Always Preheat Your Oven To Keep It Cleaner Than Ever

It's generally recommended to give your oven a deep clean every three months, lest the pools of fat or burnt specks of food start smoking and turn into a fire hazard. But let's be honest: No one likes to clean an oven. The baked-on grease on the walls of the appliance is notoriously hard to clean, while the tiniest of spills turn into awfully stubborn stains, and then there is the matter of the glass door that's splattered with all sorts of questionable liquids.

But, an oven only gets worse the longer you leave it alone, as the grime accumulates and becomes more resolute over time. As arduous as cleaning it may be, it is a necessary job, but one that can be made easier with a nifty little trick. Before you bring out the cleaning supplies and get down to scrubbing, make sure that you preheat your oven. 

Preheating will allow months' worth of caked-on grease, muck, and burnt scraps to warm up, soften, and loosen, which means they will be far more pliable and easier to wipe off. Cleaning a warm oven is also much quicker than cleaning a cold one, so preheating it can cut down your scrubbing time considerably, saving you precious minutes along the way.

Safety tips when preheating an oven for cleaning

Preheating an oven before cleaning it may change your life for the better, but it's important to keep a few things in mind when doing so, especially since you're working with an electronic appliance, heat, liquids, and detergents. When you preheat an oven for cleaning, you ideally want the temperature to be at a low 200 degrees Fahrenheit so that any cleaning agents don't harm the coating inside the appliance while working their way through the stubborn grime.

Once the oven has preheated to a low temperature, it's also crucial to let it cool down a bit. Working on an oven while it's still warm could cause you to burn yourself and the high temperature can even react toxically with the chemicals in your cleaning supplies. There is also the risk of starting a fire if you try to clean heating elements like the coils on the top and the bottom of an oven when they are still hot, so it may be best to steer clear of these components entirely when using this hack.

More cleaning tricks while you wait for the oven to preheat

This preheating tip alone will make it easier to clean your oven, but there are more ways to make the job even more effortless. Rather than waiting for the empty oven to preheat and cool, you can place certain DIY cleansing solutions inside so that they steam-clean the interiors of the appliance as they bake. The best part is that these solutions can be made from ingredients likely sitting in your pantry right now. 

One way to do so is to fill a baking tray with boiling water, and add equal parts of vinegar to it — one cup of each should do the trick — and then place the tray in a hot oven for 20 minutes or so. The steam from the vinegar water will degrease all the gunk, which can then be scraped off or scrubbed using dishwashing liquid.

Another pantry staple that can be just as effective of a solution is the good ol' lemon. Add a few lemon slices to a baking tray filled with water and place it in an oven while you wait for it to preheat. Give the cleansing lemon water just under a half-hour to work its magic, after which you should be able to dip a cloth into the solution and wipe all the muck off like soft butter. No matter which concoction you choose to go with, these tips will make your oven a little less daunting to clean.