How to Guide: Cleaning an Oven with Baking Soda

The best way to clean an oven yourself is by using the magical mixture of baking soda and vinegar. You may have learned about this combination as early as nursery school, where it is often used to introduce kids to the concept of chemical reactions in a harmless environment.

The Chemical Reaction

When vinegar (an acid) and baking soda (a base) meet, they chemically react together, resulting in bubbles and foam. In the first reaction, the acid-based reaction, hydrogen ions in the vinegar react with the sodium and bicarbonate ions in the baking soda. This results in two new compounds: carbonic acid and sodium acetate. In the second reaction, which is the decomposition reaction, the freshly produced carbonic acid decomposes into water and carbon dioxide gas, causing bubbles and foam to arise.

The combination of baking soda and vinegar can be used to loosen grease and grime from the inside of your oven, making it easier to remove. If you are wondering how to clean your oven in this way, our step-by-step instructions will help.

Cleaning Your Oven with Baking Soda

Please note that these instructions are for cleaning the inside of an empty oven. You can find instructions for cleaning oven racks with baking soda here.

Step 1: Empty the Oven

The first step for cleaning your oven with baking soda is to empty the oven completely, setting any trays, racks and oven dishes aside. These will have to be cleaned separately.

Step 2: Scrape Out the Loose Build-Up

If there are any crumbs or burnt bits of food in the oven, use a spatula to scrape them out. Only target the loose matter – whatever is stuck to the oven walls, floors or ceiling will be removed later.

Step 3: Create a Baking Soda Paste

In a regular bowl from your kitchen cabinet, mix seven tablespoons of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water until you have a spreadable paste. If you have a rather large oven or if you’re cleaning multiple ovens at once, for example in a range cooker with multiple ovens, you may consider doubling – or even tripling – the amounts. Don’t worry if your paste is not 100% consistent in texture.

Step 4: Coat the Inside of the Oven

Next, get your household gloves out and coat the inside surfaces with a sponge, using your hands and fingers to really get the paste into every nook and cranny. Pay extra attention to particularly greasy areas. As you rub in the paste, you’ll notice it will turn a brownish colour from the grime it is absorbing, so make sure your hands, arms and clothes are protected.

Warning: make sure to steer clear of the heating elements when applying the paste.

Step 5: Let the Paste Sit Overnight

As some of the grease and grime inside your oven may be rather stubborn, leaving the baking soda paste to sit for at least 12 hours will produce the best results. Whilst this magical mixture does its job, you can get on with your day or have a good night’s rest.

Step 6: Wipe Out the Paste

After the 12-hour work-in period, put on your household gloves again, take a damp dish cloth and wipe out the dried paste as good as you can; consider using a spatula to scrape the paste out of hard-to-reach corners. If you do use a spatula, make sure it’s a soft plastic or wooden one so it doesn’t scratch your oven.

Step 7: A Final Clean with Vinegar

Put some vinegar in a water spray bottle and spray it onto the inside oven surfaces. The chemical reaction between the vinegar and the baking soda will produce foam and bubbles, which will loosen the leftover grime and identify any residue of paste.

Step 8: The Final Wipe Down

Take a damp dish cloth and wipe down any remaining foamy areas of the oven. Spray and wipe away the vinegar until your oven looks as clean as new.

Inside of an oven

Cleaning your oven with baking soda can be a lot of work to be doing on a regular basis. If you would like a professional deep clean that will restore your oven to near-showroom condition with zero time and effort from your part, feel free to get in touch with Ovenu – our experienced technicians will do all the hard work for you!

If you are looking for a hands-on way to make your dirty oven look just that little bit more presentable before your guests arrive, you will be surprised at how little you need in terms of oven cleaning products. In most cases, you won’t even need to leave the house in order to achieve the desired effect; common cleaning products and ingredients from your kitchen cupboards can come to your rescue.

We’ve put together some DIY oven cleaning tips using simple products from your cupboards only.

Ovenu is not responsible for potential health risks that might come from mixing household products.

How to Clean Glass Oven Doors

Your oven door is the most visible part of your oven and therefore the most rewarding part to start cleaning. With common household products from your cupboards, you can create a gentle scrub that will leave your glass oven door look shiny.

