Try This Easy Hack to Safely Clean Oven Grease From Hard-to-Reach Places

No nasty chemicals required -- just a couple of kitchen items from your pantry.

Mary King Associate Editor
Mary is an associate editor covering technology, culture and everything in between. She recently graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she served as an editor at The Daily Tar Heel and reported for newspapers across the state. You can usually find her decked out in UNC merch and streaming lo-fi hip-hop while she writes.
Mary King
3 min read
Pouring white vinegar into a meal-sized bowl.

Vinegar can help clean up oven surfaces

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Keeping your oven clean with just a little bit of periodic maintenance can go a long way. But since your oven door stays shut most of the time, it's all too easy to ignore the grime building up inside from the drips, spills and crumbs that get baked into the surfaces of the oven. Even if you do notice your oven needs a scrub, the task is tempting to put off: Who wants to deal with noxious cleaning chemicals or the acrid fumes when you turn on the self-cleaner setting?

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But cleaning the gunk out of your oven doesn't have to be a grueling and smelly process. 

Inspired by housekeeping advice and TikTok hacks, I tried a safe and easy cleaning method on my own oven that enabled me to use basic kitchen staples in lieu of harsh chemicals.

Here's how I got my oven clean. For more tips, here's how to make a chocolate cake in a coffee mug, how to cut a cake without a knife and how to safely pit an avocado.

Which kitchen items can you use to safely clean your oven?

Though my oven hasn't endured much use, its interior was splattered with all kinds of remnants of past bakes. I didn't want to use harsh chemicals, however, to clean the stains and grease, so I tried using three items already in my kitchen: baking soda, vinegar and lemon. The trio of DIY cleaners can help remove stains, loosen grime and gently scrub off the baked-on spills and splatters.

How to clean the inside of your oven safely

Here's what I did to clean my oven with items in my kitchen:

1. Pour 3/4 cup of baking soda and 1/4 cup of water in a bowl.

Pouring baking soda and water into meal-sized bowl.

First, I poured the baking soda in a bowl.

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2. Stir to form a paste.

3. Dip a sponge into the paste and wipe over the inside surfaces of your oven. I removed the racks to make it easier to reach everywhere.

4. Once you've coated the oven grime with the paste, grab a bowl that can handle some low heat. (Porcelain works.) Pour 1 cup of vinegar into the bowl. (Optional: You can add a bit of lemon juice for some good smells. (I have another good use for lemon juice a few steps down.)

5. Place the bowl at the bottom of the oven. Set your oven to low heat and let it sit for 1 hour.

White meal-sized bowl sitting in oven with racks removed. White paste covers the inside of the oven.

I carefully set the bowl of vinegar on the bottom of the oven.

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6. Turn off your oven and wait for it to cool. Remove the bowl. Dampen your sponge and wipe the paste away to reveal a gleaming oven.

7. To help remove stains, I wiped lemon juice over discolored areas of the oven. You don't need to juice the lemon. Cut the lemon in half and wipe one half over the stains and then wipe with a clean sponge.

Wiping paste off of the interior of the oven, revealing a clean surface.

Wiping up for a clean oven.

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Looking for more kitchen hacks? We'll show you how to clean your kitchen in under 15 minutes. As the weather heats up, here are eight smart ways to keep cool in the kitchen. Plus, check out these six essential kitchen tools to elevate your cooking for 2022.