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Oven Cleaning with Ammonia

Why Steam Clean Your Oven?

Our ovens can get filthy fast. Casseroles and cakes boil over, food is dropped or spilled on the way out — basically, accidents happen.

When these things occur, you can’t do anything but watch it be burnt to a crisp. Because to clean it off, you have to wait until the oven cools down completely.

By then, you’ve likely moved on to other activities. Meanwhile, all that splatter and fallen food stay exactly where they are.

As you likely know, this kind of 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).

At the same time, the nature of the job makes it hard to keep a distance. You have to reach into your oven to distribute and scrub it in, exposing yourself further.

Afterward, you have to take care to ensure that no residue is left behind. After all, you don’t want to cook food in an oven that’s still coated with a substance like that.

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 end up overwhelmed.


Should you clean oven racks using ammonia?

You’ll find plenty of people recommending cleaning oven racks with ammonia. Our strong advice? Don’t. Although ammonia is an ingredient in many household cleaning products, adding it to a trash bag to clean oven racks is a bit different. 

Bear in mind that ammonia needs to be used in well ventilated areas, and because it’s an irritant you’d have to wear eye protection and protective gloves and avoid getting it on skin and clothing. In other words, use one of our easier methods, and avoid the hassle.

(Image credit: Used Kitchen Exchange)

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7. Refresh Tiles

Kitchen or bathroom tiles looking tired? To clean and disinfect them, mix ¼ cup ammonia with 1 gallon of water in a bucket and liberally apply the solution with a sponge or a mop. If an area is especially dirty, use a soft-bristled brush to further scrape away the filth. Finish up by going over the entire surface with clean water and your sponge or mop.


Tips for Cleaning With Ammonia

These handy tips can help you save money and keep you safe when using this potent ingredient.

  • Always read the instructions on the bottle carefully: Use and store safely. Dilute ammonia correctly. Learn how to handle an ammonia accident.
  • Use gloves when using it: Skin contact with ammonia can cause redness, pain, irritation, and burns.
  • Glass cleaner formula: Make an ammonia solution (5 percent to 10 percent by weight) by mixing 1 tablespoon of clear ammonia with 2 cups water in a spray bottle. Spritz it on and wipe it dry immediately with a soft, lint-free cloth.
  • Oven cleaning formula: To clean your electric oven with ammonia, warm the oven to 150 degrees Fahrenheit while boiling a pot of water. Open the windows to ventilate the area. Put 1/2 cup of ammonia into an oven-safe, non-reactive bowl on the top shelf and put the container of boiling water on the shelf beneath it. Shut the door and let it sit for 8 to 12 hours. After the time has elapsed, open the oven door and let it ventilate for an hour before using a sponge, warm water, and dish soap to wipe away the loosened food particles. If you must use this method on your gas oven, make sure that the pilot light and gas lines are turned off.
  • Use in the laundry for regular stains: Soak stubborn stains on cotton, polyester, or nylon fabrics with a solution of 2/3 cup clear ammonia, 2/3 cup dish soap, 6 tablespoons of baking soda, and 2 cups warm water. Let it soak for about 30 minutes, then launder as usual. Never use ammonia on wool or silk. Never mix with bleach.
  • Use in the laundry for blood or grass stains: Pretreat with a solution of one-part ammonia to one-part warm water on cotton, polyester, or nylon fabrics.

Method 2: Overnight Cleaning with Vinegar and Baking Soda

This time you’ll need a few more materials:

This time you’ll need a few more materials:

Once you gather all your materials, you’re ready to get cleaning!


