Introduction: Cleaning Your Oven Without Poisonous, Earth Destroying Chemicals

Picture of Cleaning Your Oven Without Poisonous, Earth Destroying Chemicals
A few steps on how to quickly get rid of the grime and debris that make your kitchen smell horrible every time you turn on your oven. 

Things You Will Need
  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar 
  • A bowl or a squirt bottle (Preferably a squirt bottle)
  • A dirty oven
  • A spatula

Step 1:

Picture of

First things first
Remove the racks. Using a spatula, scrape up as much of the debris as you can, and throw it away. Most of the big stuff should come up pretty easy. Tip: move the trash can closer to the oven....


Using about a cup of baking soda, more or less depending on the size of your oven, sprinkle it all over the floor of your oven. 


This is where a squirt bottle comes in handy. Spray vinegar all over the baking soda. Use your fingers or a rubber spatula to spread the baking soda around so that it comes into contact with the vinegar and every dirty part of your oven floor. Let sit for 10-20 minutes. 

(alternative: Mix vinegar and baking soda in a bowl to form a paste, and then spread that over your oven floor. Make sure to pour the vinegar slowly because it fizzes up pretty high.)

Step 2: Scrub a Dub Dub

Picture of Scrub a Dub Dub

Get a scrubbing pad (I used one of those metal curly wiry ones...) and scrub in a CIRCULAR motion, rather than back and forth -- this will make your job go by so much more quickly. Grime should come off pretty easily...  

When you can slide the pad gently all over the oven floor and no longer feel any rough patches, you are ready to clean up the excess baking soda/vinegar mixture.

Use a damp sponge and get it all out of there! 

You will have to keep rinsing off the sponge... 

Step 3: Before and After

Picture of Before and After


PatriciaS179 (author)2017-05-12

On most electric ranges you can actually take the oven door OFF. That makes the job much easier, no matter how you choose to clean the oven.

jamie7963 (author)2016-04-27

Hi I don't mean to spoil this for you, but if you buy a silicone rubber matt, you can leave it in your oven at the bottom and it will collect all the grease dripping down from your food and all you need to do to clean it is wipe it off.

jamie7963 (author)jamie79632016-04-27

It's non flammable and will last forever

PattyP17 (author)jamie79632016-09-17

Well, as long as it is not heated above 500 degrees. Some people have ruined their ovens by someone in the household starting the cleaning cycle. I did a lot of research about 1.5 years ago on this and there are some types of newer ovens one cannot use silicone mats in, even if you aren't going to muse the cleaning cycle. Best to read owner's manual.

Lifaeen (author)PattyP172017-04-29

I never heard about an oven with a cleaning cycle...
How does it work?

PattyP17 (author)Lifaeen2017-04-30

Many oven models, for over 40 years, have had a cleaning cycle. Basically, you engage locks so no one can open and pick the length of cycle for how dirty the oven is, two, four, or six hours. The idea is that the oven comes on at 500 degrees or more and the burnt-on stuff is supposed to be burned to ash. It uses a lot of electricity, and in my experience only ends up damaging the metal insides over time. Overall, putting a mat in the bottom and cleaning like you illustrate are the best ways overall.

PattyP17 (author)jamie79632016-09-17

There are a few types of ovens now that silicone mats will ruin. I fdid a lot of research and read a lot of Amazon reviews ... but my brain leaks and I don't remember it all. I do remember that normal ovens with the usual electric elements are usually okay for silicone mats, as loong as the oven ois not but above a certain temp (450?).

whisperonthewind (author)2017-02-04

Interestingly, I use vinegar and baking soda followed by hot water to clean out and deodorize my sink drains but never thought about it as an oven cleaner! Wow, the things we learn from the younger generations...

aactech (author)2016-09-17

I noticed no sign of scratching fropm the blade. The original shinny gloss was still on the finish.

Raksab (author)2012-02-14

There is a way that is even easier than this! A lot of ovens have a "self-clean" setting, and the ones that don't, just turn them up as hot as they will go (500 degrees Fahrenheit or higher) and leave it on for a couple hours. All the gunk in the oven will burn to ash. Then you just have to turn it off, let it cool, and wipe away the ashes with a damp cloth.

