The Best Oven Cleaners for Baked-On Messes

Bubbled-over, spilled-on oven messes can be difficult to clean without a product that dissolves the gunk. Oven cleaners can make the job easier.

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The Best Oven Cleaner Option

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You already know baked-on messes can start oven fires or produce billows of acrid smoke the next time you turn on your oven to bake. You might not realize, though, that cleaning an oven can even save some energy because you actually can see through the oven’s window. This beats having to open the door to check on how the baking process is going, which lets out hot air and forces the oven to heat back up again. To keep a kitchen running smoothly, cleaning kitchen appliances is a vital chore.

Trying to scrape away rock-hard, baked-on messes can scratch and damage the oven’s interior surface, so the best way to clean them is to apply an oven cleaner, wait until the mess dissolves, and then simply wipe it away. The best oven cleaner works quickly and doesn’t leave smelly or hazy residue behind. This list of top choices considers common uses for oven cleaner and reviews the formulas so you can choose the one that is right for you.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Easy Off Professional Fume Free Max Oven Cleaner
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Member’s Mark Oven, Grill and Fryer Cleaner
  3. BEST PASTE: Stax Astonish Oven & Cookware Cleaner Paste
  4. BEST RACK CLEANER: Carbona 2-In-1 Oven Rack and Grill Cleaner
  5. BEST FOR LIGHT MESS: Astonish Oven Cleaner 128 ounce
  6. BEST FOR GREASE: Diversey Breakup Oven Cleaner CBD991206
  7. BEST NATURAL: EcoGurus Natural Cleaner & Sponge Stove Oven Cooktop
  8. BEST SCENT: Method, Spray Kitchen Degreaser, 28 Ounce
The Best Oven Cleaner Option

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Oven Cleaner

Ovens get messy; that’s just a fact of life, and cleaning an oven isn’t among the most appealing of household chores. The right products, however, can make the task quicker and less messy. When selecting an oven cleaner, take the time to consider a few factors, such as the type (and amount) of burned-on mess, how you must apply the product, and whether you prefer natural ingredients over chemicals.

Whichever is the case, for the best results, don’t let oven messes build up until there’s a month’s worth of burned-on sugar, unsightly carbon deposits, and hardened spills on the oven’s bottom. The best way to clean an oven is to do it regularly to keep gunk from accumulating.

Intended Use

The more challenging the spills, the more cleaning power is needed. Mild oven cleaners are well suited for cleaning the entire oven to remove minimal spills and debris. For built-up messes that have been in the oven for weeks, meaning they’ve glazed over and hardened, heftier cleaners are often necessary. They may also require multiple applications of a cleaner and even some scrubbing.

When selecting an oven cleaner, the user might not need, nor want, the most potent cleaner, which usually goes hand-in-hand with an overpowering chemical smell. In general, use the mildest cleaner that will still get rid of carbon deposits and burned-on spills.

Form

Different types of messes call for various ways to clean an oven. Cleaners come in a handful of types, and some are better suited than others to specific oven-cleaning tasks. Within the following types, shoppers will find products designed for use in either a heated oven or a cold oven. Some are suitable for either temperature option, with the cold option requiring more time to work. Most products also are ideal for cleaning stove burners as well as oven interiors.

  • Liquid concentrate: For frequent oven cleaning, a concentrated liquid makes sense. This type of product requires dilution with water before applying by sponge or spray to the oven surface. The upside to a concentrated cleaner is that the concentration can be strengthened if the burned-on messes are especially difficult to remove. They’re typically also budget-friendly and come in bulk-size containers for enough product to clean commercial cook spaces.
  • Spray: Just spray and wait for the product to work before wiping away with a sponge or soft cloth. Many oven cleaners come in spray form, each requiring different wait times, depending on strength. With nothing to mix, spray cleaners are easy to use and versatile.
  • Foam: Foam oven cleaners also go on as sprays, but rather than liquid running down the oven walls, the spray quickly expands into a foam that sticks, making it more efficient for cleaning vertical oven walls. Like with liquid sprays, the user simply wipes away the foam and, along with it, the dissolved mess. Foam also works well for cleaning oven window glass; it clings to the glass while softening and dissolving carbon stains so they wipe away easily.
  • Paste: For cleaning small areas, such as a small burned-on spill in an otherwise clean oven, paste cleaners shine. The user applies the paste directly to the spill. When the mess dissolves, it’s simple to just wipe it away.
  • Self-clean: It would be remiss not to mention one of the handiest types of oven cleaning methods around: the self-cleaning function on a newer oven. To use this function, cooks lock the oven door and then select the self-cleaning mode. Rather than removing oven racks, which is necessary when using a chemical cleaner, the racks remain in place during the self-cleaning process. The oven heats to a scorching 900 degrees or so, which burns off stuck-on messes without the use of cleaners. The process typically takes two to four hours, and the oven remains locked until the process is complete.

