How Often Should You Clean Your Oven? Signs & Tips
Cleaning an oven is one of those big chores that often gets put on the back burner for long periods of time. Scrubbing out old food, grease, and burn marks are a hassle that many people opt to simply ignore. Ignore your oven’s grime at your own peril. A dirty oven is not only unsightly, but it can actually be dangerous in certain circumstances.
How often should you clean your oven to avoid those dangerous levels of buildup? Most experts agree that you should deep clean your oven once every three months for the best results. To help ensure that your quarterly cleaning is not miserable, you should also do some general cleaning and maintenance on a more regular basis. Here is how to deep clean your oven, the signs your oven needs a deep clean, and how often you should be undertaking these chores to keep your oven safe and efficient.
Deep Cleaning Your Oven
You should deep clean your oven once every three months. An oven deep clean has a few steps to ensure that everything is treated properly. First, modern ovens have a self-cleaning setting. The self-cleaning cycle heats the oven to very high temperatures and bakes away any ash, grime, grease, and small food particles that might be hiding inside the oven. The self-cleaning cycle usually lasts a couple of hours, and it is best to be close by when you run it just in case anything happens since the oven is running with extreme heat.
You might smell some odd smells or see some light smoke coming from the oven during this time. That is normal. However, be watchful to make sure nothing in the oven catches fire because that would constitute an emergency.
After the cycle is finished, let the oven cool and then wipe it out with a rag or sponge. The inside should be able to be wiped clean with minimal effort now. Clean all of the racks. On the top of the oven, it is good to detach any burners that you have, soak them, and scrub them thoroughly. Clean out any crevices and surfaces that might get missed on a regular day.
Ovens without a self-cleaning cycle will require old-fashioned scrubbing. Using recommended cleaners, steel wool, sponges, and rags you will have to get into the oven and bust off the grime by hand. This process should be done every three months.
Signs You Oven Needs a Deep Clean
If you have been putting off cleaning your oven out thoroughly, there are some signs that you should look out for. An oven that smokes during general use is a big sign that there is too much material inside. Burners that smoke is also a sign that the burners need to be cleaned. Visible food inside the oven is a sign you must clean it out. Sometimes this food turns into black sludge and charred husks that sit on the bottom of the oven and around the door. Oven grates that are grimy, greasy, or covered in old food need to be cleaned ASAP. Weird smells and setting off the smoke alarm frequently are other signs that your oven likely needs to be cleaned.
Other signs of an oven past due for a good scrub are long waits for the oven to preheat, food that tastes smoky or charred, and food that is taking longer than expected to cook. That is because excess residue in the oven decreases the heating efficiency and the heat distribution in the oven.
Too much food, grease, and debris can cause an oven fire. Oven fires are not as common as they used to be because of the advancement in technologies surrounding oven heating methods but they can still happen if there is enough grease and grime inside the oven.
General Oven Cleaning
While you should give your oven a good deep cleaning every three months, that is not the only cleaning you should be doing. You should be cleaning your oven after every use. You don’t need to use any elbow grease, but you should be wiping off the surface, keeping the burners free of any food or debris, and watching the oven for signs of too much grime buildup.
Do not neglect cleaning your oven. Dirty ovens are less efficient, take longer to work, and can even be a fire hazard if the mess gets bad enough. Cleaning out an oven is hard work, and no one likes to do it, but it is something that needs to be done once every three months. People who rarely cook and barely use their ovens could potentially stretch that number to six months, but only if they use their oven once a week or less.
The oven is one of the largest and most important appliances in the home. Do not fail to do the required maintenance to ensure that it will run for years to come.
Featured Image Credit: Max Vakhtbovych, Pexels