The Kitchn’s Spring Refresh Day 5: Handle the Hot Mess & Clean Your Oven

(Image credit: Sarah Coffey)

This is one of those days when things are gonna get messy. But that’s life, right? Whenever you’re truly transforming, you’ve got to slog through some tough stuff to be able to move forward. The good news? Most of the work happens while you’re away — plus, you’ll get a mini workout, so you can reward yourself with your treat of choice.

Today’s assignment involves waking up a little early and doing some prep work. In the morning, you’ll coat your oven in a baking soda paste, then you’ll leave it (with the oven off, of course) and let it sit. At the end of the day, you’ll clean up the residue and wipe down your oven, racks, and stovetop. Take heart in knowing that strength almost never comes without a little struggle.

1. Coat the oven with baking soda and let it sit.

First thing in the morning, make a baking soda scrub with 1/2 cup of baking soda and a couple tablespoons of water. Remove your oven racks, and coat the inside of your oven with the paste.

Bonus tip: To make the scrub stick, you can spray the surface with water first, coat in baking soda, then spray again to help it set.

2. Scrape, spray, and wipe.

When you come home from work, fill a bucket with hot water and wipe out the inside of the oven with a rag. For hard-to-reach or particularly stubborn areas of caked-on residue, a plastic or silicone spatula may come in handy.

Spray white vinegar onto any residual baking soda spots to make them fizz, then wipe down with a rag to help clear them.

3. Clean your oven racks & stovetop.

Clean your oven racks and put them back. If you have a gas stovetop, use this post for step-by-step cleaning tips. If you have an electric stovetop, refer to this post for a how-to tutorial.

4. Wrap it up and reward yourself.

Replace your burners, give everything one last wipe-down with hot water and (if you want) a little soap, and marvel at your sparkly new oven! Give yourself some kind of reward: coffee, tea, a half-hour to do nothing, or maybe even a piece of pie. You’ve earned it.