15 Brilliant Oven-Cleaning Hacks You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

updated Sep 7, 2023
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A stainless steel oven inside a white kitchen with cleaning products nearby
Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

Cleaning your oven can be a hassle. This essential appliance is the workhorse of your kitchen, so it can easily accumulate rogue dinner debris, burnt-on gunk, and plenty of grease. You probably know staying on top of deep-cleaning your oven can help maintain it over the years (and prevent unwanted odors in your kitchen). But mustering the motivation to perform this cumbersome chore? Not that easy. 

Fortunately, with a bit of strategy — a.k.a. smart cleaning hacks — you can take some stress out of this annoying-but-important job. The best oven cleaning hacks are ones that make the job faster and easier — and, of course, the ones that do the job well. Below, find 15 of the best oven cleaning hacks we’ve come across (and how to make them work on your own oven):

Credit: Lucy Hewett

1. Soak dirty knobs

Rather than trying to swipe your rag around the bumps and turns of your knobs, remove them completely and soak them in a warm dish soap and water solution. Grease will dissolve with no scrubbing and just a little bit of time. Soak them for an hour or so, give them a rinse, and let them air dry.

2. Use a razor on glass stovetops

If the thought of scraping a razor on glass brings up nails-on-a-chalkboard memories, I get it. But there’s none of that, so don’t be afraid. A simple razor blade makes mincemeat of those stubborn, burnt-on food marks on your glass stovetop and eliminates endless scrubbing. (Additionally, try out our favorite glass stovetop cleaner.)

3. Give oven racks a bath

Scrubbing every inch of wire rung on an oven rack is tricky. But you can just soak them in the bathtub and sit back while most of the hard work is done for you. Just be sure to line your bathtub with towels, so the racks don’t scratch the tub. (You can also try this ingenious oven rack-cleaning trick for a deeper clean.)

4. Sprinkle some salt

Petya Hoelvich, cleaning expert and supervisor at Fantastic Services, recommends cleaning with table salt. “Sodium is an eco-cleaning ingredient because of its abrasive and absorbent properties,” she says. If you spill food in the oven, sprinkle salt on the affected area, and let it sit for a few hours. Then, use a soft cleaning cloth to remove the residue when the oven is cool.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

5. And soak your grates, too

Again, rather than scrubbing or trying to wipe down intricate shapes, let water and time do the heavy-lifting. Grates soaked in boiling water and dish soap come out almost completely clean, and a bit of scrubbing with Bon Ami or another non-abrasive scrubbing powder finishes the job. 

6. Use a vacuum cleaner to deal with crumbs

Instead of straining to reach all the way in there, use your vacuum’s hose attachment to suck up any crumbs before you do any wet cleaning.  

7. Or use a paintbrush

If you’d rather not bust out the vacuum cleaner (or you don’t have a handheld one), a paintbrush is small enough to reach in awkward corners. Use it like a broom to sweep out any crumbs.

8. Paint your oven doors pink

 The Pink Stuff, a fan-favorite all-purpose cleaning paste, comes in especially handy when it’s time to clean your glass oven door. Apply some to a rag or scrubbing pad, spread it around, and wipe away.

Credit: Diana Yen

9. Make your oven clean itself

No, do not use the self-cleaning button. I’m talking about harnessing the power of baking soda and letting it do the dirty work for you. Add water to baking soda to make a paste, apply it to the walls of your oven, and let the mixture sit overnight.

10. Use a Magic Eraser to clean the oven door

Only have a few minutes to spend cleaning? Use those precious seconds to clean your oven door with a Magic Eraser. That’s seriously all it takes. (Read our full review of the hack here.)

11. Or a dishwasher tablet

Aside from the Magic Eraser, we’ve also had great success cleaning an oven door with a dishwasher tablet. It got a little messy, but it was surprisingly fun. (If you like this hack, check out all the other kitchen items you can clean with a dishwasher tablet.)

12. Harness the power of lemon juice

James King, operations manager at DeluxeMaid, recommends this eco-friendly oven-cleaning hack: Squeeze lemon juice into a baking dish, then add ⅓ cup water. Pop the baking dish into your oven, setting it to bake at 250 degrees for about 30 minutes. Once the time’s up, let the oven cool down. Grab another lemon, cut it in half, and coat the ends with baking soda to scrub the tough spots away. “This clever trick lets out natural citric acid vapors that can work wonders on stubborn grease and stuck-on food,” he says. 

13. Hack your power drill

Bring your power drill in from your garage! That’s right — by adding some cleaning attachments to your drill, the task of scrubbing the inside of your oven becomes a whole lot easier. And even starts to feel like a game!

14. Try Bar Keepers Friend

One of our very favorite kitchen-cleaning products is the century-old Bar Keepers Friend, a multi-purpose cleaning powder. To use it on your oven, make a paste with the powder and water, apply it to the dirty area, and let it sit for up to 45 minutes. When we tested several ways of cleaning oven grates, this strategy was our winner. “This method is a bit messy (the paste will drip!), but — holy cow! — it works wonders,” writer Ashley Poskin noted. “It ended up being my favorite method because it was easy and cleaned with very minimal effort.”

15. Whip up a DIY spray

To break down grease and tackle tough stains, try mixing equal parts dish soap, distilled white vinegar, and water in a spray bottle. “Spray the mixture inside the oven and let it sit for a few hours,” says Rocky Vuong, founder and owner of Calibre Cleaning. Then, scrub away at the grime with a cloth or brush.

Do you have any other oven-cleaning hacks to add to this list? Leave them in the comments below!