How to clean a REALLY dirty oven

Miss Thrifty33 July 14, 2009

how to clean a dirty oven

So you want to know how to  clean a dirty oven? Hello and welcome to the industrial-strength rendition of my Hassle-free oven cleaning post. Trust me: the inside of your oven door could look like it was painted with Cuprinol, several times over, and this would still make it look like new.

For this heavy-duty version, you will need:

  • Liberal quantities of bicarbonate of soda.
  • Water.
  • A bowl.
  • A cloth.
  • A wallpaper scraper.

Yes, that is all! I don’t use the supermarket bicarbonate of soda, which comes in small pots in the home baking section; instead, I buy bicarb in bulk from Summer Naturals, because I put the stuff to various uses.

How to clean a dirty oven

  1. Mix the bicarb and water into a thin paste.
  2. Smear the paste across the oven door/walls, using the cloth to ensure an even distribution.
  3. Leave for at least 30 minutes. Those tacky brown stains will begin to soften and melt.
  4. Remove stains, using the wallpaper scraper. Afterwards you can rinse the scraper under the tap – the bicarbonated brown/black gloop will simply fall off – and return it to its rightful place in the garden shed.

Your dirty oven will be clean and sparkling within minutes! Also, you can avoid the breathing difficulties and expenses associated with the powerful chemicals that purport to do the same job. I always used to feel a little uncomfortable about cooking food in an oven that I had daubed with stinking chemical nasties. But the bicarb doesn’t pong, and rinses off easily.


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33 Responses to “How to clean a REALLY dirty oven

Holly says:

Thank you so much for this post!! I’ve been getting into cleaning with bicarb and I’m using up my baking supplies pretty quickly. Always wondered where you could buy it in bulk as I’ve never seen it in the supermarket. Definitely getting some now!

July 15, 2009 at 6:07 pm

mhairi says:

thank you for this – my usual supplier of large quantities of bicarb just stopped selling it!

when you say wallpaper scraper – made of what? the only one i have is made of metal and i think it would damage the oven 🙂

July 16, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Miss Thrifty says:

Thanks for the comments, ladies!

Mhairi: Yep, a metal one. I guess it depends on what kind of oven you have. Mine was fine though. 🙂

July 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Jo Harris says:

Hi, If you need large boxes of Bi-Carb, try Boots. However you could try Quint from Ovenaid he’s excellent value and always leaves your cooker with the ‘wow Factor’! Once he has cleaned it its like new, then its easy to keep on top of.

August 5, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Eimear says:

Miss thirfty, what quantites should i use the first try wasn’t very successful, at least i didn’t think bits on the roof were still there – THANKS

January 27, 2010 at 1:01 am

Miss Thrifty says:

Don’t worry Eimear – this WILL work. Perhaps your paste was too thin? You don’t need much water. Aim for cream consistency, as opposed to milk consistency. Let us know if it works the second time around!

February 5, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Lisa says:

PLEASE be careful! It really depends on what type of oven you have. Some walls of the oven could have a special resisting coating which will be damaged if you scrape them…………so check first.

March 11, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Hey! dont use a wallpaper scraper. use a 0.009 blade which you can aquire from ebay. Much better, cheaper and also disposable.

August 11, 2010 at 11:37 pm

Lozmk1 says:

used this tip at the weekend and it cleaned my grill up wonderfully 🙂 gonna tackle the oven this weekend :S wish me luck!!

September 14, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Dont mix the Bi Carb with water. Mix with a foam cleaner instead. Adds that extra little bit of oomph!!!

April 2, 2011 at 8:27 am

oven cleaner northampton says:

use a .012 blade instead of a .009 as they are much less likely to snap.

February 26, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Please dont use a wallpaper scrapper this will almost certainly damage the enamel and glass

February 26, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Tom says:

I used oven cleaning solutions , a nice man called Adam came out and fixed it for me. It looked as good as new

March 26, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Peter says:

I find the bicarb method excellent for cleaning my oven. I used to use shop bought oven cleaners until one day when cleaning the oven the glass it fell out.

It seems that the chemicals had attacked the glue!

Removing the oven door makes cleaning the oven much easier. I watched a video on You Tube, which showed me how to take it off when I had to restick the glass. Now, whenever I clean the oven I just take the door off, it only takes seconds and makes reaching into the oven so much easier. No more messy stains across my waist from leaning on the door.

May 1, 2012 at 10:38 am

Susan Bewley says:

it’s always bad when the oven gets that bad. I love using natural cleaners but I have never found anything that was really good for the oven. Thanks for the tips!

May 18, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Do not attempt to use a polishing wheel on the enamel for cleaning. I thought this would work and it ended up scratching my oven.