Natural vs. Chemical Ingredients

Until the past decade or so, nearly all commercial oven cleaners contained caustic chemicals that filled the kitchen with fumes disagreeable enough to run most family members out of the house. Chemical cleaners still are big sellers because they’re effective at removing stubborn burned-on messes, but a handful of oven cleaners containing less-caustic, natural ingredients are also available.

These eco-friendly cleaners might contain baking soda, vinegar, or lemon to help remove oven messes. Natural ingredients typically are not as potent as chemicals, but if the messes are minimal, they’re a practical and eco-friendly option. Plus, oven cleaners with natural ingredients are less smelly than those with chemicals.

Application Time

How long it takes an oven cleaner to dissolve heat-hardened messes depends on the thickness of the mess, the strength of the product, and whether the oven is heated. Some oven cleaners will dissolve light messes in as little as 15 minutes, and others work best if applied and then left on overnight. It doesn’t hurt to have a couple of different types of oven cleaner products on hand to suit cleaning and baking schedules.

Our Top Picks

To qualify as a top pick, an oven cleaning product must be easy to use and should be tough enough to remove hardened, greasy, or sticky spots quickly. In addition, it should clean away carbon deposits. However, be aware that commercial oven cleaners should not be used in self-cleaning ovens. They can damage the oven’s liner and cause etching, which could keep the self-cleaning function from operating correctly.

Best Overall

The Best Oven Cleaner Option: Easy-Off Professional Fume Free Max Oven Cleaner
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Easy Off created a powerful aerosol oven cleaner that doesn’t produce fumes. Like its heavy-duty oven-cleaning big brother, Easy Off Professional Fume Free Oven Cleaner tackles tough burned-on spots with ease. It takes slightly longer to work—40 minutes in a cold oven as opposed to 20 minutes for the heavy-duty version—but the entire family will breathe a little easier while it’s working.

Easy Off Fume-Free Cleaner won’t irritate skin either, so there’s no need to don those elbow-length rubber gloves before cleaning the oven. Users just spray it on, close the oven, and let it sit for 40 minutes before wiping away residue with a clean, damp rag.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Oven Cleaner Option: Member's Mark Oven, Grill and Fryer Cleaner
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An effective oven cleaner doesn’t have to cost a fortune. This affordable Member’s Mark Oven, Grill, and Fryer Cleaner contians three 32-ounce bottles and one spray-foam trigger that can work on all three bottles for plenty of grease-cutting power. This restaurant-quality oven cleaner works on hot surfaces, so there’s no need to let the oven cool down before spraying messes that bubbled over while baking.

This Member’s Mark Cleaner, a Sam’s Club brand, also removes built-up carbon deposits that can alter the taste of baked food, and it starts working in seconds. No scrubbing or scraping is needed with this powerful oven cleaner that won’t leave a white residue behind.

Best Paste

The Best Oven Cleaner Option: Stax Astonish Oven & Cookware Cleaner Paste
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Tackling tough, baked-on messes is easy—and less smelly—with Stax Astonish Oven and Cookware Cleaner, which comes in a handy paste form. Astonish packs a powerful punch when dealing with baked-on and caked-on messes. Users apply the paste with a damp nylon scouring pad, rub it into the spot or stain, and then wipe away the excess with a clean, damp rag.

Heavy burned-on grease might require a bit of light scrubbing, but it can be well worth the extra effort to use an animal cruelty-free product that’s easy on the hands and won’t create fumes. Plus, it is easier to apply a paste only where it’s needed, leaving no overspray to wipe away. Buyers will receive two 150-gram containers of Astonish paste with their order.

