Is Your Oven Dirty?

Easy Alternative Way to Clean Your Electric Oven…

After having such great success with using ammonia fumes to clean the grates of my grill and stove top, I decided that using a similar method to clean the inside of my oven would be worth a shot. (This method is not recommended for gas ovens.)

dirty oven pics

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The ladies at Made from Pinterest tried a baking soda/vinegar method and this ammonia method. They report that the ammonia method won hands down! Store-bought oven cleaners can cost more and are full of chemicals. Plus, an oven repairman told a friend of mine that the self-clean feature on ovens can be hard on the oven itself and shorten the life of it in the long run. Is this true? I’m not sure, but I suppose it makes sense because that method uses such high temperatures for an extended time.

cleaning the oven with ammonia

Anyway, I recently needed to clean a rental home before we moved out and found it to be the perfect opportunity to try cleaning the oven with ammonia fumes. As you might deduce from the pictures, I hadn’t cleaned it for a long while. 😉

ammonia and water in the dirty oven

Preheat the oven to 200, then turn it off. Place the ammonia and boiling water in separate heat-safe dishes in the oven. Close the door and let the fumes do the work overnight, or for 8-12 hours. Some fumes will escape the oven, so if possible, open some nearby windows to ventilate the area.

sponge to clean inside of oven

When you come back to it, you should be able to wipe most of it clean with just a hot, wet scrub sponge. It worked pretty well for me! There were a few spots that required a bit of scrubbing, but most of the gunk came off with ease.

oven door half clean half dirty

They suggested sprinkling baking soda onto the hot, wet sponge before wiping. But from my experience, I don’t think the baking soda helped a whole lot and I had to wipe over the surface again with water to get rid of the film left behind. So, I just did it without the baking soda.

oven rack half dirty half clean

Overall, I would definitely do it this way again on an electric oven and recommend it to others.

You can find ammonia at many stores in the cleaning supplies aisle, 64-fl oz jug for only $1.12 at my Walmart. Don’t want to run to Walmart? Snag some from Amazon!

I hope you have similarly great results with this easy and inexpensive way to clean the oven!

clean oven


  • Preheat electric oven to 200 degrees F, then turn off.
  • Add 1 to 2 cups ammonia to a heat-safe glass dish and set on the middle rack in the oven.
  • In a separate dish, fill with about 2 cups boiling water and set on bottom rack.
  • Shut the oven door and leave overnight.
  • The next morning, remove the dishes and wipe down the inside with a hot wet sponge.

If you have a gas oven, you can still try this method, but you will need to turn off the pilot light, make sure it is out and the gas has been turned off.

For safety precautions, wear rubber gloves and safety glasses when working with ammonia. You don’t want it to splash up into your eyes! The Poison Control Center recommends disposing your ammonia down a sink where there is plenty of ventilation, such as a garage sink. If  you do not have a garage sink, they recommend opening a window near the sink you are using for 10-15 minutes.

Never mix ammonia with other strong cleaning agents, such as bleach or oven cleaners.

Household ammonia cleaning solutions usually have between 5 -10% ammonia. If you store and use the proper safety precautions with household ammonia, it can be used WITHOUT any toxic effects. 

ammonia collageClick to see a collection of frugal DIY household cleaning recipes

See our tried and true DIY household cleaner recipes!


  • Cheryl

    Thank you for the tip, cannot wait to try it this weekend. My self oven cleaner hasnt worked for years and I try to wipe it clean when I can but its such a chore. Will let you know how it works out!!

  • Patricia Schmidt Jameson

    Why isn’t anyone mentioning the fact that this “trick”, though really great, should NOT be used on gas ovens? I was about to try it when I decided to check out other articles on ammonia cleaning, and one of them specifically said DO NOT USE ON GAS OVEN. This should be pointed out. It could be very dangerous.

    • Melanie

      Thanks. I don’t have a gas oven, so I didn’t know about that.

    • cate

      I am glad I read further. I just boiled the water, shut off the oven and put water and ammonia in the gas oven. Ran to take out the ammonia. Preface this tip with a warning about gas ovens Please.

  • Berny

    Hi ladies – does anyone have a good method for cleaning a gas oven please?


    • Melanie

      I would try this:
      1/4 cup white vinegar
      1/8 cup Dawn dish soap
      2 cups hot water
      3 teaspoons baking soda (plus more for sprinkling)
      Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and shake to mix. Spray onto the oven surface to soak. Then sprinkle generous amounts of baking soda on top. Spray more of the vinegar mixture over it. Leave overnight. In the morning, wipe out the mixture with hot soapy water.

      Please let me know if you find something better!

  • rob

    How safe is it to cook on the grills after it has been cleaned with the ammonia?
    Will the smell linger onto food? if cleaning the roof of oven, will any bits remain and drip onto food?

    • Melanie

      With this method, it is solely the fumes that clean the oven, so the grates are not even in direct contact with the ammonia. Even so, just wiping the oven out or rinsing with water is enough to remove any ammonia. In fact, I have used ammonia to safely clean grill grates before with great success: . The smell will quickly dissipate once the liquid is removed, so it will not affect any food.

    • Rob

      I’ve just read the other comments and noticed that you can’t use ammonia on a gas oven… shame.
      Do you have any alternative suggestions for cleaning gas ovens?

      • Melanie

        Yeah. I actually tried it a little while ago before I heard it could be dangerous and it didn’t work as well anyway.
        I would try the vinegar and dish soap method that I mention in a comment just above.
        Would love to hear if anyone find anything better for gas ovens!

  • neets

    Great! Can i use this method to clean my OTG aka TOASTER OVEN? may be by placing 2 disposable bread pans filled with water n ammonia side by side?

  • Erineyes

    I have had the experience of using the auto clean feature on my new (less than 6 months old) LG oven. I put it on auto clean and the oven only half cleaner before it blew up the high temperature sensor shut off switch. The Oven was dead. Would not work at all. I called LG and since it was still under warrantee they sent out a repairmen who replaced the switch. He told me to NEVER USE THE SELF CLEAN FEATURE, it always damages the oven. The oven that I purchased was the top of the line LG, not cheap ! Never again will use that feature. Just a waning to others.

  • bonny

    Great Idea. I have been putting off my oven as long as you did. It looks like the twin to yours. LOL. Will do this tonight. No more waiting. thanks

  • Susan M

    If leaving the ammonia in overnight does the smell permeate the house? Will it affect lungs while sleeping or is it just contained in the kitchen?

    • Melanie

      I didn’t notice any ammonia smell unless I stood right next to the oven. So, in my experience, it does not permeate the house and it does stay pretty contained. 🙂

  • Trish

    My mother used to always clean her oven with ammonia and tried to encourage me to do the same. She told me to just put a saucer of ammonia in the oven and wipe it out next morning. I couldn’t get it to work for me until I found your method with the hot water and warm oven .. I was delighted with how clean my oven became and how easy it was … thank you for this

  • Krista Cook

    Can this be used in a convection oven

  • Janet

    How much water and ammonia?

    • Melanie

      Looks like the instructions were lost with a recent website change! Thanks for bringing it to my attention, Janet. I just updated the post to include that info. 🙂

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