Convection ovens are a popular appliance for several reasons. They tend to be more cost effective to run than standard ovens, cook at a higher temperature, and cook more quickly.
However, they do need to be cleaned regularly to work at maximum capacity. Luckily, there are a few ways to clean your oven, whether you want to use natural or commercial cleaning products. Let’s get started with the most popular method below.
Using your oven’s built-in self-cleaning function
Most convection ovens have a standard self-cleaning function, which typically involves the oven heating to extreme temperatures upwards of 900◦F. This extreme heat essentially reduces all leftover food and other bits to ash, making it easy to wipe down.
However, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to do some cleaning of your own. Read on for the correct way to use your convection oven’s self-cleaning function:
- Start by removing the oven racks and scrubbing them with hot water, a non-abrasive liquid cleaner, and a suitable brush or scourer. Because self-cleaning usually takes a few hours, you can leave your racks out to air-dry or wipe them down with a towel.
- Next, activate the self-cleaning function on your convection oven by entering your desired cleaning time. Make sure that your oven door is properly closed and sealed so that no heat or fumes escape.
- Once the cycle has started, the common practice is to vacate the room of any people or animals and to leave as many doors and windows open as possible. Self-cleaning ovens usually take up to four hours to complete this function, but you should consult your user manual for an exact timeline.
- Once the cleaning cycle has finished, give your oven time to cool down completely. This should usually take 1-2 hours.
- Once your oven has cooled down, you can then begin to manually clean any remaining ash that s left at the base of your convection oven.
- Afterward, give the walls and door a good wipe down and voila! You have a clean oven.
How to clean an oven with oven cleaner
If your oven doesn’t have a self-cleaning feature, never fear! There are other ways to clean an oven, including the aptly named oven cleaner.
Using oven cleaner should be an occasional, rather than a regular, cleaning method for your convection oven because they are often abrasive and can leave behind toxins that can be released when exposed to heat.
However, using them once in a while is considered relatively safe and is a common practice in most kitchens. Here’s how to clean an oven with oven cleaner:
- Start by removing the racks and setting them aside. While some oven cleaners can be used on racks, I prefer to clean them with hot water and a gentle soap.
- Spray or wipe down the inside of the oven with your oven cleaner. Oven cleaners can contain harsh chemicals, so avoid contact with your skin or eyes.
- Now, let the oven cleaner sit. The amount of time needed varies depending on oven cleaner, so consult the cleaning manual. Keep the oven door closed to contain any toxic fumes.
- When the designated amount of time has passed, clean out the oven using warm water and a sponge or cloth. Make sure to wear gloves to avoid any contact with your skin.
- Wipe down your oven with a clean cloth and you’re good to go!
What oven cleaner should I use?
If you’re in the market for a reliable oven cleaner, Krud Kutter is a good option.
It’s a heavy duty cleaner/degreaser that’s meant to be used commercially. I personally like it because it works well while still being safe to use. It’s marketed as a non-toxic and biodegradable cleaner, a plus considering you’re using it on a surface that your food is exposed to. Check it out on Amazon by clicking here.
Easy-Off Professional Fume Free Max Oven Cleaner
Easy-Off is another popular household brand that delivers good results. Designed to be used on a cold oven, simply spray it on and wait 5 minutes for the formula to start eating away at stains. Advertised as fume-free, Easy-Off delivers an easy way to clean your oven without the toxic fumes.
Use 100% natural methods (and some elbow grease!)
If you’re interested in a 100% natural way to clean your oven, you’re in luck, Traditionally, vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda were used for general cleaning in homes and are still used to this day. An effective and all-natural way to clean your oven, many cooks prefer to clean with these products since they know that there aren’t any toxins or harsh chemicals being used on their oven.
- If you want to clean your oven using lemon juice, simply cut a lemon in half and use this to scrub your oven with. The lemon acts as a natural abrasive scourer when rubbed on tough grease spots in your oven.After you’ve scoured your oven, let it sit for a short time and then wipe it down with a damp cloth or sponge dipped in warm water.
- If you want to use vinegar, go ahead and fill a metal pan with water and about half a cup of vinegar. Place it in your oven and heat to 350◦ for about 20-30 minutes.Afterward, turn the oven off and allow it to cool. Once it’s cooled, you can wipe the oven down with a damp cloth.
