How to Steam Clean an Oven: 3 Surefire Methods to Get Rid of Baked-On Gunk

Choose one of these approaches to steam clean your oven, eliminating baked-on messes and getting rid of burning smells while baking or roasting.

By Deirdre Mundorf | Updated Apr 25, 2022 12:17 AM

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While important, cleaning the oven is one of those tasks that many homeowners would rather put off. Being up to your elbows in grease and caked-on messes is not how most people prefer to spend the little free time they have. Oven cleaners can help loosen these messes, but many include toxic chemicals, such as sodium hydroxide, ethylene glycol, and dichloromethane.

Steam cleaning is often viewed as the best way to clean an oven in terms of safety and effectiveness. Continue reading to learn how to steam clean your oven using a baking dish, handheld steamer, or built-in steam cleaning setting.

How to Steam Clean an Oven with a Baking Dish

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While there are multiple ways to take advantage of steam power to clean an oven, one approach doesn’t require any special tools or high-end oven settings. You can steam clean an oven using a wide oven-safe baking dish.

SUPPLIES

STEP 1: Add water and vinegar to the casserole dish and place it in the oven.

The first step in cleaning your oven with a casserole dish is to add water and vinegar to the dish. You should use approximately one cup of vinegar and fill the rest of the casserole dish with tap water. Place the casserole dish on the oven’s middle rack and close the oven door.

STEP 2: Set the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and wait 45 minutes.

Next, turn on the oven and set it to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. As the water and vinegar mixture heats up, it will create steam that will help loosen any grease or baked-on messes. Leave the oven on for about 45 minutes to ensure enough steam is produced to be effective.

STEP 3: Turn off the oven and remove the casserole dish.

After 45 minutes pass, turn off the oven. Remove the casserole dish and carefully pour out any remaining liquid. Allow the oven to cool before attempting to wipe it out.

STEP 4: Wipe down the inside of the oven using a sponge or scrubber pad.

Once the oven has fully cooled, use a damp sponge to wipe off grease and gunk. The steam should have helped to loosen baked-on messes, but you may still find it necessary to use a little elbow grease with a scrubber pad in certain areas. Putting some baking soda on the scrubber pad may also help with cleaning up tough spots.

Related: How To Clean Oven Window Glass

How to Steam Clean an Oven with a Handheld Steamer

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If you have a handheld steamer, you likely already know how versatile this tool is. Along with using your steamer for cleaning grout, toilets, and mattresses, you can also use it for cleaning an oven. Read on to learn how to clean the inside of an oven with a handheld steamer.

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STEP 1: Fill the handheld steamer with distilled water and equip the correct attachment.

First, get the steamer ready for use. To do this, you’ll need to add distilled water to the tank and choose the best attachment for cleaning the oven. Each steamer is different, but you’ll want to look for a scraper or brush attachment designed for cleaning hard surfaces. Before you begin cleaning the oven, you should also remove the racks to give yourself space to work. They can be cleaned separately.

STEP 2: Adjust the heat and pressure, turn on the steamer, and move it through the oven.

Consult the user’s manual for your steamer to determine the ideal heat and pressure setting to use. Then, turn on the steamer and slowly move it around the inside of the oven (which should be off and fully cooled). You shouldn’t need to scrub; the hot steam should loosen baked-on gunk for you.

STEP 3: Pause to wipe up loosened gunk and water as you’re working.

Pause the steamer periodically to wipe out the oven using a sponge or cleaning cloth and remove gunk and condensation from the steamer. This will also help you assess how much more steam you need. Continue steam cleaning and wiping out the oven until it’s cleaned to your satisfaction.

Related: How To Clean Any Appliance

How to Steam Clean an Oven with a Built-In Setting

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You may be familiar with self-cleaning ovens, but did you know that some appliances also have a steam-clean oven setting? A steam-clean setting on an oven is typically recommended for lighter messes, while the higher heat, self-cleaning setting may work better for tougher jobs. While the exact steps might vary from one oven to the next, the steps below will walk you through how to clean an oven using a built-in steam cleaning setting.

SUPPLIES

STEP 1: Empty the oven and remove any loose grease or food.

Before using the steam-clean function, you will need to empty the oven while it’s still cool. Take out any cookware or pans, as well as the baking racks. Then, use a cleaning cloth or sponge to loosen up any food stuck inside of the oven.

STEP 2: Fill the reservoir with distilled water and start the steam-clean setting.

Ovens with a self-cleaning feature have a reservoir located somewhere in the bottom of the oven. Consult with your oven’s use and care guide if you are unsure where your reservoir is located. Pour approximately one cup (or whatever your manufacturer recommends) of distilled water into the reservoir. Select the steam-clean setting and allow it to run for the full time—it typically takes between 10 and 30 minutes, but this varies between models.

STEP 3: Let the oven cool, and then wipe out the liquid and gunk.

After the steam-cleaning cycle concludes, let the oven fully cool. Then, use a sponge or rag to wipe out any loosened debris or water.

Final Thoughts

Steam cleaning an oven is an effective way to remove dirt and grime without exposing yourself or others in your home to harmful chemicals. The above methods are feasible options for anyone looking to steam clean their oven, regardless of the tools or specific appliance they own. When steam cleaning an oven, remember to always allow the oven to fully cool before attempting to wipe it out to avoid any burns or injury.