Best Rack Cleaner

The Best Oven Cleaner Option: Carbona 2-In-1 Oven Rack and Grill Cleaner
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Cleaning oven racks can present a challenge because most oven cleaners instruct to remove the cooking racks from the oven before applying the cleaner to the oven’s interior. That’s where the Carbona 2-in-1 Oven Rack and Grill Cleaner comes in handy. It only involves placing one or two oven racks into the included large cleaning bag, pouring in the liquid Carbona cleaner, and then zipping the bag closed and letting the cleaner go to work.

Turn the bag over once or twice to evenly disperse the cleaning solution, and let the bag sit for eight hours. When time’s up, all that’s left is to remove the racks and rinse off residual cleaner. Each 16.8-ounce bottle comes with disposable gloves and a bag that holds two racks.

Best for Light Mess

Best Oven Cleaner

To remove light spills and grease, the fume-free Astonish Oven Cleaner sprays on uniformly and quickly begins to dissolve burned-on gunk. The Astonish spray works well between full oven cleanings to keep an oven-fresh and looking new with maintenance cleaning.

Like other Astonish oven cleaning products, this spray doesn’t emit harsh fumes and won’t irritate the skin. Just spray it on, let it sit a few minutes, and wipe the oven surface clean with a damp dishrag.

Best for Grease

The Best Oven Cleaner Option: Diversey Breakup Oven Cleaner CBD991206
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Baked-on grease doesn’t stand much of a chance against the Diversey Breakup Oven Cleaner. This powerful oven cleaner goes to work immediately to start dissolving grime and the toughest greasy messes on contact. Bubbled-over cheese and casserole ingredients have met their match with this product that breaks down oily spills and drippy messes.

It’s possible to cut oven cleaning time in half with this powerful Diversey product. Simply spray on grease stains and wait a few minutes before wiping away—the spray can work when held at any angle, so users can reach all those out-of-the-way spots at the back of the oven. Diversey is also well suited for cleaning greasy messes from pots and fryers.

Best Natural

The Best Oven Cleaner Option: EcoGurus Natural Cleaner & Sponge Stove Oven Cooktop
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For a more natural solution to the problem of oven messes, look to EcoGurus cleaning paste, which contains plant-based ingredients that effectively dissolve greasy and burned-on spills. This paste-type cleaner doesn’t emit strong fumes and it is easy to use: Just apply a small amount to the mess or spill with the included sponge, wait a few minutes, and then wipe away to reveal a sparkling clean surface.

Glazed-over spills might require light scrubbing. The EcoGurus oven cleaner also is suitable for use on grills and cooktops and won’t irritate the skin. For the best results, use EcoGurus on spills soon after they occur when they’re easiest to remove.

Best Scent

The Best Oven Cleaner Option: Method, Spray Kitchen Degreaser, 28 Ounce
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Oven cleaners don’t have to stink, and disagreeable fumes are a thing of the past with Method Spray Kitchen Degreaser. The cleaner makes quick work of getting rid of greasy oven spills while emitting the refreshing aroma of lemongrass. Burned-on messes and bubbled-over spills dissolve quickly with this fresh-smelling cleaner that can also be used in other areas of the kitchen.

The Method cleaner contains nontoxic, plant-based ingredients that rival chemicals for quickly dissolving and removing tough oven messes. The product comes in a handy spray for directing on small spills or for coating the entire oven interior when a deep clean is necessary. Using Method spray regularly can help keep drips and spills from building up and glazing.

FAQs About Oven Cleaners

When oven spills are neglected, they can smoke and put off odors that affect the taste of baked goods, and they can trigger oven fires. Keeping an oven clean doesn’t have to be a disagreeable task. Those who are new to oven cleaning will likely have a few questions about choosing the best oven cleaner for their needs.

Q. Will oven cleaner damage a self-cleaning oven?

It very well could. Using a cleaner on a self-cleaning oven can cause etching of the oven’s interior liner and could interfere with the oven’s self-cleaning process.

Q. Should I use the oven cleaner on a hot oven?

Some cleaners are hot-oven–safe, and others are not, so read the directions carefully.

Q. How do I get baked-on grease off my oven?

Use a cleaner specifically made for dissolving greasy spills, such as our “Best Scent” pick in this lineup, Method Spray Kitchen Degreaser.

Q. What is the fastest way to clean the bottom of the oven?

Before applying oven cleaner, place a pot of boiling water on the oven’s lowest rack, and close the door for 15 minutes. The hot steam will help loosen the baked-on spills so the oven cleaner works quickly and effectively.