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Best oven cleaners 2021: Spring-clean your oven with the best chemical and natural products from £3

Derek Adams
4 Aug 2021
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If you want to get your oven back to its sparkling best, but you're struggling to shift that caked-on dirt, then help is at hand

You can’t avoid it: ovens get dirty. And the longer they’re left, the harder they are to clean. Some modern ovens have self-cleaning systems, as we discuss below - but there’s a limit to what these can do. If it’s time to clean out the grime, your best bet is to invest in a specially formulated oven cleaning fluid and get down on your knees. Here’s our guide to the best products on the market: they’ll leave you with an oven so clean, you could eat your dinner off it.

How to buy the best oven cleaner for you

Do I need to worry about toxic chemicals?

Chemical cleaners are great for degreasing and shifting baked-in grime, but they are corrosive by nature: thick rubber gloves are a must. One of the most common ingredients in oven-cleaning products is sodium hydroxide (more commonly known as caustic soda), which can burn skin, damage nostrils and lungs, and irritate the eyes. It will also damage rubber seals and some metals, so it’s vital to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter.

Are oven manufacturers’ own-brand cleaning products any better?

Some oven manufacturers sell their own cleaning products, but there’s no evidence they’re any better than off-the-shelf supermarket products – and they often cost a premium.

What about using a conventional steam cleaner?

Many steam cleaners claim they can be used for oven cleaning, and that might work if your oven is only very lightly soiled. When it comes to heavily stained glass and caked-on grime, however, it’s unlikely that a domestic steam cleaner will make the slightest impression. All you can expect to end up with is a pile of wet tea towels.

Can you use third-party oven cleaners with any oven?

No. There are three main types of self-cleaning oven: catalytic, pyrolytic and steam. And it pays to check which type you have before applying any third-party cleaning products, as you can potentially damage the coating in your expensive self-cleaning oven.

  • Catalytic ovens have interior linings coated in an absorbent material that looks like very fine sandpaper, with flecks of white crystal-type material. When you empty your oven and run it at around 220˚C for 30 minutes, any grease trapped in the lining should get burnt away. However, in most cases the catalytic lining is only installed on the side walls, so regular cleaning will still be required for the oven floor and rear - and you should avoid using harsh oven cleaning solutions on a catalytic lining, or you risk damaging it.
  • Pyrolitic ovens feature a special timed cleaning program that super-heats the empty oven to around 500˚C. Grease and baked-on remnants are burnt to ash, which you can then simply wipe away once the oven has cooled. It’s arguably the most fuss-free way to keep an oven clean, but it takes up to four hours to complete, and toxic smoke can be generated in the process – which is why many pyrolytic ovens come with a catalytic converter to eradicate emissions.
  • Steam ovens circulate super-hot steam to break down grease and stains: this is quicker than a pyrolitic cleaning, typically taking around an hour to complete, but not normally quite as effective.

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The best oven cleaners to buy

1. Oven Mate Complete Deep Clean Oven Kit: Best all-in-one cleaning kit

Price: £20 | Buy now from Amazon

If you want to give your oven a proper deep clean then look no further. This excellent do-it-all system comprises a 500ml bottle of oven gel (enough for two cleaning sessions), a bottle of rack-cleaning solution, two ridged scourers, a packet of 50 microwave steam clean wipes, two pairs of long rubber gloves and a gel applicator brush.

To clean the oven cavity, simply paint the gel onto the interior walls and floor (avoid catalytic liners and make sure the oven is cold) and leave it for an hour or so to do its thing. In the meantime, put the racks into one of the supplied plastic bags and pour in the solution. Swish it around, seal the bag and go make a cup of tea. If the racks are still stained, you can give them a good scrub with the supplied scourer, but you may not even need to. Finally, wipe the gel away from the inside of the oven and prepare to be amazed at the transformation - this stuff really does work astonishingly well.

The gel is easy to apply with no splashing and it doesn’t smell too bad either. Just be sure to follow the instructions carefully, because both solutions contain highly corrosive potassium hydroxide.

