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How to Safely Clean Your Oven

Posted a few years ago by John Morrison - No Comments

Does your oven smell horrible every time you preheat it to start cooking something? Does your house get incredibly smoky as well?  You may just need to invest an afternoon to cleaning your oven.  Most new ovens nowadays offer features that allow for “Self-Cleaning” but some may have heard horror stories about this feature causing fires.

So should you attempt to use the self-cleaning option on your oven?  It should be safe, because a manufacturer wouldn’t add a feature that could cause your house to burn down.  But it’s important to make sure you follow any directions you can that are provided when you purchased your oven.  You should also, always have a backup plan in place, in case things get dangerous while you are using the feature.  I recommend having an easy way to unplug your oven, if it seems it’s getting dangerous and there’s a risk of fire outside the oven.

There are things to keep in mind when starting a job like this, and they include the following.

  1. Once you start the self-cleaning option on your stove, never open the oven.  Most will even lock the oven to prevent you from opening it.  Often times the oven will be void of oxygen, and that in itself will prevent fires. If you open the oven, oxygen will become present and the flames could jump out at you.  This is probably where most of the horror stories come from those that have opened their ovens during the process of running the self-cleaner.
  2. It’s going to get smoky in your house.  The self-cleaner, works by burning off everything in your oven.  Open your windows, and blow the smoke with a fan out the door.  If you’ve left lots of grease in your oven, it may be wise to clean your oven using another method (which I’ll mention later in this article).
  3. Disconnect your Smoke Alarms to avoid them going off unnecessarily.
  4. Keep an eye on the stove constantly, but as we said before, do not attempt to open it.
  5. Be prepared to unplug the stove if something doesn’t feel right.  Or you could also use your fuse box to turn off power to your stove.  By cutting power to your stove, it will lose its ability to heat the oven.

If you feel that your oven is very dirty and may cause an issue, as we mentioned before, it may make better sense to clean your oven by hand.

Cleaning Your Oven Manually

So you’ve decided to manually clean your oven, because you prefer this method, or don’t want to deal with the hassle of using the automated methods that most new ovens currently use.  Or there’s that chance you are still using an oven that doesn’t have this option. Doing it yourself with manual labor is also a great option, and it’s a safe method, with no real risk of a fire.  You will need to buy an oven cleaner at your local department store or DollarGeneral.  Find one that doesn’t include too many harsh chemicals.  Whatever you use, will cause the oven to smell like that for a while after you use it.  You want to find something that is great for removing grease, because that’s the most common cause for all the smells in your oven. 


There’s actually ways you can help ensure your oven stays clean, and/or easy to clean in the future. One popular way that we see occasionally is when you place Aluminum sheets at the bottom of your oven.  This method, is great, because all your spills will catch and stay on the aluminum, and when you are ready to clean, all you need to do is collect the aluminum and trash it and replace with some new aluminum. Also if you know you will be making something that has the tendency of leaking over the sides, such as for an example, pie, you can put in two racks.  The one at the top, will be used to place your food on it.  The rack beneath that rack, will be used to place a cookie sheet or something similar that will catch your food.

Depending on the frequency that you use your oven, you should at least clean it between 6 months to a year.  You shouldn’t let it go, if it’s getting very dirty in there, because you may be more likely to cause a fire.

John Morrison - Author Biography

I have over 25 years experience in this industry. I have worked with general contracting work which includes electrical, plumbing, and kitchen/bathroom remodeling work. I hope to help others with their home improvement DIY needs.

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