The Right Way to Clean Every Part of Your Oven, From the Racks to the Door Glass

This workhorse kitchen appliance will look good as new if you follow these expert-approved steps.

If you're a regular cook or baker, you know that consistently cleaning your oven is important. Spills and splatters on the appliance's walls, racks, and door can build up over time, leading to unpleasant odors when your oven is hot or—worse—longer cook times. This is why routine cleaning is a must. To help, we tapped two experts, who shared their tips for making every element of your oven sparkle again.

Interior design of elegant kitchen with black and white elements
Courtesy of CreativaStudio / GETTY IMAGES

How Often to Clean Your Oven

The best cadence for deep cleaning is every three months, says Leanne Stapf, the COO of The Cleaning Authority. Keep in mind that this all depends on how often you use the oven. "If you are an avid cook or baker, or notice burnt food, lingering smells, other leftover spots, grease, or dirt, you should clean it more frequently," she says. "However, if you rarely use your oven, every four to six months may be enough."

Routinely cleaning and maintaining your oven will help it work efficiently, says Kathy Cohoon, the director of franchise operations at Two Maids. "Giving your oven a quick wipe down after each use will help keep grime and buildup at bay," she says.

Using the Self-Cleaning Feature

Why double down on the elbow grease when your oven can clean itself? While this setting is safe to use if your oven is in good working order, it does have some drawbacks, says Vera Peterson, president of Molly Maid, a Neighborly company. "It can create some inconveniences and is best done when your home can be well ventilated," she says. "Fumes, including carbon monoxide from incinerating food particles, can emanate from a self-cleaning oven. This mode can also produce smoke that sets off your fire alarms and chokes your home."

To err on the side of caution, Peterson recommends opening your windows and using the range hood's vent. Keep in mind that enlisting your hood means loud white noise for hours at a time—and perhaps humid or cold, drafty air coming into your home (so time this task accordingly).

How to Clean the Inside of the Oven

So, how do you clean your oven's interior? Ultimately, it depends on the type of cleaner you'd like to use. According to Peterson, a conventional commercial oven cleaner is a sound choice—however, some people may want to work with an eco-friendly DIY formula. Whatever your preference, we have steps for each option below.

Materials You'll Need

  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Commercial cleaner
  • Gloves and protective eyewear

Follow Stapf's go-to steps to clean the oven's interior:

  1. For starters, always make sure to clean your oven when it is completely turned off and cool.
  2. Remove the oven racks.
  3. Peterson recommends covering your oven's heating elements, wiring, and thermostat with aluminum foil. Though this step is a must when using a commercial cleaner, it will also give you peace of mind if you're working with a green solution.
  4. For commercial cleaners: Put on protective gear, such as rubber gloves and goggles, and carefully follow the cleaner's directions (yes, it's that simple!). Before you get started, note whether you are using a formula designed for cold or hot cleaning; some oven pre-heating might be needed if you opted for the latter.
  5. For eco-friendly DIY cleaners: Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with 3 tablespoons of water and coat your oven with the mixture. Allow this cleaning solution to sit overnight. Wipe down the oven with vinegar and a damp cloth.

How to Clean Oven Racks

This essential part of the oven will require routine cleaning to remove stubborn spills and stains.

Materials You'll Need

  • Soap
  • Sponge
  • Baking soda

Here are Stapf's tips to clean oven racks:

  1. For standard cleaning, use a soapy sponge and hot water to wipe the racks.
  2. For stubborn messes, soak oven racks in hot water, dish soap, and a couple scoops of baking soda.
  3. Let the racks soak in this mixture for 15 to 30 minutes before scrubbing clean with a soft sponge.
woman cleaning oven door
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How to Clean the Oven Door

Oven Door Exterior

Avoid using any harsh chemicals when cleaning the outside of your oven door, as this can create toxic fumes, says Cohoon. Stay away from abrasive items, which can scratch metal and stainless steel, as well.

Materials You'll Need

  • Sponge
  • Soap

Follow these expert-approved steps to clean oven doors:

  1. Dampen a sponge with soap and hot water.
  2. Wipe down the doors with this mixture.

Oven Door Glass

The oven door's glass acquires spills and stains, even in the space between the inner and outer glass panels. Luckily, you can get every part of it clean. "Oven glass can be tricky to clean but even the slightest smudge can negatively impact the overall appearance of your oven," says Cohoon. "To get this glass sparkling and remove residue, make sure to wipe down spills right after they happen (once the surface is cool, of course!)."

She recommends cleaning the space between the oven glass once or twice a year to prevent buildup; steer clear of overly abrasive sponges or steel wool that can cause scratches.

Materials You'll Need

  • Vacuum
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Sponge
  • Microfiber cloth

Follow Cohoon's instructions to clean the space in between oven door glass:

  1. Clean the in-between space by removing the glass from the oven door; depending on your oven model, there should be screws that allow you to take the door apart.
  2. Once removed, vacuum the door's nooks and crannies to remove all debris.
  3. If your vacuum attachments don't fit, brush away dust and other unwanted crumbs with a small cleaning brush.
  4. Make a paste of baking soda and white vinegar; use it to scrub stains and spills with a sponge. You can use this paste on all parts of the glass door.
  5. For stuck-on stains, allow the paste to sit for up to 10 minutes.
  6. Wipe clean with a warm, damp microfiber cloth and repeat as needed.
  7. Allow to fully dry and replace the glass, making sure to fasten screws securely.

How to Clean Oven Knobs and Handles

Don't forget about these often-overlooked parts of your oven, which are actually the elements you touch most. As a result, food buildup, oil smears, and fingerprint smudges accumulate over time; routinely clean them when you tackle the rest of this kitchen appliance.

Materials You'll Need

  • Baking soda
  • Sponge
  • Disinfectant wipes

Here's how Stapf suggests cleaning oven knobs and handles:

  1. Sprinkle or wipe baking soda over the surface, and wipe with a damp sponge to remove excess dirt or food.
  2. Alternatively, use disinfectant wipes to give your knobs a quick clean.
Updated by
Kelsey Mulvey

Kelsey is a freelance writer for

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