How often should I clean my oven is a question I am often asked when I make service visits. 3 months? 6 months? Yearly? No one likes having an expensive repairman having to come to your home to fix an appliance, especially your beautiful and useful standard, convection or steam convection oven.
Cleaning and maintaining your oven is the key for long oven life and lessens the chance of costly repairs. It is important to clean your oven often. Having a dirty oven will not only affect the taste of the food, but also leads to improper cooking, can be a health hazard and WILL affect the function of your appliance leading to eventual breakdown.
How Often Should I Clean My Oven
There are many ways to clean your oven depending on the model that you own. Most new ovens have a self clean feature that heats your oven hotter than normal and just leaves residue for you to wipe out, I guess that is not really “self cleaning”. That is, when it works properly.
There is a door lock that closes while in self clean (temperatures upwards of 900 degrees in some cases) until the heat drops down to a normal temperature to prevent burns, just the heat that emanates from this cycle can cause burns just being near it. Once in a blue moon the lock on the oven gets stuck and you need a technician.
Another problem with self cleaning ovens is that the temperature on the elements can reach 900 – 1000 degrees F, this WILL degrade the heating elements over time and at some point those elements will need to be replaced. This almost never happens within the first year of the warranty and therefore another reason for a visit by an appliance technician.
Tip: If you use the oven self clean, make sure you remove the shelves in the oven or they could lose their shine from the massive amount of heat.
How do you clean a self-cleaning oven manually?
Let me tell you first what not to use to manually clean that oven. Do NOT use the old Easy Off or any chemical type cleaner in this type of oven, with this exception — there is an Fume Free Easy Off cleaner that works great The lining of a self cleaning oven is built a little differently to handle the high heat from self clean (a part of the reason of the higher expense) and this cleaner can ruin the coating of the oven lining.
They do make a fume free version, but this does not mean you can use this product on these ovens. However they are safe to use on standard gas and electric ovens, just stick to the fume free kind, breathing in the original version can be hazardous in the short term and a lot more dangerous with consistent use. Baking Soda and Vinegar are the most popular and a very effective way to clean these ovens, although the acidic smell of vinegar could leave a bit of smell for a while, just leave the oven door open and the fumes should disappear off the lining in a short while.
Another way to clean the oven is to put a cup of ammonia into a small plastic bowl on the top rack. Boil a few cups of water in a pan and place that on the bottom rack. Allow the water and ammonia to sit overnight with the door closed, you will get strong fumes so don’t put your face near the door, in fact I would open doors and turn on fans to get rid of the odor, but this my recommended best way to clean these ovens. In all cases wipe out the oven with warm soapy water on a terry cloth before cooking your next meal in your self-cleaning oven.
In my opinion the best way to clean any oven is to use a steamer. The same way the self-cleaning oven uses high heat to reduce the leftovers to ash for you to wipe out, the steam will loosen food particles from most smooth oven linings and then you can use a terry cloth and warm water with a little bit of soap.
This method does not have to be used after every use but will not be as effective if you leave food residue in the appliance for weeks on end. It will take a massive amount of steam and grunt work to remove the debris from your oven.
How often should I clean my steam oven?
The steam oven operates in almost the same way as a traditional oven except for one extra feature….water. Ideally, you should clean your steam oven after each use. Most Steam ovens have a water tank that you fill when you want to cook food such as steaming vegetables.
This water tank must be emptied after each use as this water may contain the minerals from the past cooking cycle. Make sure you thoroughly wash your water tank to avoid any funny taste in the food you are about to cook. Keeping your water tank clean is important for food taste, however if you are going to use your steam oven again in a few hours it is not always necessary to clean out the tank. You will definitely want to do it before you go to bed.
Most Steam ovens come with a specific sponge that is used to absorb all the water left behind in the oven. There is also a drain leading to a tank and your oven may or may not come with sponges to soak up the water in that drain.
In any case always make sure that the water in the drain is soaked up. Otherwise you could have the “fish-chicken syndrome”. Try deep frying chicken in the same batter that you just deep fried fish.
Cleaning the water is the same as cleaning out the oil. Lastly, in the steam oven you do NOT want to use vinegar for cleaning, unless you like the taste of vinegar on your next couple of servings of steam vegetables. Vinegar can be a good cleaner but the smell and taste isn’t for the faint of heart, however if you insist on using vinegar put a couple drops of lemon or something fresh smelling and non toxic with the vinegar mix.
How do I clean in between the glass of an oven door?
Spills are common in between the oven door glass sections.. Unfortunately unless you are very handy with taking apart these doors and putting them back together you may have to live with it. For those of you that are, most oven doors have a locking latch that can be pulled up by hand or a flat head screw driver and the door can be lifted up and out; never lift the door by the handle as you never know the strength of the two screws holding the door.
Some doors are heavier than others. Lay the door, outside part down on a blanket and inspect around the door for the screws, there are almost always screws on the bottom and along the sides and there are not that many of them. There are also screws holding the door hinges and generally they do not have to be removed in most cases.
Do not be surprised that there is no rubber insulation between the glass and the glass is laying on the steel of the door. Finally do NOT use Windex or glass cleaner on the glass, you do have to heat it up and those fumes won’t be pleasant if you miss a spot when wiping it off.
Just use soap and water with a terry cloth and even paper towels will be fine. Again, if this is a little overwhelming there are oven cleaning services in your local area that will do this for you.
Oven Liners are a great way to protect the bottom lining of your oven.
Getting an oven liner for the bottom floor of your oven is a fantastic item to have. They catch all food drippings and protect your bottom lining of your oven. However there can be some issues if used improperly. These liners are made of silicone and must be removed from the oven if you use the oven’s self cleaning mode.
They usually can handle the heat comfortably up to 500 degrees, anything higher and they will melt to the lining of the oven and although there are professionals who claim they can remove it safely once it is done, the cost for this is a bit high and you really do not want to be put into that situation.
Many of these liners also come with their own tray that can be placed on the floor of your oven. If not, then your best option is to move your lower rack down near the bottom and place the mat on the rack itself, sometimes the corners may of the mat may bend, just pin the corners down with some sort of baking utensil or item that can handle the heat.
In conclusion, I hope I have given you some important tips in cleaning and maintaining one of the more important appliances in your home. I also hope that you can now answer the question, “How often should I clean my Oven”