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Is Your Dirty Oven Secretly Killing You?

Dirty oven on fireMost people have a love-hate relationship with their oven. Sure, we love what comes out of it, but having to clean it is time-consuming and difficult. Did you know your oven should be cleaned every three to six months? Discover the five dangers of a dirty oven and learn how you can keep your oven clean the easy way.

5 Dangers of a Dirty Oven

  1. Fire- According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2011-2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 170,200 home structure fires that involved cooking equipment per year. Food and grease spills left in an oven can continue to cook while your oven is on. Not only can this ruin your dinner but it could ruin your evening as well.
  2. Diminished Food Flavor- Not only can a dirty oven cause a fire but it can also lead to diminished food flavor. Carbon-based fumes released by food remnants in your oven can alter the taste of your food, especially baked goods like cakes and breads.
  3. Unpleasant Smell- Have you ever burned dinner? The smell of burned food can linger well into the next day if not longer. When cooking in a dirty oven, the carbon-based fumes released by cooked-on food can result in an unpleasant smell in your kitchen. This smell can linger and even spread to the rest of your home. Could you imagine hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the in-laws only to have the smell of burned food lingering in your kitchen? Your mother-in-law wouldn’t be impressed.
  4. Health Issues- When you open the door of your oven, does smoke pour out? Chances are you either burned your dinner or you’ve got some baked-on grease and grime creating the smoke. Inhaling this smoke can cause respiratory issues. When your oven is coated in baked on food and grime, cancer causing compounds from charred meat or fish can make their way onto your food and cause harm.
  5. Less Efficient- When your oven isn’t as clean as it should be the cooking process can take longer making your oven less efficient and driving up your utility bill. No grime is worth a higher electric bill.

What to do if Your Oven Catches Fire

Would you know what to do if your oven was to catch fire? Check out these tips so you can be prepared if the unthinkable ever happens to you.

  1. Leave your oven door closed and turn off your oven – Although this may seem like something you would never want to do, opening the open door will only feed oxygen to the fire, causing it to expand. By keeping the door closed and turning off your oven, you are depriving the fire of oxygen. When you are sure the fire is out you can proceed with step 3.
  2. If the fire does not go out on its own, evacuate your home and call 911– DO NOT try to fight the fire on your own. The National Fire Protection Association, found that more than half (55%) of reported non-fatal home cooking fire injuries occurring between 2011 and 2015 happened when the victims tried to fight the fire themselves.
  3. If the fire goes out on its own open your widows, carefully open your oven door, remove the hot pan, and determine the cause of the fire. This will help the smoke to clear out and help you get a better visual of the situation. Allow the smoke to clear before attempting to determine the cause of the fire. If you’ve had a fire in your oven and are unsure of the cause, call to make an appointment before cooking in your oven again.

How to Clean Your Oven Overnight

Don’t want to use harmful chemicals to clean your oven? Don’t have a self-cleaning oven or don’t like the smells your self-cleaning oven emits? This easy overnight method is for you!

What You’ll Need

3 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 cup vinegar

1/8 cup liquid dish soap

2 cups hot water

What to Do

  1. Combine all the ingredients except your baking soda in a spray bottle and shake well.
  2. Spray mixture generously over your oven coating the surface completely.
  3. Sprinkle baking soda generously around your oven. To coat your entire oven you can make a baking soda paste with some baking soda and a few tablespoons of water.
  4. Respray your oven with your vinegar, dish soap, and water mixture.
  5. Let it sit over night or for at least 12 hours.
  6. Wipe out your oven with a damp dish cloth. You could also use a silicone spatula to help scrape off the baking soda paste in the hard to reach places.
  7. Spray a little vinegar anywhere you see baking soda residue. The vinegar will react with the baking soda loosening it so you can scrape it.
  8. Do a final wipe down.
  9. Replace your oven racks.

How to Clean Your Oven Racks

  1. Fill your tub with enough hot water to cover your oven racks.
  2. Add a ½ cup of dish soap or sprinkle baking soda over the racks and douse them with vinegar before soaking them in hot water.
  3. Let your racks sit overnight.
  4. In the morning, scrub your racks with an old dish towel or toothbrush to remove any grime left on your racks.
  5. Rinse them off one more time and place them back in your oven after drying.


When was the last time you cleaned your oven? If you can’t remember, it might be time to break out the baking soda and start the process. A clean oven is a safe oven and a safe oven is a happy oven.