How To Clean An Oven

7 Materials
1 Hour

I’m so embarrassed! I’m almost afraid to show you! I can’t believe I let it get this bad!

Yep, I’ve been ignoring my really dirty oven for months. Even when, every time I opened it, I would get a face full of smoke – now you know it’s bad when that happens.

Well, this week, I decided that enough was enough and it was time to tackle it.

If you like this cleaning project, please visit my blog to see more of what I write about.

I put the word out to some friends to get their best advice on how to clean your oven and I’ve compiled their tips here, along with some of my own, and my experiences to show you how I cleaned my oven without using any of those oven cleaning sprays which make you cough your lungs out.


What I’m about to show you is horrifying. 

Please look away if you are in any way squeamish.

Isn’t it disgusting – can you see all that burnt on mess at the bottom?

Now, I could say that I left it get like this so I could do an experiment on how to clean your oven, but I would be lying.

This is the what the door looked like.

OK, enough of that – let’s get on to the cleaning part.

How To Clean An Oven Quickly

It’s important to plan your oven cleaning venture – you can’t just go ahead and rush in – you need to be in the perfect mindset to clean your oven – it’s a big job.

More importantly though, doing this one thing the night before will make the dirt and grime just wipe off – I wish!

Well, almost anyway.

Actually, if your oven wasn’t as dirty as mine, this would work.

So, what do you do?

Put one cup of cloudy ammonia into the oven and shut the door. Try not to breathe this in – it’s quite nasty smelling, but very effective.

Go to bed and let it do its thing while you sleep.

LIterally, this oven is cleaning itself while you sleep!

Isn't that amazing?

‍You will be amazed how this works.

In the morning, put on your oven cleaning clothes – it’s a messy job – and get to work.

By the way, you can pour the cloudy ammonia back into the bottle to use next time.

Don’t you love that – this means that it's a one-time cost. You will just keep on using the same ammonia time and time again.

Remove All Removable Bits

First, remove the glass oven door. For my oven, this is really easy (it’s the putting it back that’s the challenge). 

Remove the oven racks. I also removed the fan cover at the back with a screwdriver.

How To Clean An Oven Rack

Fill your sink with hot soapy water and dissolve one tablespoon of dishwasher powder in the water.

Soak your racks (and in my case the fan cover as well) in this water while you clean the oven. 

Do this NOW!

Believe me, when it comes time to clean these, you will thank me for this step.

I actually refilled my sink with the hot water dishwashing powder half way through the oven cleaning process.

Wipe Out The Oven

Now that the grease and grime has softened, with a bucket of hot soapy water and wearing rubber gloves, start wiping all the surfaces. I swear you will be amazed at how much comes off, just having let it sit with the ammonia all night.

Next you need to deal with the really burnt-on bits.

I used two methods here – first I used a paint scraper to scrape off any really nasty bits (apologies for the blurry photo – hard to take photos wearing rubber gloves).

Next I used a non scratch Steelo pad to scrub any really tough bits or where I couldn't get in with the scraper.

Now, you may be thinking I spent days cleaning my oven, but I didn’t. This really didn’t take that long. The scraper removed most of the gnarly bits and I was left with not much to scrub off.

Next, take a clean bucket of water and clean cloth and give it all a good wipe out to remove any cleaning residue.

It came pretty clean. Considering how bad it was to start with, I’m happy with this. 

I’m planning on never letting it get this bad again (ha!) so I think any little bits that were left will come off next time.

Cleaning The Glass Oven Door

As I said before, I put the word out to some friends for their best tips. This suggestion for how to clean an oven glass door from Chas seemed worth a try and I was happy with the results.

I sprinkled baking soda on the door – now I know you’re thinking – not another post on how to clean an oven with baking soda – but believe me this works.

Next I mixed a 1:9 ratio of vinegar and water (1 part vinegar, 9 parts water) in a spray bottle. 

I sprayed it onto the baking soda I had sprinkled on the door.

I took a soft cloth and rubbed.

Here you can see how easily the grime was coming off.

Near the top and bottom of the door it was really baked on, so I carefully used my scraper to remove this. I was really careful not to scratch it.

Then I repeated the baking soda/vinegar on those parts.

When the door was pretty clean, I used a clean cloth and then a paper towel to remove any residue.

To make it nice and shiny I used my glass microfibre cloth to polish it.

If you want to know how to clean the outside of the glass oven door, check out my kitchen cleaning in under 15 minutes post.

Cleaning The Oven Racks

Now that your racks have been soaking, you can just wipe off the dirt. 

Honestly, it just wipes right off!

There were a few spots on mine which needed to be scrubbed and then I used my scraper again for those really tough bits, but they came really clean, really quickly.

Put Everything Back Together

Put the fan cover (in my case) back on, the racks in and the door back on.

Admire Your Work!

Take a moment here to stand back and enjoy your lovely clean oven.

Last time I cleaned an oven this dirty I used the Easy Off. I had to clean it three times to get it this clean. I’m really happy with the methods I’ve used here. It didn’t take too long (although there was a moment in the middle where I considered trading this oven in for a self-cleaning one might be a great idea).

I am really happy with the results.

So Here's The Steps:

  1. Put 1 cup of cloudy ammonia in the oven overnight.
  2. Remove the racks and door.
  3. Soak racks in hot soapy water with dishwasher powder.
  4. Wipe out the oven with a cloth to remove soft grease.
  5. Scrap and scrub the rest.
  6. Wipe out again.
  7. Clean the glass oven door.
  8. Clean the oven racks.
  9. Put it all back together.
  10. Admire.

Oh, And One More Tip Before You Go

While I was cleaning my oven, I also cleaned the range hood filters by putting them in the dishwasher. I do this every time and they come out clean every time.

I hope you've enjoyed my best tips for stress free oven cleaning. Let's face it, no-one likes doing it but if I can help make it easier, that's great. You can pin the image below to save it for when you need to clean your oven next time.

Resources for this project:
See all materials
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.More info
Living a Real Life
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 29 questions
  • Debbie Debbie on Dec 28, 2022

    What is CLOUDY ammonia ???

  • Phyllis Phyllis on Dec 28, 2022

    Does this work for both gas and electric ovens?

  • Carmen Carmen on Feb 03, 2023

    Sounds interesting, but I have Asthma and the ammonia is not good for me too breathe in or be around, do you have any other suggestions besides ammonia.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this

Join the conversation
3 of 50 comments
  • Gfsalvatore1 Gfsalvatore1 on Dec 21, 2022

    I put my oven racks in the dishwasher to be cleaned

  • Jo Jo on Dec 28, 2022

    You said put the rack in a trash bag and put outside to clean them,just wondering if it would work on my electric smoker racks for their basically same as oven racks.

    • Robin Robin on Dec 29, 2022

      Yep. It’s how I clean my charcoal grill racks.