July 5, 2012 at 7:52 am

thriftwood says:

This is a great tip! However, I have another that can be used alongside! Put 2 teaspoons of Bicarb Soda in a litre spray bottle filled with water. Spray liberally over a cold, dirty oven. Leave until next time you’ve used oven. There will be a powdery film on the oven floor. Simply wipe and respray. Within 2 weeks your oven will be totally gleaming with no elbow grease whatsoever. You just need to do this every time you clean the residue off. This tip could be combined with yours. Once the oven has been cleaned, just spray with the solution and it won’t get dirty again. I love sharing tips! Have lovely week xxx

July 10, 2012 at 7:16 am

Gleaming says:

Tried this on my oven which to my shame hadn’t been cleaned properly for a couple of years so was seriously carbonised! I was sceptical but WOW….I now have a new shiny oven with minimum effort. Instead of a wallpaper scraper I used a halogen hob scraper, purpose made not to scratch! I also soaked my wire racks in the sink with some soda crystals. No chemicals, no smell, minimum effort…I now don’t fear the oven job!

July 30, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Doesn't work! says:

This really didn’t work for me, in fact this ended up causing a lot of mess and a huge row with housemates!

When the bicarbonate dries up on your oven it honestly looks like someone has gone in with a can of dulux white paint and smothered it all over your oven and drips all over your kitchen floor. To make it worse, as you try to wipe it off with a damp cloth this makes the problem worse as it dries up again and again and again.

I ended up buying an ordinary oven cleaner in the end so was a total waste of time.

I must have gone wrong somewhere but the instructions were really simple.

October 29, 2012 at 8:52 am

Miss Thrifty says:

Oh dear – I’m so sorry it didn’t work for you! Mind you, up until now the reviews of this oven-cleaning method have been uniformly positive, so it’s good to get a take on what can go wrong.

I tend to do a lot of scraping, where I can, with this method – you’ll see that I’ve attracted flak for it earlier in the comments, but one advantage is that it gets a lot of the dried bicarb off & out of the oven at the same time. It does need plenty of rinsing, but I’ve never found it to be a problem as you did. If it was dripping out of the oven and all over the kitchen floor, however, it sounds like your bicarb mix was too thin & watery. Ideally you’re looking for a very thin paste.

October 29, 2012 at 10:21 am

kay hudson says:

\if you are in sheffield, Lembas wholefoods sell bicarb by the sack full and its cheap

January 6, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Anne C says:

This actually looks pretty easy. I think I will give this a go next week as I have a few days off. I may try it without the wallpaper scraper though. I do actually use an oven cleaning service – oven cleaner sheffield once every year. I am thinking I may try your ideas to try and stay on top of things the rest of the year, between the main professional clean.

December 31, 2013 at 12:06 am

Shirley Baker says:

This method is really good and if you can steal yourself to do this once a week, just a quick wipe over with the bicarbonate solution will most likely remove the stains immediately.
A word of warning to anyone considering buying a new oven. Steer clear of a Bosch oven I bought recently that has a fixed grill close to the roof that isn’t self clean. There is absolutely no way to get at the roof to clean it. My previous Neff, the same company I believe, the grill could be removed. In fact, I’d say, if your oven still works, stick with it, it’ll probably be better quality than anything you can buy new! Shirley Baker.

June 5, 2015 at 11:57 am

Jayne says:

Hi, I used this on my top oven and it came up a treat. However, the bottom oven will need a few more goes. Can you put this solution on the roof of the oven ? I have a bosch oven and the roof is pretty bad.

January 17, 2016 at 3:09 pm

Ros k says:

It worked. I am really pleased. I used an ice scraper on the glass oven door that is designed to remove ice from car windows. Just had to work at it a bit and some hard baked on stuff has at last come off. The commercial oven cleaner I have used previously did not shift the baked on stuff. Its all gone now.
Thank you.

April 2016

April 12, 2016 at 6:32 pm

Miss Thrifty says:

Hooray! That’s great news Ros – thanks for posting your update. 🙂

April 13, 2016 at 12:55 am

alec says:

You can obtain perspex type scrappers from any school supply store or chain which would be more suitable than metal they are used in schools as part of the art equipment.

June 28, 2016 at 4:04 pm

Derek says:

Hi guys, if you would rather relax while you have your oven cleaned by a professional you could use iOvenCleaner. These guys are located in Sutton Coldfield but cover the West Midlands area, we’ve used them twice in the past year and the service is outstanding. In terms of the cost, they are very fair with our single oven costing only £40. Check them out at

September 18, 2016 at 5:17 pm

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