This is the story of how I managed to learn how to clean an oven without using chemicals, and hopefully this natural oven cleaner might help someone else in a similar pinch.
Why do I love natural oven cleaner?
Well, Iâm embarrassed to admit: I havenât cleaned my oven in six years. (Yes, thatâs gross. I know.)
Call it a combination of procrastination and the stubborn refusal to use chemical cleaners in my house (I do crazy stuff like use whipped coconut oil for lotion)âand, Iâll admit, a dash of unadulterated laziness.
Not to mention I couldnât really tell someone how to clean an oven if they asked me. So I put it off. And put it off. A
nd as time went on, all that grease and grime kept building up until my oven was downright scary.
I mean, itâs not like I never tried to clean my oven. I really didâonce or twice. I saw those nifty pictures on Pinterest that claimed vinegar and baking soda could act together as a natural oven cleaner that would magically dissolve away oven grease, and thought, âWow, that looks easy!â
So there I was with a filthy oven, a bad case of procrastination, and more than a little resentment toward Pinterest. But all was not lost. Hereâs my natural oven cleaner recipe and tips.
When it came to doing the dirty work of cleaning my oven, there was one reality I didnât want to face: a little elbow grease was required.
I detest scrubbing (thatâs that dash of laziness I was talking about). Some heavy duty chemical oven cleaners claim you can clean your oven without scrubbing, but I had two problems with that:
1) These chemicals donât always work. Reviewers seem to be split on whether scrubbing was necessary.
Some people experienced that mysterious oven cleaning magic, but others definitely did not and had to resort to good old-fashioned physical labor to get their ovens clean.
2) Even if the chemicals do work, itâs not worth the risk to me. I definitely donât want to fill my kitchen with fumes and chemicals, and then stick my head in the oven so I can breathe in a concentrated dose (at least not without a good gas mask!).
And if I probably have to scrub anyway, I might as well use a truly natural oven cleaner rather than expose my family to a bunch of dangerous chemicals.
In the end, I faced the fact that I hadnât cleaned my oven in six long yearsâsome scrubbing would be unavoidable. It was my penalty for serious oven neglect.
Luckily, it wasnât as difficult as I thought.
Want to learn how to clean your oven with natural oven cleaner? In my little oven cleaning adventure, I learned a few important keys for how to clean an oven (even an insanely dirty oven) in the easiest, least complicated way possible.
Hereâs what you need:
1. The Right Prep
This is not a spray-and-wipe job. A little preparation is required, but it doesnât have to be complicated.
Basically, you want to soak the grime into submission. An overnight soaking is probably your best betâespecially if you have years of baked on grease in your oven (like me!).
But for some folks a couple of hours might be enough to do the trick.
2. The Right Tools
I found that using the right tools can turn oven cleaning into a relatively easy task.
Hereâs what you need to have on hand:
3. The Right Cleaner
Like I said, vinegar and baking soda didnât cut it for my oven. But I wasnât ready to give up on finding a natural oven cleaner that actually worked (and that was actually naturalâa lot of the so-called âgreenâ and ânaturalâ cleaners out there still carry huge warning labels about not letting the stuff touch your skin, which is not exactly my idea of natural!).
I was told this cleaner was totally capable of cleaning my oven with absolutely no chemicals. Supposedly itâs some tough stuff. But I had my doubts.
Still, since this cleaner doesnât come with a scary warning label, I decided it was worth a shot. I let it soak overnight to make sure I had a head start on the grime.
My doubts started leaving my mind when I saw this:
Yep, thatâs six years worth of nasty oven grease literally melting into a pool of goo at the bottom of my oven.
Needless to say, I was more than a little impressed.
After some scrubbing (it really wasnât as bad as I imagined), my oven ended up looking almost new:
No, I am not going to make crazy claims and say my oven actually looks brand newâit doesnât.
I didnât clean it for six years and the darn thing did a lot of baking during that time, so itâs not perfect. But I wasnât looking for a fairytale oven, just a clean one.
PS: Other cleaners might do the job, but I canât personally vouch for them. For me, this worked. If you want to try something else natural, I can only recommend looking for a soap-based product that comes from a company that cares. Soap is the best to battle grime and grease, and a company that cares â well, that one sort of explains itself.
Read below to see exactly how you can clean your oven like I did.
1. Prep it. Remove any big baked on chunks of who-knows-what that might be hanging around the bottom of your oven. Then spray your oven with a 1:1 or 1:2 mixture of Thieves concentrated cleaner.
Give it a real good soak (I ended up using a whole 32-oz spray bottle of 1:1 concentration to tackle the six-year-old grime in my ovenâyouâll probably be able to get away with a lot less!).
2. Soak it. Let the cleaner sit for at least 2 hours. For really filthy ovens (like mine) an overnight soak is going to help a lot. I sprayed mine down before bed and tackled the scrubbing part the next morning.
3. Get your tools. Have your gloves, scouring pads, cleaning brushes and washcloths ready to go.
4. Put on some tunes. Scrubbing is way more fun with music!
5. Get scrubbing. Time to get to work! Use your scouring pads to get the bulk of the grime, and your steel brush will take care of the sneaky grease stuck in the crevices.
6. Wipe down as needed. All that melted goo makes it tough to see whatâs left to be cleaned. Wipe off the excess with a washcloth, rinse it out with warm water, and get back to scrubbing.
7. Intermission. Okay, youâve been scrubbing for a little while and have got the main part done. But thereâs still some tough, baked-on spots.
Give your oven one more spray down with your cleaner, and let it sit for 15 minutes while you enjoy a tall glass of iced tea and check your email.
8. Final wipe-down. Scrub any remaining tough spots. Give your oven one last misting with cleaner and wipe it down with a clean washcloth. Everything should be shiny clean!
Like I said, I use my Thieves cleaner for absolutely everything
â itâs genuinely non-toxic, which means it can be used in ways youâd never think to use an all-purpose cleaner.
My favorite obviously being as a natural oven cleaner. đ
Here are a few other things Iâve tried:
Elizabeth is the founder of The Nourished Life and has been writing about natural living for 12 years. Her work has been featured at Shape, Bustle, and Mother Earth Living. Her mission is to help you lower your stress levels and find fun ways to become happier and healthier. Read more about Elizabeth here.