We updated this article in September 2022 to add more information about each product, added a new pick for oven windows, more information about how we test oven cleaners and answers to frequently asked questions.
If your oven isn’t self-cleaning, tackling it can be one of the toughest chores in the kitchen, especially if you haven’t been wiping up spills immediately. However, the right oven cleaner can make this task effortless.
At the Good Housekeeping Institute we test hundreds of cleaning products each year, putting together guides for the best stainless steel cleaners, grill cleaners, oven cleaners and more, to tackle all of your cooking messes. Many oven cleaners also double as grill cleaners so we test them by applying layers of barbecue sauce onto oven and grill grates and allowing it to burn. Then, we evaluate how quickly, thoroughly and easily it cleans and how neat or messy each cleaning product is to use. We also assess the label for completeness of the directions and any required safety precautions based on the ingredients.
Our top picks:
Take note: Most appliance manufacturers do not recommend using oven cleaners to clean your self-cleaning oven — doing so can damage the interior or even void your appliance’s warranty. Even if the oven cleaner label says it’s safe to use, it’s always best to follow your oven manufacturer’s recommendations. Instead, use a wet sponge to wipe up spills as soon as they happen (and make sure your oven is at a safe temperature to reach inside) to minimize the messes your self-cleaning oven will have to clean up later. A sprinkle of baking soda — which is safe to use on self-cleaning oven interiors — can help loosen stuck-on deposits.
30 sec. for spot cleaning, 2 hrs. for deep cleaning
Best Value Oven Cleaner
Oven & Grill Cleaner
5 to 10 mins.
Most Versatile Oven Cleaner
20 mins. for spot cleaning, 4 hrs. for deep cleaning
Best Protective Oven Cleaner
Oven & Grill Cleaner (2 Pack)
Best Oven Cleaner for Grease
Oven and Grill Cleaner
3-5 mins. for spot cleaning, up to 1 hr. for deep cleaning
BEST OVEN CLEANER FOR OVEN RACKS
2-in-1 Oven Rack and Grill Cleaner
BEST OVEN CLEANER FOR SPOT CLEANING
Magic Eraser Extra Durable Scrubber
Best Oven Window Cleaner
All-Purpose Cleaner (Pack of 3)
1-2 mins. (if needed)
How we test oven cleaners
In the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, we’ve tested over two dozen oven and grill cleaners. Because these products so often overlap in their application, we test them all in the same way, brushing and broiling several layers of a sticky BBQ sauce mix on stainless steel and enamel grill and oven grates until we have an even, burnt-on coating on each one. Each product is then applied to the grates according to the label instructions and then graded for how well they cleaned up our BBQ mess.
As our testers apply the products, we are also evaluating how easy each one is to use and assessing the product’s directions for completeness. Every single stroke and swipe necessary to remove the BBQ is counted and the time the product needs to sit on the grates is graded too. Finally, we take a close look at the safety and first aid instructions on each oven cleaner’s label, making sure that we do not recommend any product that could cause harm to consumers for lack of safety information.
What to look for when shopping for oven cleaners
✔️Form: Oven cleaners are available in several different forms like aerosols, foams, liquids and gels. Aerosols are the OG formula for oven cleaners. They work exceptionally well, but are most associated with the funky, uncomfortable smells people complain of with oven cleaners. Nearly all of the aerosol products available today are fume-free formulas that have little to no smell and can be used safely with proper ventilation and skin protection. Foams, liquids and gels are another form of oven cleaner that work really well and are easy to apply, plus compared to aerosols, there is less chance of it going into the air and causing discomfort. Clinging gels are especially great for the vertical sides of the oven interior as they won’t slide off before they have time to work. Some users report that liquid oven cleaners are not so great for oven racks as it is difficult to ensure they remain properly coated. Our pick for racks, Carobna’s 2-in-1 Oven Rack & Grill Cleaner, solves this problem with its included bag that ensures the racks are coated for the entire time needed to work.
✔️Standing Time: Standing time for oven cleaners can be anywhere from 30 seconds to well over 8 hours. If you’re cleaning your oven at 5 PM to use it again in an hour to prepare tonight’s dinner, you won’t want to use a cleaner that requires 5 hours to work. Instead, consider a spot cleaner like the Mr. Clean Extra Durable Magic Eraser or a fast-acting deep cleaning formula like the Zep Oven & Grill Cleaner. You could apply an oven cleaner for less time than what the manufacturer recommends, but you will probably still have burnt-on food stains inside your oven after. Giving these cleaners the proper time to work is important to get the best possible results.
✔️Scent: Look for a “fume-free” formula that minimizes the uncomfortable smells in the air while using. Options with essential oils and other ingredients that make the oven cleaner smell like lemons or other pleasant scents are available from many brands too.
Can I use an oven cleaner in my self-cleaning oven?
No! We don’t recommend it and neither do most appliance manufacturers. A self-cleaning oven works by heating the oven up to a very high temperature to burn off the leftover food and spills inside. Even if an oven cleaner claims to be safe to use in self-cleaning ovens, you should always check with your manufacturer before using it at home. Oven cleaners contain strong chemicals that can damage the coating of your oven, ruining the look of your appliance and often voiding your appliance’s warranty too.
You should also should never, under any circumstances, use an oven cleaner while you are running a self-cleaning cycle. Dangerously high temperature mixed with the chemicals in your oven cleaner can cause serious trouble in your kitchen. Even oven cleaners that work best in warm ovens specify that the oven should never be hot and explicitly mention that the oven should be off while you are cleaning it.
Are oven cleaners dangerous?
Oven cleaners were notorious for being smelly, fume-filled products that made it difficult to breathe when applying them. Now, most options are fume-free, come in pleasant scents and produce little discomfort in users. As with any cleaning product, minimize contact with the eyes and skin and never try to mix oven cleaners with any other cleaning product.
Making sure your kitchen is well ventilated and other surfaces are properly protected from contact are also important. You should always read an oven cleaner’s label carefully and only use it to clean the surfaces the manufacturer says it is safe to use on. Oven cleaners can be too harsh to use on stovetops and stainless steel appliances, so instead reach for a bottle of your favorite stainless steel cleaner or one of our picks for stovetop cleaners.
Can I clean my oven with baking soda and vinegar?
Many sites recommend using a DIY paste made from a combination of baking soda, vinegar and lemons to clean your oven. While we’ve tested it in our Lab before and it does work well enough on small spots, it requires a lot more time and scrubbing than any of the oven cleaners on this list and for that reason, isn’t a method we recommend. All of the picks on this list are specifically formulated to tackle oven messes and will get the job done in either half the time, with half the effort or both.
Why trust Good Housekeeping?
Carolyn Forté has over 40 years of experience researching, testing and writing about the best ways to clean every part of your home. She has conducted and overseen testing across dozens of product categories including grill cleaners, stainless steel cleaners, oven cleaners, stovetop cleaners and more.
Carolyn Forté Home Care & Cleaning Lab Executive Director Carolyn Forté brings more than 40 years of experience as a consumer products expert to her role as executive director of the Good Housekeeping Institute‘s Home Care and Cleaning Lab.
Jamie Kim Contributing Writer and Analyst Jamie Kim is a consumer products expert with over 17 years of experience in areas of product development and manufacturing.