2. Oven Pride: Best budget oven-cleaning set

Price: £9 | Buy now from Amazon

This popular oven-cleaning system comes with a clear plastic rack bag, a pair of thin rubber gloves, a spongy applicator and a 500ml bottle of cleaning solution.

To use it, you first put all your oven racks in the supplied bag, pour in half of the solution and seal the bag (while expelling any air). Now grab the sponge and apply the rest of the solution to the inside of the oven, avoiding any special catalytic linings and anything made of rubber. Then you simply wait, for at least four hours, and ideally overnight. You should leave the oven door open, which means you’ll need to keep kids and pets away during this period.

One caveat is that it’s not recommended that you apply this product to oven glass, because it’s tempered and you run the risk of cracking it. Instead, we’d advise using bicarbonate of soda, water and vinegar (see below).

For the price, the Oven Pride system is impressively easy and effective: our filthy test oven came out looking almost as new. But be very careful not to get it on the oven’s rubber door seals, as it may damage them, and don’t use it on the hob either: for that task you’ll need the equally excellent Hob Pride.

3. Oven Brite: An even cheaper alternative for easy cleaning on a budget

Price: £4.23 | Buy now from Amazon

Oven Brite is made up of a smörgåsbord of chemicals, including alkyl polyglycoside, potassium hydroxide and sodium metasilicate - so it goes without saying that you should follow the instructions carefully, and wear the supplied gloves.

In use it’s very similar to Oven Pride: it comes with 500ml of cleaning solution, it’s fume-free, and it also uses a rack bag system. For the oven cavity, simply pour half a bottle of cleaner onto the floor of the oven, grab a sponge (you’ll need to provide your own) and work it around the back and sides, avoiding any special linings. Leave overnight and wipe clean in the morning.

Oven Pride’s excellent reputation might swing it, but we were very happy with Oven Brite’s results: it’s another excellent cleaning product at an even lower price.

4. Astonish Specialist Oven & Grill Cleaner: Tackles lightly soiled ovens inside and out

Price: £6 | Buy now from Wilko

This simple but mostly effective paste and sponge system from 40-year-old, UK-based Astonish does the job very well. However, it didn’t make that much impact on a heavily soiled oven door that had never been cleaned. And that’s hardly surprising since very few domestic cleaners are capable of removing burnt-in grease from a five-year-old oven door that has never seen a scourer.

While this cleaner does have some chemicals in its formula (sodium xylenesulfonate and sodium silicate), it’s one of the few products that doesn’t require wearing gloves. It also smells agreeably citrusy.

To use, simply open the lid, dip the supplied sponge into some warm water (rough side down) and swipe up some solution from the tub. Now work on the oven glass and interior and exterior surfaces using a circular motion. Leave for a few minutes before wiping off the solution with the smoother side of the sponge and, all being well, your oven should look as good as the day you bought it.

Buy now from Wilko


5. HG oven, grill & barbecue cleaner: A great option for both ovens and barbecues

Price: £5.47 | Buy now from Amazon

Some user reviews may lead you to believe that you can just spray this ‘amazing’ 500ml oven cleaner around the inside of your oven and, after leaving it on for 10 minutes, wipe it off to leave your oven looking brand new. That may be the case with a moderately grubby oven, but when it comes down to the really ingrained stuff, you will definitely need to take a scourer to it.

And while HG cleaner is very easy to use, you need to remember to pre-warm the oven first or it won’t make as big an impact. You may also need to repeat the procedure a few times to remove the most stubborn, burnt-in stains; nobody said oven cleaning was easy.

If you have a barbecue, however, then this is one of the best cleaners on the market. We tested it on a very greasy Weber charcoal kettle and it left the grill and the inside bowl sparkling clean. Most impressive. However, do be mindful that this cleaner comes loaded with a bunch of nasty chemicals that, according to the H314 hazard warning on the label, ‘will cause severe skin burns and eye damage’. So get yourself a good pair of strong Marigolds – and if you want to be super careful, goggles – before you hit the coalface.

