Not every home has a central air conditioning unit or a dishwasher-but almost every home comes with an oven. Unless you live in a cramped studio apartment or a student-housing complex that eliminates kitchens from its floor plans, you probably rely on your oven to cook many of your favorite meals.
Because your oven is one of your most important appliances, you want to ensure it stays in good repair for as long as possible. In our blog below, we'll tell you how to prolong your oven's life and expand its efficiency by cleaning it frequently. We'll also let you know about warning signs that indicate your oven needs a repair or replacement.
1. Choose the Self-Cleaning Setting
If you have a self-cleaning oven, cleaning your oven is one of the simplest tasks in the house. Just set your oven to its self-cleaning mode, and then reap the rewards a few hours later.
Since the oven will heat to over 800 degrees Fahrenheit during the cleaning cycle, you'll probably want to clean it on a cooler day if possible. And depending on how dirty your oven is, it could take between one and a half to three hours to complete the cleaning cycle.
2. Purchase a Cleaning Product
If your oven doesn't have a self-cleaning feature-or if it does, but you don't want to deal with the heat and time-you can opt to clean your oven by hand. This task might sound daunting, but with the right tools, it can stay simple.
When you visit your local grocery store, you'll see a variety of oven-cleaning chemicals for sale. If you like, you can choose one of these options. Bear in mind that, since they're made to cut through thick buildups of grease, oven-cleaning chemicals are fairly caustic.
If you use one of these products, wear rubber gloves, open the windows to air out your kitchen, and cover your mouth with a handkerchief or mask. Keep kids and pets out of the kitchen while you clean.
Simply follow the instructions on the cleaning solution you select.
3. Create Your Own Cleaning Solution
If you generally prefer natural cleaning products over chemical solutions, try baking soda and vinegar. First, remove your oven racks. Place mats or old towels in the tub to keep the racks from damaging the porcelain, and then fill the tub up with hot water and half a cup of dishwasher detergent. Soak the racks in the tub while you clean the rest of the oven.
Next, mix a few tablespoons of baking soda with just enough water to create a thick paste. Don your rubber gloves, and then smear the baking soda paste across your oven. Avoid the oven's heating elements-your bakingsoda-and-water solution won't necessarily damage them, but they can be difficult and annoying to remove from the coils. And don't worry if the paste turns brown and grimy; that indicates your cleaning solution is working correctly.
After you thoroughly coat the oven with the paste, close the oven and leave the paste in place, preferably overnight. After at least 12 hours have passed, start scrubbing the oven. Thanks to the baking soda, most of the thick grease stains should be easy to remove with nothing more than a damp cloth.
If a few stubborn grease buildups remain, you can always reapply the baking soda mixture and return to the project at the end of the day.
Once you rinse off all the baking soda with a damp rag, you can spray the oven with vinegar. When vinegar hits baking soda, the resulting solution fizzes, which will further help you remove remaining stains. You can then go over the oven once more with a wet cloth.
Once the oven is clean, you can replace the racks. If you've soaked the racks overnight, you should be able to remove grease or charcoal easily with a scrub brush. Rinse and dry the racks, and then re-insert them in the oven.
Oven Still Not Functional?
After a thorough cleaning, most ovens will work better than ever. Without built-up grime and grease, your food won't taste like charcoal and your oven won't incur any damage.
Sometimes, though, your oven needs more than just a good cleaning to function better. If you notice any of the following problems, get in touch with an appliance-repair technician:
- Your energy bills have skyrocketed recently even though all of your other appliances are efficient and fully functional.
- Your oven doesn't heat up at all or takes much too long to heat to the correct temperature.
- The oven door doesn't close correctly or falls open.
- When you stand near the oven, you feel excessive heat.
- The oven sparks when you turn it on.
These problems aren't just inconvenient-they can also endanger other people, especially if your door frequently falls open and you have young children in the house.
To make your oven more efficient, get the repairs you need, or upgrade to a new model, call HomeSmart at 1-866-837-9762 to schedule an appointment with a qualified service technician. In the meantime, read our other blogs to learn more about how to keep your home's appliances in tip-top shape.