- Baking soda and water can also be mixed together to form a paste which can then be used to coat the interior of your oven. This should be left to sit for several hours with the oven door closed.After it’s been left to sit, wipe it down with a damp rag.
If you decide to clean your oven using natural methods, do it often! Because they aren’t as harsh as chemical cleaners, they need to be used more often to be effective.
What natural oven cleaners should I use?
If you’re interested in a natural oven cleaner but don’t want to go to the trouble of making your own, don’t worry! Check out my favorite natural oven cleaners below:
Puracy Natural All Purpose Cleaner
Touted as a plant-derived, non-toxic, and sulfate-free alternative to harsh chemicals cleaners, Puracy has made quite the splash with its all-purpose cleaner.
The New York Times declared it “The Best All Purpose Cleaner” and its ingredients are all plant-based. If that’s not enough for you, their products are biodegradable and energy friendly, making this a great choice for the environmentally conscious consumer.
Aunt Fannie’s All Purpose Cleaning Vinegar
Aunt Fannie’s All Purpose Cleaning Vinegar is another environmentally friendly cleaning product.
Although the primary product is vinegar, it includes other ingredients like essential oils to pack an all natural cleaning punch. It was awarded the highest health and safety rating for cleaning products by the Environmental Working Group, so you can rest easy knowing this is a safe alternative to harsh chemical cleaners.
Always remember to clean as you go
Remember, staying on top of your cleaning schedule is the best way to make sure your convection oven works at its best and maintains a long life. If you’re using natural cleaners, try to clean at least once a week. If you’re using chemical cleaners, try to clean at least once every two weeks.
Interested in more ways to clean your oven? Check out this video:
Frequently Asked Questions
Can using oven cleaner make me sick?
While oven cleaner won’t kill you, there are some ingredients in oven cleaners that are toxic and can be bad for you in the long run. A good rule of thumb is to avoid ingredients such as ethylene glycol, lye, ether, and petroleum distillates since these have been proven to do harm to humans and animals.
This doesn’t mean you need to avoid all oven cleaners. People care about the safety of the products they use and as a result, there’s been an upswing in the number of safe cleaners available on the market. All of the cleaners listed in this article are tested by the market and considered safe for home use.
What’s the difference between natural and unnatural cleaners?
The difference between natural and unnatural cleaners is that natural cleaners use only natural ingredients, while unnatural ingredients use chemicals. Now, this doesn’t mean unnatural cleaners are unsafe, it just means they have ingredients that aren’t natural in them. For extremely dirty ovens you may need to use unnatural cleaners and that’s okay.
Whether you use natural or unnatural cleaners, take the time to read their ingredients and research them. This will give you an idea of what is safe and unsafe to use.
Do natural cleaners work as well as unnatural cleaners?
Although it varies from cleaner to cleaner, the general consensus is that unnatural cleaners tend to work better for commercial use or extremely dirty ovens. However, that doesn’t mean that natural cleaners don’t work well.
Natural cleaners are a viable option to clean your oven with. However, since their ingredients are more gentle, you’ll need to use them more often and it may take a bit more elbow grease to get your oven clean. However, many people prefer the extra effort needed in exchange for the peace of mind they get from knowing what they’re putting in their ovens.
Is using my oven’s self-cleaning function safe?
As long as you take the proper precautions, using your oven’s self-cleaning function is safe.
Self-cleaning ovens work by heating to extremely high temperatures, which can cause toxic fumes. Self-cleaning ovens have been known to produce substantial amounts of carbon monoxide as well as toxic Teflon fumes.
While this may seem concerning, using your oven’s self-cleaning function is safe as long as you take certain steps to protect yourself. When utilizing your oven’s self-cleaning function, make sure that all humans and animals are out of the room it’s located in. In addition, you should open up any doors and windows nearby so that any fumes can escape and disperse.
Will toxins be released into my food if I use oven cleaner before cooking?
As long as the oven cleaner is thoroughly cleaned out before cooking, you should be fine. Toxins require extremely high temperatures to be released, which you aren’t likely to encounter with most recipes.
However, if you’re still worried, consider using natural oven cleaner options. You can use entirely natural home solutions, such as vinegar and water, or you can buy a natural oven cleaner specially designed to be safe for humans.