Mistakes Everyone Makes When Cleaning The Oven

You know how to use your oven to roast perfectly crispy Brussels sprouts or to sear the juiciest medium-rare steak. You know how to preheat the oven when you're baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies and how to tell if your oven's temperature is even accurate. But are you aware of the one thing you might not know how to do when it comes to your often-used kitchen appliance? How to clean it properly.

Sure, many newer oven models have a self-cleaning function that uses high heat to soften and release crusted-on food. But maybe yours does not have that added feature. Or maybe you simply want to give your oven a thorough cleaning by hand. No matter the reason, there are a few key things you should know about how to clean your oven — and a few key mistakes that most home cooks tend to make. Here is how to scrub and sanitize your appliance the right way.

You don't do it often enough or long enough

For starters, most people probably do not clean their ovens often enough, which is why, when they finally get around to it, it feels like such an impossible chore to tackle. (So much scrubbing!) If you clean your oven more often, it prevents food from building up as much and makes the process much easier. In an interview with Real Simple, an executive director from GE Appliances recommended that you deep clean your oven at least every three to six months and spot clean throughout the month.

Even if you keep your oven fairly spotless, a good cleaning takes time, which is something most people do not allot for. That means a quick wipe through just will not cut it. BobVila.com suggests letting different components in your oven pre-soak to make them easier to clean, some even overnight. For instance, the site advises you to let your oven racks sit in a baking soda "bath" overnight, while you can apply a similar mixture to the oven roof, walls, and floor and let the mixture sit for at least six hours. And voila! Gives new meaning to "clean" cooking, doesn't it?