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One of the most despised chores has to be cleaning the oven. It’s super-easy to ignore – simply close the door – but it has a terrible roll-on effect. Months can go by before the full horror of the situation is fully realised – and by then you’re faced with layers of hard-baked grease & grime.

It’s very tempting to reach for one of those all-in-one oven cleaners that you leave in overnight, but the warnings about chemical fumes can be off-putting. There’s a more natural way to get the job done. Just follow our guide and in ten minutes (plus over night) you’ll have a sparkling appliance once more, ready for action.

I have a completely safe, natural, and effective method to get the job done — no harsh chemicals and no high-heat auto-cleaning with smoke detector funny business. It takes a little time and some elbow grease, but the payoff is well worth it. Plus, you most likely have everything you need to take on this project already in your cupboards.

What You Need

Baking soda
Water
Rubber gloves
Damp dish cloth
Plastic spatula
Spray bottle
White vinegar

Empty the oven: Remove your oven racks, pizza stone, oven thermometer, and anything else you have inside the oven. Set aside.
Make a baking soda paste: In a small bowl, mix a 1/2 cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water. Adjust the ratio of both as needed until you have a spreadable paste. For me this took about 3 tablespoons of water to get the desired spreadable consistency.

Coat your oven: Spread the paste all over the interior surfaces of your oven, steering clear of the heating elements. I used gloves for this portion, as my oven was pretty grimy. It helped me really get in there and coat the dirtiest nooks and crannies without having to worry about all that grime under my nails. The baking soda will turn a brownish color as you rub it in; it also might be chunkier in some places than others, which is fine. Just try to coat the whole oven to the best of your abilities, paying extra attention to any particularly greasy areas.

Leave it overnight: Allow the baking soda mixture to rest for at least 12 hours, or overnight.

Clean your oven racks: Meanwhile, clean your oven racks.

Wipe out the oven: After 12 hours or overnight, take a damp dish cloth and wipe out as much of the dried baking soda paste as you can. Use a plastic or silicone spatula to help scrape off the paste as needed. I found that the damp cloth was enough for me, but a spatula might come in handy in those hard-to-reach places.

Spray a little vinegar: Put a little vinegar in a spray bottle and spray everywhere you still see baking soda residue in your oven. The vinegar will react with the baking soda and gently foam.

Do a final wipe-down: Take your damp cloth and wipe out the remaining foamy vinegar-baking soda mixture. Repeat until all the baking soda residue is gone. Add more water or vinegar as needed while wiping to really get the oven clean and shiny.
Replace your oven racks: Replace the oven racks and anything else you keep in your oven, and you’re done!

How often should I clean my oven?
The answer depends on how much you use it. The more frequently you use it, the more splatters and residue will accrue. If you use it often, aim to give your oven a deep clean once every three months. If you use it less regularly, every six months or every year works just fine.

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If you ever notice any significant residue lurking in the oven or you’ve spilled something accidentally, make sure to wipe it out once your oven is cooled so it doesn’t keep baking (and undoubtedly smoking every time you turn on the oven). In fact, giving your oven a light wipe-down once a month is a good rule of thumb to keep grime from building up.