A Little Bit Of Steam Is All You Need For A Sparkling Oven

A dirty oven is a sign that you've been concocting homemade delights in a time-honored way. But, it's also gross. If you continue to cook in a badly soiled oven, not only your meal, but also your house, is in jeopardy. The charred chunks of recipes past can lend unwanted flavors to your current dish, and worse, they can ignite and threaten your home with fire. But luckily, you can avoid those unfortunate events with a simple, non-toxic steam treatment for your oven. Okay, to be fair, you'll need to throw in a bit of hands-on cleaning along with your steam. Still, this combo of heat, water, and time is one of the best ways to clean your oven naturally and easily.

Fixing up your well-used appliance regularly with a good steam bath loosens caked-on gunk, making it easier to wipe away. Some newer ovens have a steam-cleaning setting to simplify the process even more. If you don't have one of these new contraptions yet, you can still steam clean your oven almost as easily with your own setup. All you need is a large oven-proof bowl filled with water, a screaming-hot oven, and a couple of hours to let the steam do its work, and your meal maker will be ready to bake more tasty treats safely.

Steam away the nastiness

Whirlpool shares the steps to a successfully steam-cleaned oven. You'll need rags or a sponge, water, and an oven-proof cooking vessel that can handle very high temperatures. Optional tools are a vacuum with a hose attachment and a little white vinegar, a natural item that gets your oven sparkling clean with little effort when you add it to the water before the steaming process.

Start by removing oven racks and other accessories like separate thermometers. Brush out loose debris, or use a vacuum with a hose attachment to get rid of it. If you want, a preliminary wipe down of the insides can't hurt, but it's not necessary unless your oven is especially dirty. Place your oven-proof pot or pan on the bottom or lowest rack of a cool oven, and fill it with water. How much water you add depends on the shape and size of the container you're using. If you want to use vinegar for a boost, add it now. They also mention that for very dirty ovens, you can steam with straight vinegar instead of mixing it with water.

Set the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and let it come to temperature. Allow the steam to do its work for 20 minutes up to an hour. Turn off the heat, and let the oven cool. Once the interior surfaces are cool enough to touch, wipe away the loosened grime with a moist sponge, and you're done!

Spring for an oven with built-in steam cleaning

If you're in the market for a new stove, you're probably wondering whether a steam-cleaning or self-cleaning oven is best for your kitchen. If you don't often need to deep-clean your oven, give serious consideration to the option with a steam cleaning cycle. Many ovens have a self-cleaning setting that involves heating the appliance to as high as 900 degrees for up to six hours. That's a lot of energy to expend, and it can make your house uncomfortably warm. Steam-cleaning oven cycles involve much lower temperatures and a fraction of the time that the high-heat option requires. Not surprisingly, ovens with steam cleaning cycles use substantially less energy.

The steam-cleaning cycles on these machines are low-fuss. Pour about 1 cup of water on the bottom of the oven, start the cycle, and let it go. Cycles tend to last about 20 minutes. Like with the DIY method, you'll wipe away loosened grime once the oven has cooled. If you do this regularly — weekly or monthly, for instance — you won't have to deep-clean your oven nearly as often.