How to Clean Your Oven Without Harsh Chemicals (Steam Cleaning Guide)

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Many people resort to using harsh chemicals to clean their oven to get rid of dirt and grime. 

However, if you’re like me and not a big fan of using potentially dangerous chemicals in and around the places you have food, then steam cleaning your oven may be a good alternative. 

Steam cleaning your oven is not only safe and natural, but it’s also very effective at removing grime and killing up to 99% of germs. 

Let’s have a look in more detail at cleaning your oven using steam.  

Best way to remove oven dirt and grime

Do you seem to be getting lingering smells in your kitchen, long after you have finished cooking and your cooker has cooled down? 

That’s because your oven is dirty. And not just any old dirt, but the kind that builds up over time from cooking food at high temperatures.  

So, what’s the best way to remove the grime and lingering smells? 

Steam cleaners are an amazing chemical-free way of removing dirt and grime buildups. It doesn’t matter how big or how old the build-up is, steam cleaners release high temperature (212 °F or boiling point) water vapors, which penetrate deep within the dirt. The steam softens and loosens dirt and grime to be easily wiped away.  

As a steam cleaner only uses water (unlike chemical products), it doesn’t leave a chemical residue behind which can affect your cooking or react to the oven’s heat.  

Steam cleaning oven guide

Follow our professional step-by-step oven cleaning guide to remove all dirt and grime build-ups in 10-15mins.  

Step1 – Prepare your steam cleaner, fill the tank to the ‘max’ line with distilled water and turn power onto high. Whilst waiting for the steam cleaner to heat, turn off the oven by the wall switch.  

  • We recommend using a handheld steam cleaner, but the process can be used for a not-so-portable device also. 

Step2 – Fit a stainless-steel brush head attachment to the end of your device, or other attachments that can be used to remove dirt effectively, such as a scraper head.  

Step3 – Use the machine to start removing the dirt. Using your chosen attachment, start by removing dirt and grime from top to bottom (this method will stop any dirt going onto cleaned surfaces). To remove the dirt effectively, use a forward and backwards movement. Remember not to push down too hard and allow the steam to do the work.  

  • Use caution when using steam cleaners in confined spaces as the hot steam can scald you.  

Step4 – Removing the dirt. As steam cleaners will only loosen the dirt, use a sponge or cloth to wipe away the excess dirt. 

This process can be repeated as often as necessary without harming your oven’s surfaces.

Does steam cleaning affect your oven’s thermometer level?

All ovens are made with a built-in thermometer, this makes sure you’re cooking your food at the correct temperature to prevent uncooked food and food poisoning. But can steam cleaning affect it? 

Steam cleaning your oven doesn’t affect your thermometer’s temperature measurement. However, your thermometer could already be giving you an incorrect temperature reading. 

Cook illustrated found that built-in oven thermometers could be off by as much as 50 degrees. As your oven places the location of its thermometer purposely nowhere near your food, the thermometer only takes the temperature of one spot. Can this be fixed?  

Luckily, you can purchase a separate thermometer which can be located near or on your oven-cooked food, to allow you to get a more specific temperature measurement.

Why you shouldn’t use chemicals when cleaning your oven

Using chemicals when cleaning your oven may not just affect your food’s taste but your health as well.  

When cleaning your oven with cleaning chemicals there is a possibility that the cleaner can leave a chemical residue on your oven’s surfaces. This chemical residue, when in contact with heat, can produce a toxic smell that can get into your food when cooking.  

Most oven cleaners contain harsh chemicals such as Sodium Hydroxide and Butoxydiglycol; these chemicals can cause skin irritation if in contact with your eyes can lead to blindness and the vapor produced breathed into the lungs can trigger asthma attacks.

If using these chemicals in cleaning, take necessary precautions to protect yourself.  

Can you leave oven racks in when steam cleaning?

Steam cleaning is a chemical-free way to remove dirt, grease, and grime from your oven’s surfaces but does the steam affect your oven racks?  

Unless the manufacturing company states that the racks must be washed by hand, steam cleaning with the rack in the oven or steam cleaning the racks independently will be fine.  

If the manufacturing company states to wash the racks by hand, we recommend listening as some racks will not be as high quality and might not withstand the cleaning process.

The racks may discolor and lose their protective coating which helps them to slide them in and out of the oven smoothly.  


A steam cleaner is a great way to break down the dirt, grease, and grime built up over time inside your oven. Steam loosens the dirt and grime, making it easy to wipe clean.  

Steam cleaning doesn’t affect your oven’s thermometer temperature reading, but it may already be wrong.  

Unless stated by the manufacturing company to wash by hand, oven racks are able to be steam cleaned without destroying their protective coating.  

Steam is a chemical-free alternative to using chemical oven cleaners which contain Sodium Hydroxide and Butoxydiglycol, which used incorrectly can cause health issues. 

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