6. Mr Muscle Oven Cleaner: Best cleaner for regular use

Price: £3 | Buy now from Amazon

Mr Muscle’s oven spray is one of the company’s most popular products. It’s best for a light clean, though: it’s not ideal for hard, ingrained grease that’s built up over months, however. It also smells horrendous, so make sure the kitchen is well ventilated.

The spray-can packaging makes it easy to squirt around the interior of your oven, but it contains highly corrosive sodium hydroxide, which can damage linings and rubber seals if you spray it where you shouldn’t. If you need a more precise application, you might be better with a sponge-on product instead.

If you can stand the horrible smell and your oven isn’t too filthy then this is a great option for quick cleaning blitzes as and when required. But if you’re looking for a deep clean you’ll need something more aggressive.

7. Bicarbonate of soda: Best non-caustic option

Price: £8.95 | Buy now from Amazon


If caustic chemical cleaners are a no-go in your household, consider the old tried-and-tested formula of sodium bicarbonate, mixed with water and white vinegar. It’s not as cheap as proprietary cleaning products, but it does a decent job and you won’t need to wear gloves (although that would still be a good idea).

To make the mixture, simply tip a pile of bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and add water. Stir it into a thickish paste and smear all over the oven interior and glass using a sponge (avoid applying it to catalytic linings). Leave it overnight, or ideally for 24 hours.

Then, fill a plastic spray gun with white vinegar and spritz the treated area: the vinegar will react with the soda to create a sizzling foam, Now simply grab a scouring sponge and give it a good scrub, adding more vinegar where necessary.

If your oven is truly filthy and hasn’t been cleaned in months then this method is definitely harder work than using a proprietary chemical cleaner - but it’s fine for moderately soiled cavities and hobs, and a great choice for oven door glass.

8. Ovenclean: Best professional oven cleaning service

Price: From £50 | Book now at www.ovenclean.com

If you really can’t face cleaning your oven yourself, why not bring in the professionals? Our vote goes to Ovenclean, a nationwide team of 100 friendly specialists who manage to remove all burnt-on grease and grime, even from parts of the oven you couldn’t imagine being able to reach.

We tried it out on a double oven that quite literally wound up looking like new and was also more efficient afterwards, getting the temperature higher quicker and not using as much energy to do so. It’s a caustic-soda system, so it’s completely safe and fume free and leaves your oven ready as soon as the specialist leaves. Plus, there’s no mess and they’re really friendly. They’ll clean microwaves, hobs, extractor fans and barbecues too, if required.

Book now at www.ovenclean.com


9. Jeyes Barbecue Cleaner: A decent option for cleaning BBQ grills and utensils

Price: £3.50 | Buy now from B&Q

We’ve pretty much covered every oven cleaner on the market but a mention should go to this trigger spray BBQ cleaning solution from Jeyes. Although it’s formulated for cutting the grease from barbecues and cooking utensils, it also tackles lighter cooker-cleaning tasks with relative ease.

We tested it on a decidedly grubby Webber kettle barbecue and can vouch that it removed most of the ingrained grease from the grill and internal shell with relatively little fuss. However, it did take almost an entire 750ml bottle to complete the process, leaving very little for our oven test. In the event, it did remove some of the oven’s lighter tarnishing but not as well as any of the bona fide oven cleaners listed above.

In some respects, this product is a bit of an anomaly because the inner shell of a barbecue doesn’t really require any cleaning at all and no amount of scrubbing will ever restore it to its original condition – the heat alone will tarnish the metal and change its colour forever. Yes, the Jeyes BBQ Cleaner kills bacteria in a thrice, but so does 350˚C of searing heat.

Hint: The best way to clean any barbecue grill is to let the charcoal or gas reach a high heat with the lid on for about 20 minutes and then use a stiff BBQ-dedicated wire brush to remove the carbonised fats and food detritus.

Buy now from B&Q


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