I need to clean my kitchen's oven really well. It is electric, has a "grill" element on top, and a fan behind a grating which, apparently, cannot be removed. I tried with the spray products for ovens but I cannot reach every part of it, and I always have the sensation that I'm not cleaning, I'm just detaching oil but even after removing it with paper and cleaning more with alcohol, the oven stays oily anyway.

Do you have any hint on how to clean it as close as brand new, and what are the precautions to keep (if any) in order not to ruin the grill element ?

  • 1
    Is this home improvement related?
    – Vitalik
    Aug 9, 2010 at 23:35

5 Answers 5

  1. Don't use alcohol to clean an oven.

  2. If your oven has a "self cleaning" mode, try that. It basically puts the oven on full blast (2-3x the normal baking temperature) and "burns" all of the crud out. Sometimes there will be some charred stuff behind that you have to wipe out after it is done (see #3). Because of the extreme temperatures involved, there is usually a safety latch on the oven door to lock out the self cleaning mode.

  3. Use oven cleaning spray. Easy-Off is the most popular example of this. You spray it on, wait a few hours, and then wipe it out with a damp sponge (follow the instructions). All of the crud in your oven will turn into a brown sludge that just wipes away. Be warned, oven cleaners are extremely caustic. Use rubber gloves, and don't rub your eyes while you are working. The fumes are nasty too. They have newer low-odor ones, but they can still make you gag.

Option #3 will make your oven look shiny and clean. However, it takes a lot of manual labor to get it looking good. Might take more than one cleaning session.

  • If the oven is half decent and not too old, it likely does have self-cleaning mode. If it does -- use it. All the organic stuff literally burns away. Note: since this does involve burning, the process can cause lots of smoke which can trip fire alarms. Make sure that the area is well ventilated.
    – user76
    Aug 3, 2010 at 3:04
  • Out of curiosity - which is more environmentally friendly? A self cleaning oven requires more energy, but cleaning spray may contain many unpleasant chemicals - any thoughts on this?
    – teabot
    Aug 5, 2010 at 7:00

Easy Off is a great product for cleaning the oven - but if you're sensitive to chemicals I'd use a respirator and gloves. (That's what I do)

  • Easy Off uses a caustic chemical to clean the oven. It works brilliantly, but I used it two weeks ago and even after following all the saftety instructions got a nasty chemical burn on my neck. I think it was worth it though, given the amount of time and effort it saved. Aug 2, 2010 at 3:19
  • How did you burn your neck? Did it drip on you while you were scrubbing? Aug 2, 2010 at 21:17
  • @msemack, I'm honestly not sure. I can only assume I got some on my gloves and then touched my neck. Although yeah it might have dripped, because I had to shove my head right inside the oven to get to some spaces, and the directions tell you to do the sides and roof first! Aug 3, 2010 at 6:12

Alcohol isn't the best solvent for grease. You're better off using dish soap in water.

A toothbrush is handy for cleaning hard to reach crevices and grates.

I'm surprised the grate doesn't come off. Look for clips along the edge (feel with a shim), and gently try to pry it off from the edge: many are just a friction fit. You can try calling an appliance parts store with your brand and model: they'll have a manual so can tell you how to get the grate off.

  • You might also be able to pull up a manual for the oven by searching online (unless it is really old). Aug 2, 2010 at 21:22

Have you checked whether it has a self-cleaning mode? It can help burn off spots that you're not able to scrub off.


To remove grease, I use vinegar. I keep a spray bottle of it handy. Many people dilute 50/50 with water, but I don't.

To remove burnt-on food, I use baking soda and water. It has to be really black, not brown. The baking soda reacts with the black stuff and flakes it off.

To spot-clean, I mix a paste and keep it moist for a day.

If the whole oven is dirty, I mix a few tablespoons of baking soda in a spray bottle of water. A couple times each day, in a clean oven, I spray it on all surfaces lightly. Not enough to bead up and drip, but just enough to keep everything moist and get baking soda everywhere.

Then when I'm ready, I spray with vinegar and wipe. It reacts with the baking soda and breaks things up. It also cuts the grease.

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