I have yet to encounter anyone who enjoys cleaning ovens. They are awkward to get at and poor maintenance makes cleaning them dreaded work. The oven is one of those things that can be neglected in the kitchen, out of sight, out of mind; but an oven will make you pay for such negligence! Here are a few options I have found effective for cleaning standard kitchen ovens.
A routine self-clean is very effective but for some folks, the long hours of high heat and the not-so-pleasant odor of many delicious spills of gravy sauce is rather inconvenient. Wait for a cool morning when you can have the windows open for several hours, preferably all day. Early spring and late fall are good times for this. Though I personally have found the self-clean option most effective, there are some substitutes.
For a hot summer day there’s the never failing household go-to, vinegar! Leave a small dish of distilled vinegar overnight in a closed and cool oven. In the morning take a sponge and scotch rite pad with hot water, some good old-fashioned dish soap (like Joy) and scrub away! No harsh fumes! It does work and it does take a good amount of elbow grease. This option is better for light work.
If you have a heavy job but can’t use your self-cleaner, try this great cleaner, Easy-off! Don’t bother looking for the “fume free” stuff; get the blue can, it’s stronger. Wait for a cool morning/evening because of the fumes and wear gloves. Have the windows in the immediate area open when it’s time to wipe out the oven for better ventilation. Follow the directions on the can. You’ll basically spray the foaming solution on the walls of your oven and close the oven door. After 2-4 hours you can literally wipe off the grease and grime with a damp sponge, rinse frequently!
Stovetops are another article in themselves; there are too many model differences to get specific here. There are some wonderful cooktop cleaners for those who want to make their glass top sparkle a bit. My best friend in the kitchen is dish soap, I use Joy soap but Dawn, Palmolive and Ajax also produces great results. Depending on your gas stovetop style, you can remove the grates or burner coils (depends on the model) easily and soak in soapy water, scrub with scratch free pad like Scotch rite. Sometimes it’s best to go over everything with a hot soapy solution and then walk away, leaving the soap to work for 15 minutes or so before returning to wipe clean with greater ease. Vinegar can be excellent here also. The best method for cleaning a stovetop is prevention J daily maintenance is imperative.