How to Clean the Oven and Other Heating Elements in the Kitchen - dummies

How to Clean the Oven and Other Heating Elements in the Kitchen

By Gill Chilton

It’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning your oven or other heating elements. In particular, you need to know whether your oven has a self-cleaning lining that cleans without chemicals. Instead, matter is burnt off at high temperatures (you may have to be very patient here, we’re talking hours).

If you don’t have your manual, most companies have a website (usually www. the brand you can check. If that doesn’t work, at you can download around 1,000 manuals at!

When you’re sure you have to clean the oven yourself, use a specialist oven cleaner. Follow all cautions Oven cleaners are among the most caustic and toxic substances allowed for home use. Wear gloves and ventilate the room when you apply the cleaner.

Protect your floor by laying down several layers of newspaper to catch any drips. If the grill pan fits totally inside the oven, apply cleaner to this too.

Anyone who can’t tolerate caustic chemicals can use the little-and-often method of sprinkling bicarbonate of soda on oven spills and grime, then rubbing with damp wire wool (steel wool). This gets at the worst dirt, but you don’t get shine.

When you splash or spill while cooking, immediately sprinkle some salt on the mess and carry on cooking. When you come to clean up you’ll find that the salt has absorbed the oil or fat and your spill is easy to clean up.

If you can take out the glass in the door, soak it in diluted detergent. Use the same soapy water for the oven racks and scour off any remaining marks with an abrasive pad or wire wool.

The following list tells you how to clean various other heating elements:

  • Gas hob (stovetop): Check the manual to see whether the pan-supports and wells are dishwasher safe. If they are, pop them in the machine, otherwise, dot a thick, abrasive cream cleaner (rather than simply a liquid cleaner) onto a cloth and wipe.

  • Glass top, halogen, and ceramic hobs (stovetop): Do not use chemicals on these types of cooker tops, as they may impair how well your cooker can radiate heat. Consult the manual that comes with your cooker for complete cleaning instructions.

    If you don’t have a manual, a damp cloth will have to do it all. In emergencies, when there is a big spill, use a plastic spatula (but not whilst the surface is still hot) or a hob scraper, sold especially for your oven type. Regularly apply hob conditioner, sold by your cooker company, to glass.

  • Sealed hotplate: Be certain the hotplate is turned off. Use a soap-filled steel-wool pad following any circular lines within the hotplate, rather than cutting right across them. Wipe over using a clean cloth, then warm the hotplate for a few seconds to ensure that it dries. This prevents rusting.

    Many cooker manufacturers sell their own specialist cleaners. Although you pay more – up to double – having exactly the right cleaner may bring you peace of mind.

  • Aga and range cookers: Ovens self-clean, which is just as well since they’re never turned off so they’re never cool enough to clean. Remove large oven-floor deposits with a very stiff bristle brush with a wood handle – plastic might melt! Clean racks in soapy water in the sink.

  • Brush hotplates with a bristle brush. Polish vitreous enamel fronts with a mild abrasive paste. Treat stubborn marks with concentrated washing-up liquid. Damp-wipe stainless steel lids or buff with microfibre cloth.