How to Clean the Oven Without Oven Cleaner?

Oven cleaning is something that we keep putting off. We wait until it gets greasy and dirty and then decide to do something about it on an immediate basis.  

And then comes the perplexing situation- how to get rid of dirt, smudge, and grease?

So here is the deal. With simple products usually found at home or in the supermarket, you can clean the oven without the oven cleaner. All you need to follow are some simple hacks. 

It saves you from shelling out excess cash and is a healthier choice for your family and the environment.

Natural edible products go a long way to prevent chemical ingestion.

You will have a brand new shine and sparkle that you can cherish and feel happy about.

How to Clean the Oven Without Oven Cleaner

Let me take you through the simple techniques that can change the look of your oven.

Go through them and pick your choice. I highly recommend trying all the techniques at least once. 

Using Baking Soda and Vinegar

This technique ensures minimum hands-on time and that is something that attracted me from the start.

No one wants to spend a lot of time cleaning an oven

You get to clean without using harsh chemicals and other abrasives. 

Follow the steps below

  1. Take your kitchen essential baking soda and add little water to make a thick paste. The consistency can be something like frost if you like baking cakes.  Go for a 3:1 ratio of baking soda: water. 
  2. Remove the racks and smudge the body of the oven with the paste throughout. You can use gloves or even bare hands to coat all the areas inside the oven.  
  3. Leave the oven like this for an hour or overnight. Try for an hour and if that doesn’t work, leave the coating overnight or for 12 hours). 
  4. Dip the removable racks in hot/lukewarm soapy detergent water for few hours. A bathtub or a large sink is ideal as you can comfortably dip and leave the racks submerged.
  5. Take a spray bottle and fill it up with vinegar. Spray it nicely onto the baking soda before scrubbing with a scrubbing pad. 
  6. You can also leave the vinegar solution on the baking soda for an hour or so. If you have less time you can fill a bowl with water and keep it inside the oven at 100F for 45 minutes or so after coating the oven with baking soda and vinegar mixture.
  7. The glass surface of the oven may need additional application of detergent solution for a brand new clean look. Dry the glass surface with a clean microfibre cloth.
  8. Scrub the racks with a brush or scrubber and you will find that wiping out all the dirt is quite easy with no muscle involvement at all.
  9. Wipe away all the muck with a damp cloth.

I would urge you to try this technique if you have bad smells emitting out from the oven. Baking soda neutralizes the acid

Using Lemon

This is a very simple technique with only one ingredient- lemons

  1. Take any small or medium-sized baking dish and fill it one-third with water. 
  2. Take two to three lemons/oranges or any citrus fruit and squeeze out their juice into the baking dish. 
  3. Place the three lemons on the dish and keep the dish inside the oven. Fine-tune the temperature to 121.1C or 250F.
  4.  Keep the oven switched on for an hour or longer depending on the amount of smudge/grease/ dirt build-up. 
  5. Remove the lemon and wait for the oven to cool down. 
  6. Take a scouring pad to easily scrub away all the dirt. Pour the lemon water over tough grease spots before scouring the grub away.
  7. Fill a spray bottle with some water to wash it all away.

 Here is a little tip: if the stain is adamant, try spraying a water detergent solution on it before scrubbing.

The lemon method is especially helpful for loosening up grease and grime.

You can also use a spray bottle filled with water+ any detergent solution to knock some powerful punches with minimum muscle exertion. 

Using Salt and Vinegar 

This technique is super easy and I would recommend trying it for fresh and light spills and residues after baking etc. 

  1. Sprinkle a good amount of salt while your oven is still warm. The warmth helps the salt in further opening up and sticking on the grime.
  2. If you haven’t used your oven in a while, just turn on the oven to 150 F for about two minutes or so.
  3. Spread the salt evenly. You do not need to cover the entire floor surface. Aim for a scattered thin layer all across the floor.
  4. Take a spray bottle filled with white vinegar and spray it on the salt and in all corners of the oven. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and has anti-bacterial properties. 
  5. The trick is to use a scrub or sponge to remove the spills while the oven is still warm.  
  6. Use a damp cloth to remove all the build-up and muck and follow that with a good towel swipe. Allow the oven to dry out.

Using Dishwashing Liquid, Lemon, and Baking Soda

One of the best solutions for cleaning steel surfaces is dishwashing liquid. Any regular dishwashing liquid will work. 

A dishwashing liquid contains sulfonic acid that helps in the easy removal of stains. 

Make a fine paste of dishwasher liquid, lemon juice, and baking soda and spread it generously inside the oven. Let the paste sit for a few hours. Next, turn on the oven to 250F for five minutes. 

Use a scraper or scrub to remove all the muck and grime. Fill a spray bottle with warm water and use it to wash off. Give a final touch with a damp cloth followed by a dry wipe. Let the surface dry out before the next use.

Using Vinegar

In case the oven is not too dirty and all you need is to just freshen it up, take two glasses of lukewarm water and one glass of vinegar in a tray and place it inside the oven. 

Set the temperature to 200F for half an hour or one hour.  Wipe the oven down with a damp cloth followed by a dry wipe. Keep the oven open to allow the vinegar to escape.

Using Soft Drink

I have not personally tried this but many swear by the coca-cola technique for the grills and trays.

Remove the trays and let them soak for half an hour in coca-cola. Wipe the grime away with a damp cloth and let the trays dry up before placing them back in the oven.

Also read: Can Self-Cleaning Oven Kill You?

How Often Should the Oven be Cleaned?

Cleaning the oven is the last chore that is usually not on the priority list for anyone. Not unless unpleasant smells start finding their way into every dish you bake. 

In my opinion, have a good look after you use the oven.

If your eyes find the interiors dirty or something spilled, try to clean once the oven cools down. If not that day, perhaps the same week.

I would advise against procrastinating or delaying especially if you have kids, elderly or sick folks at home.

The gunk, crust, and grease become unhealthy over time and are a breeding ground for microbes. These microbes find their way into our stomachs.

Clean the oven in proportionate to the frequency of usage. Look out for the warning signs- spills and unpleasant smells.

Some Tips on Keeping the Oven Clean 

  • Keep an additional plate underneath food that is bound to drip. A slightly larger bowl is also good enough as food will expand on it rather than overflow and spill.
  • Don’t keep the splatter and gunk deposit waiting for long. Clean it as soon as you can. 
  • Keep altering your cooking appliances so your oven gets some time off and that indirectly gives you a less dirty oven.
  • If you clean the spills right after baking, it will save you a lot of muscle power, headaches, and guilty trips.
  • Cover the food you are about to cook in the oven to avoid spills
  • A baking sheet at the bottom of the oven goes a long way to keep the oven clean for a long time.


Try out all the methods above to see what suits you best. My personal favorite would be baking soda and vinegar. 

What you choose should also depend on how dirty your oven is.  For loosening grime and grease, lemon with dishwasher solution works well.

For tough build-ups on the glass surfaces, a non-metallic scourer along with dishwashing liquid, baking soda, and lemon help to scrape out the grime.

Plain old vinegar is an excellent choice to freshen up your oven. For mild to moderate grime, the salt and vinegar combination does the trick.

In case the oven is still warm, you should use gloves and mitts while cleaning it. Wipe down the oven with a towel or tissue paper. Let the oven and racks completely dry out. 

A vacuum cleaner works quite well to suck dust from the backside of an oven. Enjoy a healthy and bacteria-free zone for your next meal.

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I’m Jueria and I am a regular contributor on In my articles, I share time-saving techniques, appliance wizardry, and health-friendly recipes to bring taste and wellness to your table. So raise a glass (or a spatula) with me, to good health and good food, made easy!