PattyP17 (author)Raksab2016-09-17

The problem with turning your oveen on that high for a long time is that it shortens the life oif the oven, whether using the regular highest setting or the cleaning cycle.

ejarrell (author)Raksab2012-08-07

I'll have to try that!

joan.lolley (author)2014-08-09

How do you clean the baked on grease splatters from the glass inside the oven? I've tried everything, including a straight blade scraper with no results. Please help!

PattyP17 (author)joan.lolley2016-09-17

Spray with an ammonia product and let sit. Maybe add some Dawn blue dishwashing liquid. Use a green nylon scrubbie and most or all of it comes off. Rinse and repeat if necessary. Additionally, most oven doors lift right off and may be cleaned more easily if laid over the dining table or a work bench. Get help lifting it unless you are very strong. They can be quite heavy.

deb.browne.37 (author)2014-12-06

I was helping my daughter clean her apt. for her exit inspection, when I realized the oven was a mess. We had used up all the baking soda in the bathrooms so I used a old trick I learned in home-ec for cleaning burnt on pans. Cream of tartar! mixed to a watery paste and applied to to the oven then turn on 350 for about 30 mins and the crusty residue wiped right up.

PattyP17 (author)deb.browne.372016-09-17

Thanks! I'm going to do that!

Yeah i tryed that i guess my oven never got cleaned by the previous owners so its really caked on what should i do!

marybutler2004 (author)2011-05-29


Who the heck is inspecting your oven? you poor thing!

lol I actually had an inspection with the rental people in the apartment complex where I live in WV and I actually forgot to clean my oven. I'm being re-inspected because I didn't clean it. I will least this won't take my oxygen away while I'm trying to clean it.

I don't think that is legal in Ontario. Damage deposits are not allowed either. In lots of ways landlords have no rights, which seems a little one sided. How often is your apt. inspected? What happens if you fail and do not comply with their demands?

well...we have annual inspections by the manager as per the owner's rules. Those of us on HUD assistance also get inspected annually to renew the house/apt and see if it still complies...this can be the renter doing something wrong as well as the owner of the complex. I had my annual inspection from the managers that run the development for the owners and I failed because I forgot to clean the oven (I hate the chemical icky part...I have asthma...hard to breathe and scrub with that stuff)....I honestly forgot...I think It was my subconcsious trying to avoid the whole issue. they gave me three weeks to fix the issue. If it isn't done I would get weekly inspections until I comply. If I never comply....well, oops., I'm evicted. I have to say that I have OCD and I can make myself sick cleaning but I have to admit they do keep me on my toes. My place is respectable. I'm dead after all the 'hoop-la-rah' but I suppose its better than filth which I also despise. So everyone gets what they want.... I guess. :-}

I also have asthma, and I know exactly what you are talking about when you mention the fumes. OCD must be so exhausting for you. I'm truly sorry {{{}}} I know I'll get a lot of flack re this suggestion,because of reflection of heat increasing temp etc., but what about lining the bottom rack with aluminum foil?

Well...I tried to use the alluminum foil trick on my oven and the Landlord said I wasn't allowed to do that and made me take it out.....said it was a fire hazard. I just can't win with these guys.

PaganRaven (author)Deedee11212014-07-17

I know this is an old post but hopefully you still check out Instructables.

Here's a link for an oven liner that is NOT a fire hazard, so your Landlord can not make you take it out.

It was made just FOR this use!

PattyP17 (author)PaganRaven2016-09-17

Wow. The link to the oven liner still works, two years later. I need one too. This kind works better for me than one not impregnated with fiberglass. Though it is harder to get stain-free, it is easy to clean. I prefer it overt the cheaper plain black silicone ones. I prderted one of these on Aamazon and they sent the cheap black flimsy ones. I compalined top aamazon and got my $ back.

GrannieannieF (author)PaganRaven2015-04-16

Thanks for that link. I signed up to get their emails, and found a 3 pack of good quality liners on amazon to buy (free shipping). I tried this method in the bathroom some months ago, so looking forward to trying it in the oven.

