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How to Clean Oven Grime Before the Holidays

December 2, 2020

how to clean oven grime - blog - image 1It’s the holiday season! The tree is up; there are holiday candles on the mantel and a wreath on the door. As Bing Crosby croons in the background, you’re ready to begin cooking your holiday feast. You poke cloves into your ham and place pineapple slices on around it. Then you preheat the oven. It’s been a while since you baked anything. Who has time, right? Besides, the microwave does the job in minutes. But a holiday ham isn’t a microwave dinner.

Just as a ping indicates that the oven has reached the desired 400 degrees, an unpleasant odor emanates from the oven. You open the door and are taken aback by the stench and a whiff of black smoke. This will not do. So, what can you do!? Allow us to offer up some tips!

How to Clean Oven Grime Before the Holidays!

In the past, we’ve typically advised against using BKF to clean the inside of your oven. We’ve since relaxed some of those rules, as many folks have used BKF successfully to clean their ovens. Still, we want to make sure you’re doing it properly. Let’s start off with an oven cleaning question we received recently:


“I hired a cleaning service. They used Bar Keepers Friend to clean my self-cleaning oven. I didn’t realize until they had already done it. Will fumes absorb/poison food? What do I need to do to make sure my oven is safe for baking as well as for using my next self-cleaning cycle? I.e., how long should I run my oven to make sure there are no residual fumes from the product? Should I use a 50/50 vinegar-water mixture to wipe out the oven?

Please advise.” – Robyne


“Hi, Robyne – thanks for your question. Not sure which product (we have several) but assuming it was BKF Cleanser (a powder that is mixed with water), then – again, assuming it was rinse/wiped properly by the cleaning service – you can damp-rinse/wipe the interior surfaces with a clean microfiber cloth or similar. No, it won’t poison food. In fact, BKF Cleanser is authorized for use in commercial food processor facilities and foodservice applications by the NSF (National Sanitation Foundation), again, provided the surfaces cleaned with it are “rinsed with potable water” (a standard verbiage by NSF for virtually all authorized cleaning agents in food facilities). NFS International 

Also, if you want, after you’ve done the damp-rinse/wipe procedure mentioned above, you could heat your oven to 400 degrees for 10 minutes, just as an “extra” step that should bake off any remaining trace scent, if any.” -BKF Expert Kevin Patterson

How to Use BKF to Clean Your Oven

What you’ll need:

  • Bar Keepers Friend Powder Cleanser
  • Sponge
  • Bucket of water
  • Scouring pad
  • Dry soft cloth
  • Small bowl or container


  1. Wet the inside of your stove with the sponge one side at a time
  2. Place a small amount of BKF powder in the bowl
  3. Drizzle the BKF in the bowl with water
  4. Stir the BKF and water to create a paste (if you added too much water, add more BKF until it is the consistency of paste)
  5. Spread the paste over the wetted side of the oven
  6. Let it sit for one minute
  7. Wipe the paste off with the sponge
  8. Repeat as needed
  9. For tougher stains, cover a scouring pad with the BKF paste
  10. Complete all sides of the oven
  11. Wipe dry with a soft cloth

Here’s a video of a BKF fan cleaning her oven. Cleaning Secret REVEALED | How to Clean Your Oven, from Melanie W.

Rack it Up!

Cleaning your oven racks can be tedious. However, BKF takes some of the tedium out of the process. I haven’t cleaned my oven racks with BKF, but I have cleaned racks that I use when I grill over a wood fire. Yep, wood and fire. The rack is usually covered with bits of food and rain and rust, and – well, you get the idea. I splash water on the racks, sprinkle BKF, let it sit a minute, and then I use a kitchen scrubbing sponge to wipe it down. I’m going to try a scouring pad next time I clean the racks.

For the oven racks, use the same process. Just place them over the kitchen sink, and spray a little water on them. It’s probably easier with an oven rack to put the BKF paste on the scrubbing sponge or pad.

And that’s Not All Folks!

You can also clean the window on your oven door while you’re at it. Just use the same method, wet it, apply the BKF paste, let it sit a minute, and then wipe it off

how to clean oven - blog - featured image

Happy Holidays!  

So, the tree is up, candles are on the mantel, a wreath is on the door, and the oven is clean. Enjoy your holiday ham! Happy holidays!

About the Author

Randy Clark - Headshot

Randy Clark is a speaker, coach, and author. He publishes a weekly blog at Randy Clark Randy is passionate about social media, leadership development, and flower gardening. He’s a beer geek and on weekends (after COVID-19) he can be found fronting the Rock & Roll band Under the Radar. He’s the proud father of two educators; he has four amazing grandchildren and a wife who dedicates her time to helping others. Randy is the author of the Amazon bestseller The New Manager’s Workbook: A crash course in effective management.

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