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From easy sheet pan suppers to decadent desserts, we lean on our ovens like tried and true best friends. Even though we use our ovens for many recipes, we take our ovens for granted and seldom clean them like we clean our counters and stovetop. So when push comes to shove — just how often should you clean your oven?

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If you can’t remember when you last cleaned your oven, or you’ve seen your oven smoking, then your oven is probably long overdue for a scrub-down. In an ideal world, an oven should be cleaned thoroughly every three months. To make it simple, clean your oven at the start of each new season.

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You may think this process is a bit unnecessary, but doing a quarterly clean does make for less hassle in the long run. The longer food particles and grease sit in an oven, the harder it is to remove the dirt from the grates and interior walls.

Via: Flickr

There are many methods for cleaning an oven, but it all comes down to two things — your preference and your time frame. If you don’t like using chemicals, you can get a lot off with a baking soda paste or strong elbow grease. However, the all-natural way requires some patience.

Many ovens have self-cleaning features, but this method can take up to twelve hours, and it can smoke up your house, which can be hazardous. The quickest solution is to use oven cleaners which do the heavy lifting for you. Even though this method is the fastest, it also requires some planning. After you clean with the chemical spray, you’ll want to wipe down the oven and wait a day or so until you start using your oven, or else the cleaning solution residue will smoke up your kitchen.

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So if you know you’ll be firing up your oven for a big event or a holiday gathering, make sure you clean your oven a few days in advance.

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