Watkins is a company that has a great degreaser. You can even use it to wash pots and pans. I stumbled on it at a garage sale and love the way it works. It has cleaned things I didn't think could be saved.

lol A friend of mine suggested that. My feeble mind didn't pick up on that by myself. I thank God for the Instructables info and the feedback...I need the help. lol

Instructables is totally cool. We get to cyberly meet such creative and kind people. My life is really enriched by the group of people that hang out here! :0)

Here in Denver, CO the landlords and property owners have all the rights and the tenants have very little at all. Most times in a larger apt. complex you never see your deposits returned at all. Im reading this post and some others to try to work on some problem areas to try to keep them from charging me above my deposit. yeah, they could even charge more than they already have for a deposit. We have done no damage to this apt. either and that's what sucks because I will leave it cleaner than I found it.

if you visit the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board website for the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act it does say: A landlord may enter a rental unit to inspect for maintenance problems, make repairs, do work or replace something, and then goes on to give details as to how this must be done (ie written 24hr notice, why they wish to enter, the date, and the time between 8am-8pm). on a side note, Co-ops aren't governed by the this Act but by their own by-laws.

I didn't see your post until now. Thanks so much for the info :0) Do you think a landlord could check for general cleanliness? I just purchased a duplex, and the tennants have some questionable habbits that concern me.

why bother telling them you're only there to inspect cleanliness? just tell them you're there for an 'inspection', don't give details. as far as whether or not you are allowed to tell them that they aren't keeping the place clean enough, i don't know about that. are we talking bugs? hoarding becomes a fire safety issue, that's for sure. take a read around the LTB website: i did find the following on the site: [I]A tenant must keep their rental unit clean, up to the standard that most people would consider ordinary or normal cleanliness.[/I]

This is totally normal and legal pretty much everywhere in the US, including West Virginia where the previous poster is from, Kansas where I grew up, and North Carolina where I am now.
And generally, though this varies by how the rental agreement is set up and local laws, a failed inspection loses you your deposit or gets you kicked out.

I'd hate to own rental property in Canada. Sounds like a renter can pretty much just use it as a party house and destroy the place without being responsible for it at all.

at least in Vancouver -you're right - I'm a renter but I clean professionally and I've seen some horrendous apartments after the tenants have left, booted out or done a bunk without notice, etc. The landlords here say it's all part of doing business- personally I'd check out their refs before they'd get into any of my property.
Recently, a landlord I worked for had to call in a specialty hazmat cleaning team, protective gear & breathing apparatus, etc because the place was that bad and the tenants had only been there a few months!

When you rent they can come in and want to inspect you any time they choose. Usually once a year but depends on the people.

PattyP17 (author)marybutler20042016-09-17

Got it. I need to clean mine too and hate to have to.

Please use upper & lower case when typing. Upper case = yelling loudly. People hear a person yelling at them in their head when they read upper case. Seriously. I know it takes moire effort. I used to do it too until my secretary made me stop!

ivygeek (author)2016-07-05

I clicked on this Instructible with high hopes that it would not be that ubiquitous internet fairly tale about cleaning your oven with baking soda & vinegar. But, alas; here it is again. Let me be plain: THIS DOES NOT WORK. I've tried it many, many times & it removes the kind of light grime you can wipe up with any household cleaner, but does not make a dent in the baked on, crusty stuff. And while we're at it, the other internet cleaning fairy tale about leaving a bowl of ammonia in the oven overnight and just wiping all the crud off in the AM....that doesn't work either. I really wish someone could come up with a less toxic cleaner than EasyOff, but for now, that's the only thing I've found to work.

aactech (author)ivygeek2016-07-07

I've successfully used a razor blade. You know the one sided ones. Perfectly clean.

Takes elbow grease!

PattyP17 (author)aactech2016-09-17

It should work pretty well, but I would be hesitant to use it unless there was no other method that worked. The blade can cause scratches, even when held at the proper angle, that will be harder to get clean in the future.

krutais001 (author)ivygeek2016-07-05

Try leaving a bowl of water inside the oven. Turn it on. Leave it till the water vaporizes. This will soften the crust. Then use baking soda & vinegar or other combination.

PattyP17 (author)2016-09-17

Thanks for reminding me my over REALLY needs cleaning. No, not joking. :D It smokes every time we turn it on.

To make cleaning your over even easier - the door readily comes off. For most ovens, you open slightly, then lift it straight up and it slides right off the hinges. The person doing it must have the muscle power to lift the heavy door though! Consult your owner's manual for directions. Once it's off, it allows short people to easily reach all the way in the back.

