With a few tools and techniques, cleaning a domestic oven needn't be a chore. Find out how to clean your cooker with these tips from The Oven and Hobs Cleaning Company's Mark Woollard.
Lids and roasting bags
'It may sound obvious, but a pan with a lid is a good means of prevention,' says Mark from The Oven and Hobs Cleaning Company. 'Fatty foods do tend to splash everywhere so a cover will minimise this.
'Customers tell me that roasting bags can also help to minimise the fallout from a Sunday roast!'
Mark says: 'The best rule for oven cleaning, although many people don’t have the willpower to do it, is to clean up any major spills straight away, before they get nasty. Don’t let drips get burnt on hundreds of times.'
Teflon oven liners
Mark strongly advises against using aluminium foil to line the oven, saying: 'Ovens which heat from the bottom can cause tin foil to melt onto the oven, ruining the enamel floor.'
Instead, check the manufacturer's instructions to see if a Teflon oven-liner could be used. These can prevent messy spills and drips from becoming burnt-on, but are only suitable for some types of ovens.
Single ovens (those which don't have a separate smaller oven containing the grill) often start to smoke if the grill function isn’t used regularly. This is due to a build-up of grease on and around the grill element.
'A preventative measure is to turn on the grill element for about a minute while your food is being served. Then, turn the element off as you close the oven door,' explains Mark. 'That will burn off the fat clinging to it. If your smoke alarm regularly goes off while cooking, this is often the cause.'
'The floor of an oven is almost always enamel. Sometimes the sides and ceiling can be, too,' says Mark.
'Keep a supply of Brillo-style scouring pads handy. You don't need to be frightened of using a bit of elbow grease on enamel surfaces as it’s very tough.
'If the sides of your oven are grey and rough to touch, this is probably a self- or easy-clean surface,' says Mark. 'It's a micro-porous type of enamel – sometimes described as "pyrolytic" – which is designed to absorb the fat and burn it off when the temperature of the oven is high. On the whole, they work well.'
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for leaving on and turning up the oven once you have finished cooking. Once cool, you can simply sweep the carbonised particles from the oven floor.
'Any stubborn stains to the self-clean surface can be tackled with a lint-free cloth or sponge and a little mild washing-up liquid.'
'Buy a dip tray. also known as an oven soaking tray, in order to soak the shelves in a solution to remove dirt and grease. These trays are large enough to accommodate the oven shelves and racks which often don’t fit into a kitchen sink,' says Mark.
'Some customers tell me that they do this in their bath, using biological washing powder and leaving the shelves to soak overnight. You’ll probably still need to use some wire wool but it’s much easier once you’ve got the worst off by soaking.'
The more traditional method is to use bicarbonate of soda powder or soda crystals in boiling water. Soak for as long as you have available – a few hours should be enough. If the condition of the shelves is poor, you’ll need to use these in combination with a hob or barbecue scraper. Muster some energy and then Mark advises, 'Moving the scraper across the shelves at a 90 degree angle to remove the burnt-on stuff.'
Spills tend to get burnt-on because the glass in an oven door gets very hot.
Washing-up liquid will sometimes do the trick, but otherwise a hob scraper with a fresh blade can be used carefully.