients, so they shouldn’t come in direct contact with the skin.
Remove oven racks. Some products recommend cleaning racks by placing them in a garbage bag, adding oven cleaner, and sealing it up. You might be able to clean racks that aren’t too grimy in the dishwasher.
Apply oven cleaner, and scrub. You don’t need to scrub aggressively. Just make sure to apply cleaner evenly around the oven’s interior.
Don’t rinse right away. Most oven cleaners should be left on for several hours or overnight.
Wipe off. After the waiting period, it’s time to rinse off the cleaner.
Clean up oven messes right away. Don’t delay. Letting spilled food sit makes it harder to scrub away later.
Monthly cleanups are easier. Don’t wait a year or more to clean out the oven if you use it frequently.
Protect the oven with oven liners or an old baking sheet. This will keep spills from burning onto the bottom of the oven.
Avoid splatters. Bake with covered cookware to avoid splatters.
Match the baking dish size to the recipe. Think ahead when cooking, roasting, and baking. Use the right pans and baking sheets to avoid spills and overflow.
Remove dishes from the oven when checking the temperature or turning food. This will help to prevent liquids from splashing or food dropping inside the oven.
Put an oven-safe bowl of water in the oven when you’re done cooking. Get in the habit of putting a bowl of water in your oven when it’s still warm. It’s like a steam cleaning for the interior.
Choosing an oven with a self-clean mode can add an extra $100 or more to the price of the appliance. You can expect to pay $5 to $7 for oven cleaner.
Q. Can I use oven cleaner to get rid of stains on my counters?
A. We don’t recommend it. The chemicals in oven cleaner are quite harsh and could damage your countertops. Some oven cleaners are suitable for cleaning stove tops and cookware, but always check labels before using one of these cleaners on any surface other than your oven’s interior.
Q. I heard somewhere that I can use a solution of vinegar and baking soda to clean my oven. Is this true?
A. Mixing vinegar and baking soda can help eat away at stains inside your oven, but it isn’t a very powerful solution. It’s likely you’ll need to reapply it multiple times to see any results. It’s a good choice for small cleanups, though.
Q. There’s grease in between the glass panels on my oven door. What do I do!?
A. We understand that it’s unsightly, but it's a bit of a tricky situation. Some oven doors can be opened with a few tools so you can get at the glass and clean it with oven cleaner like the rest of your appliance. But be careful not to apply the oven cleaner to any rubber seals around the oven’s door. If you’re unable to open up the door to clean the glass, you might have to get used to the grease stain. Hang a cute kitchen towel over the door handle to mask the stain.
Q. Can I use oven cleaner on my outdoor grill?
A. Yes! Some formulas are specifically designed to be used on outdoor grills in addition to ovens. Check the label to make sure your oven cleaner is safe for the grill, too.
Q. How often should I clean my oven?
A. It depends on how often you use it. A few times per year should be enough for most home cooks who use their ovens fairly regularly. A quick peek inside will give you a good indication of whether it’s time to clean it. An oven that emits smoke or has a distinct odor is probably due for a cleaning.
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