You Should Be Cleaning Your Oven More Often Than You Think

For home cooks and seasoned chefs, it's possible that life wouldn't be the same without the use of a trusty oven. From roasting veggies to baking a decadent dessert, and not to mention, a one-stop-shop for busy days and easy dinner recipes, there isn't much an oven can't do. But unfortunately, we often take this mighty kitchen staple for granted, especially when it comes to keeping it clean.

If you can't remember the last time you cleaned your oven, it's more than likely that it's overdue for a thorough wipe down. Typically one of the more neglected appliances in your kitchen, the oven tends to be often forgotten and only cleaned when before and after special occasions, like holidays or when you're hosting get-togethers. But that annual cleaning is not enough to keep your oven looking shiny, new, and germ-free if you constantly use it, Good Housekeeping explains. Here's how to tell if your oven is in need of a good scrub and how often you should be doing so.

When in doubt, reach for the sponge

While there is no concrete rule when it comes to how frequently you should be cleaning your oven, it ultimately boils down to use, according to Martha Stewart. If you find you're using your oven a handful of times a week, you should be deep cleaning the oven about every three months to avoid any residue buildup or unwanted smoke (via NBC News). However, a light cleaning after each use will make those deep cleanings go much more smoothly.

While most modern ovens have self-cleaning features that use high heat to burn off food residue, it's important to note that this cleaning cycle can take between two to five hours and is known to create fumes and some smoke (via Martha Stewart). If you rather skip the self-cleaning option or don't have access to it, simply use a sponge or brush and a soapy water solution or baking soda to scrub it down. For tougher buildup and stains, opt for a store-bought cleaner to help cut through the grease.