Deep Clean Week 12: The Oven, Range and Microwave

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Welcome to week 12 of The Deep Clean Challenge.

If you’re just joining us, so far, as part of The Deep Clean Challenge, we have:

You didn’t think that we would go through the entire deep clean series and never get to the oven, did you? No one likes to clean the oven, especially if it gets used a lot. It’s not just you, we all dread it.

First, I want to establish that here at we live by the standard Know better, do better and this applies to all areas of our lives, including the advice we give. In the past, we have recommended using the self-clean feature on your ovens. Over time though, our stance on this is changing.

If you have a self-cleaning oven. It is up to you to determine whether or not you wish to use this feature. Appliance repair people often suggest not using this option.

Why? The oven gets so hot during the self-clean cycle that it can damage two important parts of the oven the control board and the thermostat. Replacing these items can be costly and depending on the tier of your appliance, it may be more cost-effective to replace the appliance than to repair it. We don’t want to contribute to waste or unnecessary spending.

Please choose whether or not to use the self-clean cycle on your oven based on your best judgment and follow the instructions in your operator’s manual, if you choose to use it.

If you do go ahead with the self-cleaning option, don’t forget to remove the racks and any big chunks of food from the bottom of the oven first. We don’t want you starting any fires. Also do not leave the house while the self-cleaning cycle is running.

Why are we cleaning the oven, range, and microwave?

Ten weeks ago we deep cleaned the kitchen, but if you remember that handy dandy printable/checklist, we did not deep clean the stove or oven. Why? It’s simple, time constraints. The goal of The Deep Clean Challenge is to not force you to give up your entire day off to clean your home. The Deep Clean Challenge’s goal is to spend no more than two hours focused on improving an area of your home. So, this week, we’re back in the kitchen and focusing on an aspect we did not get to.

What tools do we need to clean the oven, range, and microwave?

  • microwave safe bowl
  • distilled vinegar
  • sponge with a scrubby side (or a ScrubDaddy, love those)
  • degreaser
  • trash bags
  • If your kitchen is not well-ventilated a fan
  • Barkeepers Friend or
  • Oven Cleaner
  • paper towels / rags
  • elbow grease
  • optional – a scraper

How do we get started cleaning the oven, range, and microwave?

Normally when we clean we take a top to bottom, left to right, dry to wet approach. When cleaning your oven/range, I, personally, find it much easier to get the worst over with. Gather your tools, and your patience put on your gloves and let’s do this.

How long should cleaning the oven, range, and microwave take?

This task may take the full two hours unless you have recently cleaned your oven.

Let’s get started.

NOTE: If you do choose to use the self-cleaning cycle on your oven and your range and oven are part of the same appliance, you will want to clean your range top first. You don’t want to heat up whatever chemical you choose to clean your range with.

Regardless of how you plan on cleaning your oven, start by removing the racks, scraping off what you can, spraying the racks down with oven cleaner and then tying them into a trash bag. Set the bag either outside or in a well-ventilated spot where it won’t get tripped over. The oven cleaner will work on the racks while you focus on other tasks.

Now, clean your range/stove-top. If you have an electric range with coils, remember that you can probably lift the top of the range after removing the coils. Do that and clean up any spills from underneath. Doing this regularly can help prevent a small grease fire from getting out of control. (Many people don’t know the tops lift and lots of grease and crumbs can accumulate over the years providing plenty of fuel.)

Once your range is clean, clean your oven. Remember, please follow the label’s instructions on your oven cleaner. If the room needs to be well-ventilated, do not ignore the warnings. We like our skin, our sinuses, and our lung tissue, let’s not damage them. Use a fan, open a window, turn on the vent hood.

You may have seen TikToks or Reels that show you how “easy” it is to take your oven door apart to clean the inside of the glass. . . Please consult your owners manual before taking that approach. It may not be as easy to put back together as it is to take apart. If you do not have your owners manual look all over your appliance for a metal rectangle with writing on it. This will have the model number of your appliance. Then search for the manufacturer of the appliance, the model number and owners manual. Your search will look something like: Kenmore #stringofnumbersandletters owners manual and you will find it available for download as a PDF.

If you have a gas range, please pay particular attention to the safety warnings associated with your appliance and do not spray any chemicals near open flames.

During any wait time that you have, give your microwave a thorough cleaning. Just keep repeating the steam process until you’ve worked through the layers of cooked on gunk. (Yes, that IS the technical term, thank you very much.)

Ready, set, go!


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5 thoughts on “Deep Clean Week 12: The Oven, Range and Microwave”

  1. Nancy and I have found the best way to keep the oven clean – we never use it!! Stays so much cleaner that way. 🙂 We just go out to eat or order delivery. Sometimes cook on the grill outside. Now if there a way to put the entire oven in the dishwasher, I might use it more …

    • You must be part of the new wave of consumers who prefer to get their meals fully cooked rather than learning the art of cooking. That’s great is your budget allows such a luxury, but do you have anything stocked up in the pantry. for those days when you can’t get prepared food delivery. From a historical view, when apartment living first started up, there were no stoves in the rooms, and all meals had to be brought in, via the concierge service desk procurement, because most apartment dwellers were not family groups.

      • Michael is mostly teasing me. He’s actually a great baker and made us a pie the last time he and his wife went to NC in the fall. Be prepared to take everything he types with a grain of salt

        • Guess I need to stop being obnoxious!! Sorry…. but honestly, we do try to cook outside on the grill a lot in the summer just to avoid heating up the house. And we just cool a lot less in general now that we are empty nesters. After having to cook for kids for so many years, it can be an amazing relief to have a sandwich and not cook at all. 🙂

  2. I can attest to the oven being damaged by the self clean function. It’s a GE Profile, so it was worth it to do the repair, but the person who replaced the parts warned me not to use the self clean function again. Ever since, it’s been Easy Off for us. :/


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