DIY Method: Baking Soda Scrub

Mix four tablespoons of baking soda with five ounces of water in a bowl from your cupboard, and mix the two ingredients until they have the texture of a loose paste. Open the oven and spread the mixture out onto the inside of the oven door. If you have household gloves at hand, spread the baking soda paste out with your fingers so that it covers every inch of glass. If you don’t have household gloves, a simple sponge will do the trick.

Just let the paste sit on the glass for 20 minutes, until it starts loosening the stuck-on grime, then proceed to scrub the glass with the rough side of a sponge. Rinse the sponge with water before wiping the glass with the soft side of the sponge until all traces of the baking soda have disappeared.

For a flawless finish, give the glass oven window one last spray with a regular window cleaner. Also spray some on a paper towel and wipe the glass from side to side for a shiny effect.

Cleaning Oven Racks

Dirty oven racks can lead to pungent smells once you turn the oven on. In order to avoid the smell of burnt-on grease ruining the aroma of a Sunday Roast, you’ll need to remove the grime as best as you can.

DIY Method: Detergent

A simple mix of dishwashing liquid and hot water is usually enough to remove most of the grime, and if your sink isn’t spacious enough, we recommend you wash the oven racks in the bathtub. Add up to four ounces of dishwashing liquid (or two ounces of laundry detergent) to the water, and leave the racks to soak overnight.

In the morning, use an old dish towel or toothbrush to scrub the debris off gently – use salt as an extra abrasive, if necessary.

Warning: do not use abrasive sponges, as these might damage the metal.

DIY Method: Baking Soda and Vinegar

The combination of baking soda and vinegar is known to be another powerful DIY oven-cleaning method. When these two ingredients are mixed together, they react chemically in an acid-base reaction, followed by a decomposition reaction which causes an eruption of bubbles and foam. When using this cleaning method, make sure to do it either in a spacious sink or the bath tub.

Simply sprinkle the baking soda onto the oven racks, then drench them in vinegar. Once the chemical reaction stops and the foaming is over, submerge the racks in hot water. Leave them overnight, then scrub them clean the next morning with a dish towel or a toothbrush.

How to Clean Your Full Oven

If you want to give your oven a clean inside and out, there are two effective DIY methods that require only basic ingredients from your fridge and cupboards. Although the best way to clean an oven remains to hire a professional, these two methods will get your oven in a very decent shape with a bit of time and effort.

DIY Method: Water and Lemons

If life gives you lemons, clean your oven! The citrus oil in lemons is great at detaching grease, so if you have these yellow fruits lying about in your fridge, you can use them to loosen the grime inside your oven.

First, pre-heat your oven at 250°C. Cut two lemons in half and squeeze their juice into a baking dish; when they have been squeezed dry, you can add the remaining casings too. Now, add water to the dish until it’s one-third’s full. Wait until the oven has reached its temperature, and place the dish inside the oven. Set a timer for 30 minutes, then simply sit back and relax!

After half an hour of baking, remove the oven dish again, switch the oven off and wait until it’s cooled. While the lemon juice was vaporising, it will have attached itself to the grime, unsticking it from the oven walls, floor and ceiling. Wiping the grease away will now be much easier! You can use a spatula to remove any big chunks of debris that are left inside – use the remaining lemon water to scrub the rest of the grime away with a scouring sponge.

Warning: during the cleaning process, your oven will produce a lot of smoke. Turn on the oven fan and open a window to keep the smoke alarm from going off.

DIY Method: Baking Soda and Vinegar

The best way to clean your oven yourself is to use baking soda and vinegar, the two magic ingredients that we have previously encountered in this article. The process for cleaning your oven with this method is pretty elaborate, so we have explained it step by step in a dedicated article.

Learn how to clean your oven with baking soda here.

These DIY oven cleaning methods are great for maintaining your oven – however, every now and then you might want to invest in a professional deep clean. Ovenu’s experienced oven technicians can get your oven back to near-showroom condition, saving you a lot of scrubbing! Give us a call to get a quote, and we can be at your doorstep on a day and time that suits you. See you soon!

