Bring Your Rusted Oven Back To Life With An Easy Baking Soda Trick

If you love to cook, you likely use your oven about three times weekly — the U.S. average per figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Ovens are a mainstay in the kitchen, but they require proper maintenance to work well. If your oven is rusty, the idea of cleaning it may seem like an impossible task complete with lots of elbow grease and a powerful oven cleaner. However, it may surprise you to learn that the solution to breathing new life into your rusted oven may already be in your pantry. This is because there are plenty of common kitchen ingredients that tackle rust naturally, including baking soda. To try out this trick, make a baking soda and water paste, apply it to the rusted areas, allow it to sit, and then wipe it off with a soft cloth.

Rust (iron oxide) is a form of corrosion, a combination of iron, water, and oxygen. When the metal of your oven comes into contact with water and oxygen, a process known as oxidation occurs. Your oven can develop rust from spills or when there's excessive moisture, such as from steam or humidity. This moisture, when left untreated, creates rust, making your oven an eyesore. Not only that, but this can also cause more extensive damage to your appliance over time. Luckily, baking soda is a proven safe way to remove rust. Here's how to use baking soda to banish rust from your oven and why this hack works.

A rusty oven is no match for baking soda and water

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is an all-natural cleaning solution to tackle rust in the oven, just as it does grease and grime in everyone's favorite viral TikTok oven cleaning hack. The recipe for your baking soda paste is easy. A common recipe is to mix ½ cup of baking soda with 3 tablespoons of water, then stir until you have a ready-to-spread paste. However, you may need to adjust the water amount until you get your desired consistency, depending on the severity of the rust deposits. The less water you use, the more abrasive it will be. Generally, your mixture should be one part water to two or three parts baking soda.

Once the paste is blended and ready to go, remove everything from your oven. Next, evenly apply the paste to the rust, avoiding the heating elements. Let the paste sit for at least 15 minutes, or for a particularly rusty oven, let it work overnight. In the morning, just wipe up the residue with a soft cloth. Be sure you remove all of the paste and dry the racks if there's any residue left. Avoid rust in the future by carefully wiping out any moisture after cooking once the oven cools. You should also deep clean your oven at least once every three months, though consider cleaning it more if it's used more frequently.

Why removing rust is important and how baking soda works

It's important to remove rust quickly for several reasons. View it as a warning sign that means it's time to deep clean your oven, because its presence can affect your oven's performance. Rust and other corrosion can cause your oven to take longer to cook food. You may remove your food from the oven after the suggested cooking time only to find it's partially cooked. The corrosion may even reduce the strength of your oven racks, as it weakens metal, meaning that they could collapse with heavy use. Cooking in a rusty oven may also affect the taste of your food, especially if it flakes off into the oven's contents. While you may not see the flakes, rust isn't food-safe. Plus, ignoring it can weaken your oven's efficiency, meaning you may need to replace your oven faster than anticipated or have costly repairs.

Fortunately, you can avoid these problems with this baking soda trick. The magic of a baking soda and water paste relies on baking soda's abrasive alkaline nature. The paste's abrasiveness helps physically remove the buildup without damaging surfaces, while the alkaline substance chemically reacts with the acid in the iron oxide, neutralizing it. Because it's both food-safe and non-toxic, baking soda is also a better option to use than other harsh cleaning products.