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Self-Cleaning vs. Steam Cleaning Ovens

December 17, 2021

Cleaning your oven may not be something that you are thrilled to do, but it is a particularly important part of the cleaning you need to do around the house. Skipping out on cleaning your oven could lead to microbes and other things growing from food spills and grease.

Cleaning an oven

There are plenty of options out there to make cleaning your oven much easier. You can even consider buying a new oven or range that has cleaning options already built into it.

How Often to Clean Your Oven

It is important to make sure that you are routinely cleaning your oven so that you can avoid any major deep cleaning or issues. Not cleaning your oven often enough or well enough can lead to small issues like unpleasant odors or larger issues like food taking longer to cook and your oven not working altogether.

According to you should clean the inside of your oven monthly and the front of the oven door at least once per week. This can also vary depending on frequency in which you can clearly see it is filthy or any odd smells. As far as the cooktop, we recommend cleaning that after every use as it is the easiest thing to keep clean.

Self-Cleaning Ovens

Self-clean features on ovens have been around for an exceptionally long time and are a common feature on ovens today. This option allows you to burn out the mess that is inside of your oven. All you need to do is wipe out the remaining powder once it has your oven has completed a self-cleaning cycle. Utilizing this option is great if you do not have the time and energy to spend on cleaning out your oven.

This process can take several hours and can create a not so desirable odor throughout your home. Some people are also not fans of this process due to the excessive temperatures that the oven can reach. Do not plan to leave the house if you do use this feature and we recommend using the self-cleaning settings on a cooler day, so your air conditioner is not being overworked.

Steam Cleaning Ovens

Steam clean ovens clean more quickly than traditional self-cleaning ovens. Another benefit to the steam clean feature is that high temperatures aren’t required. Although steam cleaning is not the best option for an oven that is extremely dirty, it is great for smaller amounts of buildup and works best the more often you utilize it.

To steam clean your oven according to your model's specifications, check your owner’s manual and follow the instructions.

DIY Steam Cleaning

The good news is, even if you don’t have a steam clean option on your oven can help you steam clean yours. All you will need to do is:

  1. Hand wash your oven racks
  2. Place one of them back into the center of the oven.
  3. Add a casserole dish of water and vinegar onto the rack.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450℉ and let sit for 30 minutes.
  5. Finally, let it all cool down and wipe out the mess.

Hand Cleaning Your Oven

If you do not currently have an oven or range with steam or self-cleaning settings, you will want to handwash your oven. Some people may choose this option as well simply because they prefer it. It comes down to simple elbow grease and your choice of cleaner.

You can either use an oven cleaner to scrub the inside of your oven or you can use baking soda and vinegar paste. To clean your oven with vinegar and baking soda simply:

  1. Remove the oven racks and wash those by hand in your sink or in a large bucket.
  2. Mix baking soda and vinegar until it has a paste-like consistency.
  3. Spread the paste throughout the oven’s interior.
  4. The paste would work best to sit overnight.
  5. Wiped out the next day with a wet rag. You may need to scrape some of the dried mixture off with a scraper.

Howard’s Pro Tip: You can use the baking soda and vinegar to clean the top of the oven as well.

What Method is the Best?

This is not a “one-size-fits-all” situation. The “best” method comes down to your personal preference and the amount of time and effort you are willing to put into it. Although it seems that many people have taken preference to hand cleaning using baking soda and vinegar.

Ultimately, we would say that the best option would be to use all the methods over time. This can help to ensure ease of cleaning and getting the best overall end results.

Whatever your preference ends up being, just make sure that you clean your oven regularly.

Shop for your Oven at Howard’s

Howard’s has been in business for over 75 years and is Southern California’s largest and most trusted appliance retailer. We offer free next-day delivery on purchases over $399 within qualified zip codes scheduled before 5 p.m. in the Southern California area. To make things easier for our customers, we also offer online chat, phone consultations, and online ordering. Shop one of our 15 locations or browse our selection online at

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