  • Take out the oven racks and set them aside. Clean those in the sink later (Read more about that below).
  • Remove any debris in the bottom of the oven. That junk just gets in the way!
Mix baking soda with water in a small bowl to crea
  • Mix baking soda with water in a small bowl to create a paste-like mixture. Start with the baking soda then slowly add a few drops of water at a time until it’s nice and thick. Depending on the size of your oven, you may need a couple batches of this mixture to completely coat the inside. If your mixture becomes too runny, just add more baking soda.
  • Spread the paste over the inside of your oven, covering the bottom and all sides. The baking soda may start to turn brown, this is fine. It’s just pulling up the grease and grime. Close the oven door and let it sit overnight, or for at least 12 hours.
In the morning, wipe the baking soda mixture out w
  • In the morning, wipe the baking soda mixture out with the paper towels, removing as much as possible.
  • Add the white vinegar to your spray bottle and spray the inside of your oven, especially where you have any baking soda residue. Then wipe it clean with more scrubbing pad.
  • Now put the oven racks back in and dry the oven by turning it on at 200 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Baking Soda + Vinegar Results

This method does work to cut through the baked on grease, but we definitely had to put in much more effort to remove all the spots. It also made much more of a mess in the oven.

4. Banish Grease on Burners

Tackle notoriously tough grease on stove burners with this trick. Place each burner in a separate sealable plastic bag filled with ¼ cup ammonia. Seal each bag to keep fumes at bay, and place in a sink or washtub for eight to 12 hours. Open the bags in a ventilated area, and remove all grease and dirt easily with a quick scrub of dish soap and water. Once the gunk is gone, thoroughly rinse the burners with water to get rid of ammonia residue. Let dry completely before using.


How do I make my oven racks shiny again?

According to David, ‘the easiest way to make oven racks shiny again is by using a Brillo product. It’s available in most grocery stores. Simply wet the oven racks, sprinkle on the Brillo, let it sit for a few minutes, and then scrub with a brush.’

You can, of course, also use baking soda, lemon, and plenty of elbow grease to really get those racks to shine.

Step by step instructions to clean an oven with ammonia

Ammonia can be greatly helpful in cleaning dirt and grease from an oven. Follow these step by step instructions:

  • Take 2 cups of ammonia and pour them in a small bowl, set it inside your oven, and close the door. Let it stay inside overnight, allowing the ammonia fumes to loosen the dirt and grease inside.
  • In the morning, remove all the oven racks. Fill your sink with warm water, and pour ¼ cup of ammonia and 5 squirts of dish soap in it. Let the racks soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, while you clean the interior walls of the oven.
  • Wipe out the inside of the oven with a rag soaked in ammonia. Try to remove as much grease and residue as possible without the need to scrub
  • If there are any stubborn burnt foods inside the oven, soak a rag in pure ammonia and let it stay over it for 30 minutes. After that, the residue will loosen, and you will be easily able to wipe it clean. If it still leaves a stain, you can scrub it off with a soft brush
  • Now, dampen a rag with water, and wipe out the residue and also the ammonia from the interior of the oven.
  • Use a dish scrubber to scrub off the oven racks you have soaked in the sink. As they have soaked enough, the residue will wipe off quite easily and quickly.

Types of Household Ammonia

Do It Yourself expert Bob Vila describes the different types of household nitrogen-based ammonia. The cloudy and sudsy versions already have soap added to the liquid, adding volume and cents to the price. Go for the clear version. His staff also recommend avoiding ammonia with a scent added. The ammonia smell is a warning against the negative effects of the solution, and covering it up masks any danger that may be present.

As with all toxic cleansers, keep the bottle well away from the hands of children and the tongues of pets. Hide it in the back of the cupboard or high on a shelf where curiosity cannot be satisfied. And be sure to wipe the oven, racks and glass window thoroughly; then wash the cloths you used without adding bleach to the washing machine’s tub.

15.How to Clean Stovetop Removable Burners and Burner Pans

If you have removable burners and burner pans, I feel your pain…but this is a good thing!

  • Put the burner pans in plastic Ziploc baggies with a splash of ammonia.
  • Let them sit overnight in the Ziploc bag.
  • Remove in the morning and they should wipe clean with hot water and soap.

via One Good Thing by Jillee

If you try one of these tips, let us know how it worked out for you!