If you research online, you will find that your oven will last far longer if you use this gunk removal method instead of using any "self cleaning" cycle.

Once the oven is clean, buy a silicone mat to protect the bottom of the oven. I prefer the fabric-looking fiberglass ones covered in silicone. Of course, my oven is dirty right now because I never put one in when I bought the new range, sigh! Be sure everyone knows this is in the oven and never to exceed it's temp limit. If someone does turn on the "clean" cycle, the oven will be ruined. Read your owner's manual to see if it says never to use a liner.

MaryM270 (author)2016-08-01

The vinegar and baking soda didn't work for me on a burned on blob on my oven floor. A bowl of ammonia just sitting in the oven won't work either. Here is what did: I put a sponge in ammonia, placed the sponge on the burned spot, put a bowl upside down over the sponge (to keep the ammonia on the stain), and simply wiped away the stain the next morning. This stuff was burned on cherry pie filling when my pie overflowed. And I didn't want to run the self-clean for one spot.

DerA2 made it! (author)2016-05-21

This is a great post. I find natural cleaner amazing, especially that it is safe and not dangerous to health. Check for cleaning tips.

LilyH2 (author)2015-04-02

As I was working on figuring out the best way to clean my oven without using those toxic fumed oven cleaners, I asked on my facebook page when the last time you all had cleaned your oven was. I was definitely glad to see that I'm not the only one who puts off this chore for long periods of time!

One of my issues was that I didn’t know of a good way to clean my oven
without using toxic oven cleaner. My oven does have a self-clean
function, but I’ve never used one of those before and I feel like it’s
wasteful because it just leaves your oven on for a really long time,

So, after my research I found that baking soda is the best oven cleaner and I want to assure all the readers that your way of green cleaning the oven is not only environment friendly but also very effective.And I'm a professional cleaner if that makes my opinion heavier :D

Here’s one tip for when stuff overflows into the bottom of your
oven, you can pour salt on it to stop it from burning and smoking.
I would recommend not using too much salt though, because you will have
to wipe it out of there at some point. But, I did feel like the salt
down there actually helped to scrub the burnt on stuff off.

Best regards!

our site:

BetsyFartBlossom (author)2015-03-22

O.k., one more thing:) The bottom of the oven comes out. Those screws usually don't hold the bottom down, the ends fit into little holes and the bottom lifts right out. Makes things so much easier. Try it! Heck, even if it is screwed down, remove the screws and lift it out, but I don't think you'll have to do that.

BetsyFartBlossom (author)2015-03-22

Oh, I forgot to add - no fumes! Just the smell of the vinegar. Non-toxic, too, you can spread it around with your fingers. And, if you live in an apartment or something that gets inspected, using one of those cleaning 'erasers' is so easy! They're the best for cleaning nearly everything. Even good for cleaning your headlights:) The only thing I can't get rid of is that yellowing in my microwave:(

BetsyFartBlossom (author)2015-03-22

Being the lazy person I am, and a sloppy cooker, I have baked on spills a lot. And, I'm not all into scrubbing stuff either. What I do is to make a paste out of vinegar and cream of tartar. The cooking powder stuff, not what you put on fish:) Just make the paste, wipe it on the spill (like you say, scrap off what you can) and let it sit for a couple of minutes and just wipe it off with a paper towel. No scrubbing, or just a bit. Before you wipe it off, check to see if the spill comes up. If not, and the paste is dry, add a couple of drops of vinegar to make it a paste again and let it sit a few more minutes. This is also useful on those cast iron frying pans that get the gunk all over them. They have to sit a bit longer. I use this on everything. However, I will keep your way on hand as a back up. It seems to be really good. Thanks for posting.

Moirraines (author)2015-03-11

Sorry, but if you actually look at the picture, the oven is far from "clean".

It's CLEANER, but it's certainly NOT clean.

First thing I noticed in every single "instruct" about this subject is that NONE of you use smart baking practices like using a cover for the bottom of your oven, NEVER having to clean THAT part.

I love the "idea" of a clean, chemical free oven, but I will not have one that isn't really clean, a mask stops most good (read that again, GOOD, BETTER) oven cleaners that are safer and low odors.

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