We Tested the Oven Cleaning Hack That Uses 1 Ingredient

Updated: Jan. 11, 2024

This oven cleaning hack is simple enough; all you need is one lemon! But does it really work?

The oven is one of the most difficult appliances to clean. Those stubborn, baked-on stains are hard to remove, and tough stains require tough cleaners. Which is why most oven cleaners are heavy-duty, full of chemicals and fumes. So I was definitely curious (and a little skeptical) when I saw this viral oven cleaning hack. Can you really clean an oven with just a lemon? I had to give it a try.

Can Lemons Really Clean An Oven?

It’s no secret that lemons are great for cleaning. The bright yellow citrus contains both citric acid and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Acids are effective at removing stains, cleaning off limescale and can even fight rust. Lemons are also naturally antibacterial and can neutralize odors. I’ve used lemons to clean my microwave and garbage disposal, with positive results.

But the oven seemed a little more daunting. The glass door was brown with stains, and the bottom of the oven wasn’t much better. In the past, I’ve mostly stuck to Easy-Off to clean my oven, and while it works—I’d love to take a more natural approach.

How to Use Lemons As an Oven Cleaning Hack

I followed the instructions from the viral video by TikTok user @yagmuronerr (she posted more details in the comments) to clean my oven with a lemon. Follow along to conduct your own lemon-cleaner experiment!

Step 1: Preheat the oven

Preheat your oven to 400°F. The idea behind the hack, is that the hot water and lemon create a steam and soften the stains inside the oven while the lemon water heats.

Step 2: Slice the lemon

sliced lemon on a cutting boardErica Young for Taste of Home

Slice the lemon into thick slices. I sliced my lemon into four slices. I figured with the high temperature, I wanted the lemons to be pretty robust so they wouldn’t simply shrivel into tiny bits while they “cooked.”

Step 3: Add lemons and water to dish

squeezing lemons into a dishErica Young for Taste of Home

Fill an oven-safe bowl or dish with water, then add the lemon slices. I squeezed the lemons slices so the lemon juice would mix with the water before dropping in the slices.

Step 4: Bake

baking dish with lemon in the ovenErica Young for Taste of Home

“Bake” the lemon water in the oven for 20 minutes at 400°.

Step 5: Cool and clean

wiping oven with a a blue ragErica Young for Taste of Home

After the lemon water has baked for 20 minutes, turn off the oven and allow the water to cool for about 10 to 20 minutes. (I attempted to move onto cleaning after 10 minutes, but the water was still too hot to touch so I let it cool an additional 10 minutes with the oven open.) Once cooled, dip a microfiber cloth in the lemon water, and scrub the oven interior and door.

Results: Not Bad!

Cleaning Oven With Lemon dirty rag and oven after being cleanedErica Young for Taste of Home

I’ll admit, I didn’t have high hopes that one simple lemon would be strong enough to clean my oven. But it worked pretty well! It definitely didn’t get the oven glass as squeaky clean as a heavy-duty oven cleaner, but you can see how much grime and grease I was able to wipe off with my cloth. It was even more effective on the bottom of the oven, where I was able to remove most the stains. I think next time, I might increase the baking time as well as the cooling time; hopefully creating more steam. The bottom line: I won’t be giving up my Easy-Off anytime soon, but I think the lemon hack is great as a quick method, used in between deep cleaning sessions.