6 Things You Should Never Do with Oven Cleaner

published Sep 23, 2023
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oven stovetop in kitchen with dish towel hanging

Even if you don’t use oven cleaner to clean the inside of your oven, chances are you might keep a can around for other tough jobs. Not only is the stuff great at melting off burnt-on oven grime, but it can also clean grill grates, revive baking sheets, scrub a white porcelain tub, and more. Of course, oven cleaner is nothing to mess with. The harsh solution that works so well to eat through messes isn’t the safest thing to handle. Knowing this, we put together a list of six, sensible precautions you should always take when using oven cleaner.

1. Don’t use it in a self-cleaning oven.

Using oven cleaner in a self-cleaning oven could corrode the oven’s special enamel coating. If you have a self-cleaning oven (not to be confused with a self-cleaning cycle in a regular oven), check your manual to find out which products are safe to clean with.

2. Don’t assume you can clean everything in the oven with oven cleaner.

When using an oven cleaner to shine up the inside of your oven, you do need to avoid certain oven parts in order to prevent damage. Don’t clean the heating elements on the top or bottom of your unit and keep away from gaskets, as the cleaner could cause them to degrade and lose their airtight seal. 

3. Don’t use it without protection.

Oven cleaner does such a good job of eating through tough build-up in your oven. All of that is organic material — just like your skin. To protect yourself against the caustic and corrosive nature of oven-cleaning chemicals, wear rubber gloves. You might even consider wearing goggles or another form of eye protection.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

4. Don’t use it without ventilation.

Oven cleaner is also irritating to the respiratory tract and can cause issues when inhaled. Make sure to turn on your vent hood, and open windows to circulate air when exposed to fumes.

5. Don’t use it around sensitive individuals or pets.

Make sure to take precautions, and do not use the product around those who have asthma or other respiratory issues or sensitivities. Oven cleaning fumes also have the potential to be dangerous for pets — especially birds.

6. Don’t store it where it’s easily accessible.

To put it bluntly, oven cleaner is dangerous and should be kept out of a child’s reach. Even if you don’t have pets or children yourself, you never know when visiting children could accidentally get their hands on it. Don’t take any chances: Store it out of reach or behind a child-proof cabinet. 

Is there anything else you’d add to this list? Tell us in the comments below.

This post originally appeared on The Kitchn. See it there: 6 Things You Should Never Do with Oven Cleaner