It’s spring and time to clean – but don't forget your oven. It might look fine from the outside when the door’s shut, but inside some ovens can be greasy, grimy and very unhygienic.
You could, of course, pay a professional company to come and clean your oven, with prices for a single oven at around £50.
But if you want to save money and are happy to use a little elbow grease, try some of these tips to end up with a gleaming oven – and vow to keep on top of it in future!
1. Make your own cleaning products
Mix half a cup of bicarbonate of soda or baking soda (note - not baking powder) with about three tablespoons of water to make a spreadable paste. Take all racks and trays out of the oven and coat the insides with the paste, avoiding the heating elements.
Leave the paste on for at least 12 hours or overnight. Meanwhile, clean your oven racks either with your usual cleaning products (giving them a good rinse afterwards), or by soaking them for a few hours in hot water and dishwasher powder in the sink or bath.
After the 12 hours have passed, wipe out the dried bicarb paste in the oven with a damp cloth and use a spatula or a spoon to prise off the really tough bits. Then put some white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray everywhere you can still see bicarb residue. The vinegar will foam slightly, then wipe it away with a damp cloth and repeat if necessary before replacing your lovely clean oven racks.
2. Buy oven cleaner
Use a shop-bought oven cleaner, let it soak in as instructed and then scrub out. Make sure the kitchen is well-ventilated during the cleaning process, and wear rubber gloves.
3. For an electric oven, use ammonia
For electric ovens only (this method is unsafe in gas ovens), briefly warm the oven to 150°F (65°C), and then turn it off before placing a bowl containing half a cup of ammonia on the top shelf and a large pan of boiling water on the bottom.
Close the door and leave the pan and bowl in there overnight. Remove them the next day and let the oven air a bit before wiping it with ammonia and a little dishwashing liquid diluted in a bowl of warm water.
4. Clear out the grime
If you're lucky enough to have a self-cleaning oven, you'll still need to get the grimy residue out after it's finished. Instead of using paper towels, just crumple up some moistened newspaper sheets and use them to wipe the inside.
5. Stop stains baking on
When food spills in your oven, don't let it bake on and cool. Instead, throw some salt on it while it's still liquid, and then, when the oven cools, you’ll be able to easily wipe up the spill with a cloth. Use the same technique for spills on the hob.
6. Use vinegar
For less grimy ovens, use a solution of white vinegar and water to wipe the inside.
What's the best way you've found to clean your oven? Tell us in the Comments section below.