When winter rolls around again, it’s your oven’s time to shine. In December, we celebrate national dessert days for treats ranging from lemon cupcakes to gingerbread. It's also the season for stuffing and delicious casseroles, making it the most important month for oven lovers everywhere — next to Thanksgiving, of course.
To honor these foodie holidays (and to make sure yours is ready for the next time a baking craving strikes), APHW has five oven maintenance tips to help you keep your oven primed for boiling, braising, and baking all your favorite meals and desserts. Read to the end for a yummy cookie recipe!
Pro Tip: Turn your appliance off before doing any DIY oven maintenance.
How often should I clean my oven?
Many of us aren’t sure when to put our ovens on the kitchen cleaning schedule, but the recommendation is to give your oven a thorough cleaning three to four times a year can help you prevent the following:
- Smells from stuck-on food
- Leftover food burning during future use
- Old food and grease limiting how well your oven works
Cleaning your oven with baking soda and vinegar
Many cleaners can get the gunk out of your oven quickly, but this 4-step natural approach to cleaning your oven with baking soda and vinegar is an easy way to get the job done.
- Rub a 1:6 ratio of baking soda and water throughout your oven’s interior, avoiding heating elements
- Spray vinegar wherever you applied the paste
- Let it sit for at least 20 minutes
- Once the mixture has done its work (4-24 hours later), wipe away the mess and you’re done!
Checking oven heating elements
Broken oven heating elements can cause big problems in the kitchen, ranging from undercooked dinners to high electricity bills and oven fires. If you notice any of these signs, it may be time to find a replacement:
- Debris building up
- Burners looking deformed
- Parts (or all) of the burner not working properly
Replacement burners can be found online or in most home improvement stores at reasonable prices—just be sure to replace yours with the correct one, and you’ll be back to cooking in no time.
Carefully cleaning oven knobs
Oven knobs can be a magnet for food and dirt, but cleaning them should be done with care. To avoid getting electrocuted – or shorting out your oven’s electrical system – wipe them gently with a damp cloth, so as not to trap water behind the knob. Never remove them for wiping or soaking.
Wipe down your oven’s knobs using the least amount of cleaner possible. Any excess cleaner could trigger your oven’s electrical system, causing it to fry the electronics and the person cleaning it. Don’t forget to unplug your oven before cleaning!
Clearing the stove hood filter of kitchen grease
Your oven’s hood is made to catch grease, but it can get clogged over time, making it much less effective. If you haven’t cleaned your hood and filter for some time (or ever), fill a sink with hot water, add baking soda and de-greasing dish soap, then scrub the grease away.
You can even use the mixture to wipe down your hood so it’s sparkling clean. Repeat this every month or so to keep the grease and grime from building up.
Bonus Homemade Cookie Recipe: Chocolate Mint Candies Cookies
Try this cookie recipe from All Recipes to help you celebrate National Homemade Cookie Day the right way!
Ingredients you’ll need
- ¾ cup butter
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 large eggs
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 (4.5 ounce) packages chocolate mint candies
- Add sugar, butter, and water to a saucepan on medium heat
- Once melted, remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips
- After the chips have been fully combined, let the mixture cool for 10 minutes
- Pour the mixture into a large bowl and beat eggs into the mixture, one at a time
- Once all eggs have been added, fold in the flour, baking soda, and salt
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Roll cookie dough into medium egg-sized balls and place them on a greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart
- Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, and watch them so they don’t overbake
- Once ready, remove from oven, press 1 chocolate mint candy into each cookie, and let cool for 1 minute
- Bon appétit!
Like any major home appliance or system, ovens break down sometimes. With an APHW home warranty, you can use our easy claims process to quickly get your cookie baker fixed and keep the oven lovin’ going strong. For more information on the other items we cover, explore our coverage guide or call 866.394.8767 today.