The Secret Ingredient to a Clean Oven Is Already in Your Kitchen

The dreaded chore is made easy with a common kitchen fruit.

Lemons on blue background
Photo: Getty Images

Cleaning the oven is one of those chores that can quickly fall to the bottom of the to-do list—repeatedly. In fact, 41 percent of Americans list cleaning the oven as their least favorite household chore.

Even the self-cleaning mode on ovens doesn't really cut it, as it requires a lot of energy, heat, and elbow grease.

Luckily, there are a few ways to make cleaning the oven just a little bit easier.

Take for starters this video shared by TikTok user @my_styled_living, which has a clever tip that makes oven cleaning smell like a citrus-scented breeze. In the video, she recommends slicing a few lemons in quarters and placing them in an ovenproof dish (she uses a ceramic pie plate) and topping them with water. She then puts it in the oven at 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) for about 30 minutes. She then dips her sponge into the lemon water and wipes down the oven door and racks leaving the surfaces sparkling and, undoubtedly, lemon scented.

While it's always fun discovering new cleaning hacks on social media, the professional oven cleaners over at have been preaching about this particular cleaning method for awhile now.

"If you're looking to get rid of some tough grease and dirt on the inside of your oven, try a little steam cleaning," they write on their website.

Their take on using lemon and water to steam your oven is similar to the TikTok video with a few twists: Instead of putting the whole lemon in the oven-safe dish, they suggest chopping lemons and squeezing their juice into the water. That dish then goes into the oven and then left until it starts to heat up.

"Keep an eye on the water," they write, "and as soon as you see it start to boil, turn the oven off allowing it to cool down with the door closed, while the steam circulates."

The combination of lemon and steam can dislodge "the grime and grease, giving you a head start to a quick and easier oven clean."

If the lemon steam bath needs a little extra boost, head to your pantry and grab the baking soda. As we've written about before, baking soda can be used as a degreaser.

Mix the baking soda with water in a dish or play until it forms a paste that is thin enough to spread but not watery. Then, spread the paste all over the inside of the oven door. Let sit for about 15 to 20 minutes. Come back with a damp cloth and wipe up the paste.

Between the lemon and the baking soda, your oven should be sparkling again in no time. Oven cleaning may still not be your favorite chore, but maybe it won't be at the bottom of the to-do list.

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