Cleaning the oven is one of the most hated chores in the home

Cleaning the oven is one of the most hated chores in the home – and with good reason. It’s dirty, messy and usually involves hours of scrubbing. But the good news is there are a number of ways to make the job easier. All you need are the right tools, the right products and some insider know-how.

Loosen dirt first before cleaning
Cleaning guru Aggie MacKenzie of How Clean Is Your House fame suggests placing a heatproof bowl of water in the oven on high for half an hour. The steam will soften grease and grime, making stains easier to remove.

Use a glass scraper
Aggie says that the best tool for scraping tough stains off the door and floor of your oven is a glass scraper – the sort used for paint splashes on windows. If the glass door is removable, unscrew it, soak in a hot solution of biological washing powder, then scrape to remove stuck-on food residue.

Use soda crystals
Old-fashioned soda crystals, under £1 per bag from most supermarkets, are a brilliant eco-friendly kitchen cleaner that cut through grease with ease. Spread a thick layer on the bottom of the oven and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave for several hours, then vacuum them out (empty the vacuum cleaner immediately after use!) and rinse thoroughly. Soda crystals also work well on heavy stains in grill pans. Dissolve the crystals in hot water and leave to soak before washing as normal.

Paint on a gel cleaner
If you prefer a shop-bought solution, try Oven Mate from Lakeland. It comes with a brush that makes it easy to reach the back of the oven and doesn’t have that potent chemical smell. Leave it on your oven walls for up to three hours depending on the degree of dirtiness, then simply wipe away. As with all chemical cleaners, wear rubber gloves and protect floors with newspaper.

Put filthy shelves into a cleaning bag
Often oven shelves are harder to clean than the oven itself when grease is baked on. An easy solution is to soak shelves in plastic bags with specialised cleaners like Doktor Power from JML. Just squirt the gel into the re-usable bag that comes with the cleaner, then leave overnight for best results. No effort required and the results are impressive.

Allow the element to burn off grease naturally
Most chemical cleaners cannot be used on the element. The simplest way to clean the element is to turn the heat up to the highest setting and just let the grase burn off. The oven may smoke for a while, so make sure the room is well ventilated.

Use baking soda
Keen to avoid harsh chemical cleaners? For a home-made eco cleaner, professional cleaning experts Merry Maids recommend using a mixture of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and vinegar. Moisten the cold oven with water, spread on a thick layer of baking soda and leave for three hours. Spray vinegar on the baking soda and watch it fizz into action. Let it sit for a few more hours then wipe with warm water.

Clean shelves in the dishwasher
Encrusted grime on oven shelves can be blitzed by running them through a hot wash in the dishwasher. Alternatively, line the bath with old towels to protect the finish, and then soak the shelves in biological soap powder. Scrub any remaining grime with a cream cleaner or abrasive pad. Biological soap powder also works for baked-on grease in grill pans or try soaking in vinegar overnight.

Consider investing in a pyrolytic oven
If you do a lot of cooking and hate cleaning, this could be a good investment! Pyrolytic (self-cleaning) ovens use a high temperature to burn off grime. All you need do is sweep away the pile of ash afterwards. Take a look at the Programme Clean oven from Beko, priced from around £479.

Try the new water cleaning ovens
For those on the lookout for an oven that’s super-easy to clean, a revolutionary new product could be the answer to your prayers. Amica has launched an oven that only needs water to clean it. Simply put a bowl of water in the bottom of its Scandium oven and heat it at 90 degrees for 30 minutes for a quick and effective cleaning job.

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T K Garnham
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