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How to Steam Clean Ovens: No Scouring Necessary

Did someone say “no scrubbing”?

We’ve all been confronted with the dreaded dirty oven. There’s a point where you can’t put it off any longer: the grime and gunk have to go.

For most of us, oven cleaning entails plenty of harsh chemicals and hard work. You hold your nose, get your gloves on and scrub until you can’t feel your arms any longer.

Our guide on how to steam clean ovens can offer you a simple alternative. Choose the method that best suits you and your oven best. Learn how to perform each one and stay safe in our comprehensive guide.

Key Takeaways

  • Steam cleaning ovens is a non-toxic, low-effort alternative to using harsh chemicals for cleaning.
  • Four methods for steam cleaning ovens include using self-clean steam, ammonia, vinegar, or a steam cleaner.
  • For a safer cleaning process, follow manufacturer guidelines and take necessary precautions.
  • To maintain a clean oven, use preventive measures such as placing aluminum foil on the bottom rack to catch spills.

Why Steam Clean Your Oven?

As you likely know, crusty oven mess doesn’t come off without a fight. That’s why typical oven cleaning agents are packed with harsh chemicals.

Popular brands such as Easy-Off come with a litany of warnings. Inhaling or touching the product can cause burns, only apply with rubber gloves, etc. (1).

Oven scouring pads containing lye were reported to have corrosive consequences (2). Toxicity from coming into contact with oven cleaners, in general, is well-documented (3).

In comparison, steam is nothing to play around with; it can result in scalds if mishandled. Little ones are particularly vulnerable to steam-related scalds (4).

Nonetheless, it’s a non-toxic, low-effort alternative to dangerous chemicals. If you decide to try our one chemical option (ammonia), you shouldn’t get overwhelmed.

How to Steam Clean Ovens

We understand that everyone is working with different preferences and equipment. So we offer four methods to work for all ovens and all people.

You don’t need a modern oven or specialized tools to benefit from steam. For those of you who have these things, we’ll tell you how to use them.

1. Using Self-Clean Steam

Take a quick peek at your oven. Do you see an option that reads “steam clean” anywhere on the control panel?

If so, your model is equipped to steam itself clean. Typically, there’s little intervention required on your behalf.

All you have to do is add water into your oven and set it to steam. The exact instructions and quantity of water will depend on your specific model. Consult the manufacturer guidelines and follow the included directions.

2. Steam Clean Oven With Ammonia

For plenty of people, ammonia is a go-to solution for cleaning jobs great and small. If you fall into this category, follow the steps below:

  1. Preheat oven: Set your oven to the lowest temperature and switch it on.
  2. Boil water: Bring water to a boil in your biggest oven-safe dish or pan.
  3. Insert large container: Once the oven is heated, put your oven-safe container (e.g., a casserole dish) on the bottom rack of your oven.
  4. Switch oven off: Turn your oven off; you don’t need the heat anymore.
  5. Add ammonia: Get another oven-safe container or bowl and set it on the top rack. Pour no more than one cup of ammonia into it. Re-insert the rack.
  6. Shut oven door and leave overnight: Close your oven door and leave the steamy ammonia to work overnight.
  7. Air oven out: The next morning, open the kitchen windows and let your oven air out for at least 15 minutes. The stench of ammonia will likely be pretty powerful. Quarantine the kitchen so that no one inhales ammonia fumes (5).
  8. Wipe away gunk: Put your gloves on. You should find that stubborn debris comes off easily. Mix the ammonia bowl into the water container and dunk your sponge into it for an added boost.
  9. Clean residue: Clean your oven with plain water on a sponge or rag until no traces of ammonia (odor or liquid) remain.


Ammonia is flammable. If you have a gas oven, don’t forget to switch off the gas and turn off the pilot light in your gas oven once it’s heated up (6).

3. Steam Clean Oven With Vinegar

Are you the sort who prefers chemical-free cleaning? Then distilled white vinegar should do the trick. Vinegar is acidic, which makes it an ideal non-toxic cleaner (7).

  1. Heat up oven: Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a self-clean steaming option, you’ll select that instead.
  2. Choose oven-safe container: Choose a large bowl, dish, or pan that isn’t too deep. You want the steam to billow throughout the oven. Set it on the top rack.
  3. Mix vinegar and water: Mix one part vinegar with one part water. If your oven is in rough shape, you can use pure vinegar instead.
  4. Pour solution in: Carefully fill the container with your vinegar solution. Don’t overdo it; if it’s full to the brim, removing it may be hard later.
  5. Wait and watch: Keeping your oven on, let the vinegar work its magic. Let it steam for no less than 20 minutes and no more than one hour. Monitor it periodically. If you see all the liquid in your container has evaporated, switch the oven off.
  6. Let oven cool and clean: Once the oven is cooled down, pop it open and wipe it down with a scrubby sponge. Use a plastic spatula tool for tougher grime. Don’t postpone doing this (e.g., waiting hours after it’s cool), or the debris won’t loosen as easily.

4. Using A Steam Cleaner

Steam cleaners are handy devices that can make quick work of tedious jobs. If you don’t have one at home, see if you can rent one.

  1. Remove racks: Take your racks out of the oven so that you can access the whole appliance with your steam cleaner.
  2. Prepare steam cleaner: Fill up the water tank and let the gadget heat up, as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Attach accessory of choice: If you have a scrub brush attachment, now is the time to use it. It can help with particularly neglected ovens.
  4. Start steaming: Run the steam slowly over your oven’s walls, ceiling, and floor. Wipe away the dirty water and melted gunk with a sponge, rag, or paper towel.


Is It Better to Clean Oven Warm or Cold?

Knowing if it is better to steam clean an oven, warm or cold, depends on the oven. Some are easier to clean when warm, while others de-grease better when cold.

How Do Steam Self-cleaning Ovens Work?

Steam self-cleaning ovens work by blasting heat or steam inside the oven chamber to degrease and melt away food stains. Cleaning is much easier and it stops burned-on food morsels from sticking to the oven walls.

How Do You Clean the Glass on the Oven Door?

One of the best ways to clean the glass on the oven door is to use baking soda and vinegar. Make a paste and gently rub it over the glass surface with a cloth. Leave it to sit for 10 minutes or so, depending on the level of staining, and then wipe it clean.

How Do I Get My Oven Racks Shiny Again?

The best way to get your oven racks clean again is to remove them and place them in warm water with dishwasher detergent. Let them soak for three or four hours, and the grease and stains should lift free.

Praise the Steam

Oven-cleaning duty no longer has to be a punishment with steam. We hope you’ve found a technique that appeals to you in our guide.

One Last Tip

Did you know you could remove your oven door while cleaning? If you want to get into those hard-to-reach areas, find detailed manufacturer’s instructions online (8).

One way to reduce how often you need to steam clean your oven is prevention. Place aluminum foil on your bottom rack to catch spills.

Be careful when putting food in and taking food out. Small precautions like this can keep the interior of your oven looking clean for longer.

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About the Author

Amy Anthony

Amy Anthony is a cleaning expert, author, and contributing writer for Oh So Spotless, a leading online resource for all things related to cleaning, organizing, and maintaining a spotless home. With over 15 years of experience in the cleaning industry, Amy has gained extensive knowledge and expertise that have made her a trusted authority on best practices, efficient techniques, and innovative cleaning solutions.