Oven degreasing products can be expensive at times. These products can clean any greases that stick to oven after several use. But instead of spending money to these products, why not find any alternatives that could save money. There are still many natural ways to degrease an oven without spending much money from your pocket.
How to Degrease an Oven Naturally
Start by removing the oven racks and soaking them in warm, soapy water. To do this, you’ll need to fill a large sink or tub with warm water a couple of inches deep. Squirt in a little bit of eco-friendly liquid dish soap—I used the stuff made by Seventh Generation – as the water runs, so that you get a slightly sudsy solution. Remove the metal racks from the oven and transfer them directly into the tub of soapy water. Let them soak while you degrease the inside of the oven; the longer they’re in the water, the easier they’ll be to scrub down later.
Use baking soda, water, and liquid dish soap for natural oven degreasing. You want to combine the three ingredients into a paste that’s thick enough to stick to the top and sides of the oven. I usually pour some baking soda into a bowl, add a few drops of Seventh Generation dish soap, and then drizzle a little water on top. After stirring it all together, I evaluate the consistency and add more water or baking soda as needed. Since the dish soap is just there to help cut grease, you don’t need much of it. Once the mixture is prepared, brush any loose chunks out of the bottom of the oven, then use a sponge to “paint” a layer of baking soda paste onto all the interior surfaces of the oven, including the door. Let sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.
Scrub all the interior surfaces of the oven with a sponge or soft-bristled brush to eliminate crusty or discolored spots. I recommend starting with the inside of the door so that you aren’t leaning into a layer of homemade baking soda oven degreaser during the rest of the process, then scrubbing the top of the oven, followed by the sides and finally the bottom. I used a Scotch-Brite Greener Clean sponge made partly with natural and recycled fibers, and even though baking soda is itself mildly abrasive, it was helpful that one side of the sponge was a scrubbing pad. I had let a pan of bacon-topped meatloaf cook over a while back, and found that a plastic pan scraper was the best tool for lifting the really thick deposits on the bottom of the oven.
After you finish scrubbing, rinse away the leftover residue of baking soda and oven gunk. One of the advantages when you degrease your oven this way is that most of the “rinsing” can be accomplished without any moisture. Because the baking soda paste will have dried by this point, you can wipe most of it off with a dry cloth and then use the same cloth to sweep the dust and chunks out of the bottom of the oven onto a layer of old newspaper on the floor. If there’s still a thin layer of baking soda dust inside the oven afterward, you can wipe it away with a cloth dampened in tap water.
Clean the oven racks. Since they’ve been soaking in soapy water for a while, you should be able to remove most of the baked-on food from the oven shelves with a wet rag or dishcloth, but you could use a scrub brush or scrubbing pad for more oomph. I don’t mind if my oven racks are a bit discolored, but if you want yours shiny again, more baking soda paste should do the trick. Once the shelves are clean, rinse them in some fresh water and either let them air dry or wipe them down with a dry rag before replacing them in your clean oven.
Clean the outer surfaces of the oven. Whether you have a stainless steel or enamel-coated oven, you can clean the door and other outer surfaces with vinegar. Simply pour some undiluted white vinegar into a spray bottle, spray the vinegar onto a soft cotton cloth, and wipe to remove grease, splattered food, and fingerprints. Vinegar can also be used for cleaning oven glass, both on the inside and outside of the door, though you may prefer to clean the inside of the window with the baking soda paste used for the rest of the oven cavity. Now, if you’re feeling inspired, you already have everything you need for Jonathan’s method of cleaning a stove.
Unfortunately, the laws of physics limit the extent to which self-degreasing ovens can actually degrease themselves. What a self-degreasing oven can do is prepare itself for degreasing in a way that makes your role in the process a lot easier to stomach. During the “degrease” cycle, an oven’s internal temperature reaches 900 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to turn the gunk stuck inside to ash over the course of a few hours. Once the degreasing cycle is over and the oven has had a chance to cool, all that’s left for you to do is wipe away the ashy residue with a rag or damp sponge.
Besides being easier to degrease, self-degreasing ovens have the added advantage of being very well-insulated and therefore more energy efficient during regular use. However, the degreasing cycle itself requires a lot of energy, which could offset the energy savings if you run it often. If you don’t run it often and the oven gets very dirty, you’ll either have to degrease it by hand (without aerosol oven degreasers, which aren’t generally recommended by self-degreasing oven manufacturers because of concerns about toxic residues and very high temperatures) or endure some smoke while the larger spills are burned off.
Continuous-degreasing ovens work thanks to a special rough coating on their internal surfaces that spreads spills and splatters out into a thinner layer that can be burned away at regular cooking temperatures. Larger spills should be wiped up with a damp sponge before they have a chance to bake on and compromise the surface texture.
Non Toxic Oven degreasers
Mother’s Choice is an all-purpose degreaser that was originally concocted with oven degreasing in mind. Organic, biodegradable, and completely non-toxic, it derives its degreasing power from natural enzymes and finely ground pumice.
Restore Grill & Oven degreaser is a non-caustic, non-toxic degreaser and degreasr made with plant- and mineral-based ingredients. I especially like this company because it was founded in my home state of Minnesota, and my local natural foods store has a station for refilling empty bottles of Restore products.
Orange Plus Complete Natural Orange Oven & Grill degreaser, made by Earth Friendly Products, is a concentrated all-purpose degreaser made with orange oil and other biodegradable ingredients. Like Restore Grill & Oven degreaser (above), Orange Plus Complete is not tested on animals.