This is almost on a par with ‘how long is a ball of string?’ After all, there are so many contributory factors that can affect an oven and the frequency with which it needs to be valeted. For instance, a cooker in a busy canteen is likely to be used with far greater regularity than one found in the average home. A great deal will also often depend on the kind of meals you’re preparing; roasting a belly of pork with fat spitting all over the place will probably hasten your need more than a slow cooked casserole.
So, in short, there is no definitive answer to the exact length of time that you can wait until cleaning your oven; however, there are plenty of things that you can use to guide your decision.
Visible Build Up
If you get to a stage where you can actually see the dirt and grime building up within your oven, it’s safe to say that it probably needs to be cleaned. As you’re probably already well aware, heating up fat can lead to instant combustion, as well as other unpleasant side effects. Therefore as soon as you notice that it’s looking a little bit grimy in the oven, you should start thinking about taking action.
Billowing Black Smoke
If you’re afraid to open the oven door when it’s in use purely because you know there’s going to be a waft of putrid smoke coming from within, then it’s probably a good time to do something about it. Remember, if there is smoke coming out of your oven on a regular basis, and you haven’t burnt your meal, then there’s a good chance that there is dirt inside causing this reaction. Remember, this won’t just affect how your food tastes, but it can even be dangerous.
You Can’t Remember the Last Time
While hardly scientific, if you are struggling to recall the last time that you cleaned your oven, then there’s a fair chance that it is overdue a spruce up. Even if there are no tell-tale signs, there’s no harm in taking the time to clean it. After all, even if you can’t see grime or smell smoke, it could still be affecting the inner workings of the appliance; meaning that it takes longer to heat up or can never achieve the optimal temperature.
It’s certainly advisable that you take pre-emptive action, rather than waiting for your oven to become clogged up and inefficient. So the best advice is to simply keep an eye on how it performs and whether there is any grease building up. Even if you do give it a regular wipe down after cooking, it’s still important that you take the time to give it a thorough clean every now and then. This could be every six months or even just on an annual basis, only you can decide when it’s time – just don’t leave it too long.