The Great British Bake-Off is in full swing! The rather diverse set of participants, including a techno DJ, a blood courier and a banker, shows that baking is for everybody – and it can be done on top of a challenging full-time job!

But what would happen if you took your favourite hobby and brought it to work? As the delicious creations by Luke, Jon, Antony, Imelda, Kim-Joy and their fellow contestants continue to inspire professionals throughout the UK to bake, we at Ovenu would like to inspire you to host your own bake-off competition – at work!

Why Organise a Bake-Off Competition at Work?

A baking competition can be a great occasion to get together with your colleagues to share delicious treats, unhurried chatter and a good old cup of tea. Spending social time with colleagues is great for motivation and morale, and there must be very few colleagues who wouldn’t get excited by sampling scrumptious treats. What’s more, baking competitions are a popular way to raise money for charity, whether on a corporate or on a personal level.

Our Baking Competition Tips

If you have taken on the task of organising a bake-off competition at work, you will need to do some prep to make sure everyone is involved and the judging process runs smoothly.

1.    Know the Purpose

First of all, you need to make sure everyone in the company knows what they are doing the bake-off for. For example, you might be raising money to help pay for a family member’s surgery, or collect donations for the company’s charity of the year. Sometimes, the baking competition will simply be part of a company social, where colleagues can come together to sample each other’s baking creations. Whatever the purpose, let your colleagues know what they’re doing it for from the invitation stage onwards.

2.    Choose a Theme

At Ovenu, we recommend choosing a theme for your bake-off at work. This can be linked to the purpose of the competition – for example, if you are raising money for an animal welfare charity, you might want to consider going vegan. If the occasion is Halloween, you might invite people to use only recipes involving pumpkin! Deciding in advance what type of baked goods contestants are competing with is also a good idea – after all, it’s hard to compare cakes with quiches and cookies with cupcakes.

3.    Encourage Colleagues to Sign Up

As an organiser, you need to have clarity on how many people will attend and participate. Requiring colleagues to sign up, whether via email or through a tool like Signup.com, provides you with more clarity on who will attend. What’s more, we recommend that you promote the competition across all your communication channels, from the email newsletter to the coffee machine in the corridor and from Skype and Slack to your social media channels. Having an attractive prize will encourage colleagues to sign up, and selling tickets at an accessible price will help attract attendants. A recommended donation accompanied by a ‘pay what you can’ system tends to yield very good results.

Tip: Create a Facebook event for the bake-off that colleagues and the company page can promote and share.

4.    Try to Negotiate Time Off

If you want to maximise the success of your bake-off competition at work, it would be great to negotiate some time off for you and your colleagues. Provided that the management supports the purpose, they might be willing to give everyone in the company a morning/afternoon off to present their creations and sample the results. Hosting the event during company hours is also likely to increase attendance and participation.

5.    Communicate the Rules

How many judges will there be? Can anyone be a judge, or will there be a panel? Is this a private company event, or is it open to attendants? In terms of judging the creations, it’s good to have a unified standard – this is where a pre-made bake-off judging scorecard comes in handy.

6.    Prepare the Venue

Depending on how many people you expect, you may decide to host the baking competition in your office kitchen, a meeting room, the office lobby or another, outside venue. You will need a surface area to display the cakes on, so make sure there are enough tables available. Print plenty of judging scorecards and bring biodegradable, disposable plates, forks, napkins and teacups. Last but not least: the decorations! Balloons, bunting and colourful tablecloths are good for setting the tone, and your company or the charity you’re sponsoring might want to contribute branded material.

7.    Invite the People in Your Building

Provided that the baking competition is taking place in your office building, it might be a good idea to ask the office receptionist to send out an email to other office tenants informing them of the event. With delicious baked goods being sold or offered close by, popping in for support is a temptation they wouldn’t dream of resisting!

Ovenu is a real fan of Channel 4’s Great British Bake Off! If your oven needs a clean after attempting some Great British Bake Off recipes for your bake-off competition at work, we can be at your doorstep as soon as we’re kneaded!

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