Grilling expert reveals the key to the success of this common oven cleaning hack

If you want to clean your oven with a dishwasher pod, experts say there's a right and a wrong way to do it.

 Candy FCP602X E0/E Black Built-in Electric Single Oven
(Image credit: B&Q)

Cleaning the oven is everyone's least favorite task. Let's be honest here: depending on when you last cleaned your oven, it can take forever. You keep scrubbing, but the grease just won't shift. 

Of course, using a commercial oven cleaner will give you improved results, but if you're all out of your favorites and want to know how else you can clean an oven successfully without spending any cash, the (almost classic) dishwasher tab oven cleaning hack is ideal.

An open oven in bright kitchen

(Image credit: stocknroll / Getty)

We decided to speak with a cleaning professional and a grilling professional. Both have told us pretty much the same thing: you want to use dishwasher tablets.

Additionally, they add that to clean your oven successfully, you need to stop thinking about it as an oven. Instead, founder of Steam Clean Queen (opens in new tab) Emma Barton recommends treating your oven 'like a greasy frying pan you've just put into the dishwashing machine – with a Finish tablet (opens in new tab). Or any other dishwashing
tablet you got your hands on.'

The secret behind this oven-cleaning hack is that 'all dishwashing tablets contain powerful degreasing chemicals that'll quickly decompose build-up gunk inside the oven.' At the same time, because dishwasher tablets are formulated to be safe for the dishes you eat off, they're laden with fewer harsh chemicals than oven cleaners, if that's a concern.

Plus, when it comes to how cost-efficient this hack is, if you pick up Finish dishwasher pods on Amazon, (opens in new tab) they can work out at to be as little as $0.15, which isn't bad for a job well done.

Admittedly, we have looked at using dishwasher tablets in ovens before at Real Homes, but here our experts have told us to take a different approach to the usual method.

The right way to clean ovens with dishwasher tablets

Many websites will tell you to wet the dishwasher tablet and scrub it over the inside of your oven like a piece of chalk. We've found that when using it that way the dishwasher tablet just starts crumbling, making even more of a mess and not doing a great job at cleaning. 

Instead, do what Barton does: 'Chop the tablet into smaller pieces, put it into a spray bottle (opens in new tab) of warm water, and let it sit for 10 minutes until it's fully dissolved. Spray the newly made cleaning mix all over the oven and glass door. Wait around 5 minutes for the degreasing chemicals to do their magic, and wipe it clean with a paper towel.'

James Watts
James “Jimmy” Watts

James “Jimmy” Watts is a lifelong grilling fanatic and devotee of the outdoors lifestyle. After graduating from college with an honors degree in journalism, Jimmy cut his barbecuing and smoking teeth working in the kitchens of various smokehouses in his native Texas, before founding Own The Grill to combine his enduring passions, writing and cooking.

No spray bottle? No problem. You won't need to buy one if you really don't want to spend a thing.

You can still use this oven-cleaning hack with just any bowl or container you have. James “Jimmy” Watts, the CEO of Own The Grill (opens in new tab), tells us that he uses 'a dishwasher tablet dissolved in a jug of water and a scrubbing sponge. It’s quicker than the usual oven cleaner route, gets rid of the grease more effectively and as long as you’re willing to expend a little muscle power it’s also a lot more satisfying.'

The key to the success of this cleaning method, though, is cleaning the oven racks separately. Watts shares his wisdom: 'A lifetime of grilling has taught me that the easiest way to clean a dirty oven is to take the racks, or shelves if you prefer, out and hose them down in the shower with a natural detergent.' 

You could even try out our TikTok oven rack cleaning hack for this job too.

This method should come in handy as we head into the festive season where there is so much cooking involved. 

We wouldn't recommend using this method all the time but every once in a while to help with super stubborn residue. Be sure to clean off all remnants of the dishwasher tablet too, as you don't want to be cooking food in there with that leftover.

And that's it, folks. All you need is a dishwasher tablet, water, a sponge (opens in new tab), and some elbow grease. Your oven will thank you and there are many more dishwasher tablet hacks where that came from.

Anna is Content Editor at Real Homes. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. At Real Homes, she covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design. 

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