How to Clean an Oven

Regular cleaning can keep it humming for 20 years. Here’s how.

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Photo by Danny Kim

Self-cleaning ovens: Run the self-cleaning cycle every three months. (Remember to remove the racks first.) Afterward, use warm water and a rag to wipe away the ash. Use your oven every day? You’ll need to self-clean more often—about 10 times a year. But don’t do it right before a major meal, says Chris Zeisler, a technician for RepairClinic.com, an appliance-parts vendor for do-ityourselfers. The cycle’s high heat (800 to 850 degrees Fahrenheit)can cause problems, like a stuck door latch, that will require a repair.

Ovens that don’t clean themselves: Every three months, take out the racks and spray the interior walls with a specialty oven cleaner, says Brian Rizzo, a chef for Sub-Zero & Wolf. (Try Easy-Off Fume Free Oven Cleaner; $3, amazon.com.) Close the oven door, let sit two hours, then wipe the interior clean with paper towels. Remove any residue with a wet rag.

Every oven: Keep a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch spills. If food splatters, scrape it off with a spatula after the oven cools. A few times a year, soak the racks (and their detachable guides) in soapy water for 10 minutes; scrub with an abrasive sponge.