Oven Leaking Grease? Here’s Why and What To Do About It

Got grease coming out from somewhere in your oven, and not sure what to do? You’re not alone. This is quite a common issue, and thankfully there’s some simple solutions.

An oven is usually made up of a broil element, oven rack, single or double baking elements, light bulb and assembly, convection fan, hidden bake tray, fan blade, and a convection baffle. Most of these parts don’t need lubrication except the fans, which have already become lubricated. Therefore, if you recently observed your oven leaking grease, the grease is probably a residual component of your cooking activities and habits.

Signs of Leaking Grease

The first way to tell that your oven is leaking grease is through visual observation. You may see traces of grease leaving the oven once you open the door if the oven is not in operation. Accumulated grease may flow out of the hidden bake tray after a cooking session.

The second way to tell that your oven is leaking grease is that it will smoke whenever you turn it on. Don’t ignore any dark or light haze smoke plumes coming out of the oven vent or door. Smoke is bad news for your household. First, smoke negatively impacts the flavor and quality of the baked food. No one fancies a smoky dinner!

Secondly, smoke triggers or worsens the symptoms of homeowners with respiratory illnesses and allergies. Smoke may also irritate nearby pets, leading to wild behavior and even increased medical bills, both human and veterinary.

Thirdly, your oven may catch fire.  This is more uncommon, although dangerous, if the oven has been left unattended. Excessive accumulation of grease inside ovens that don’t self-clean may cause a fire. The oven fans may also leak lubricants, although the condition is very rare.

Oven with grease inside
The grease is a residual component of your cooking activities and habits, and you will have to clean the oven yourself from time to time to prevent health issues.

Here are some of the reasons why your oven may leak grease.

Grease Leak in New Ovens

If you observe rising smoke outside of the new oven, then there’s no cause for alarm. New electric ovens usually contain residual lubrication from the manufacturing process. Most first-time oven users fail to realize that the modern ovens contain an oil-based factory element that will burn and produce smoke once you light up the oven. It may also leak inside the carriage box during transit.

To overcome this problem, most manufacturers recommend “burning in” your appliance before you begin cooking or baking. Start by switching it off if it was already on. Next, remove any utensils such as oven pans and pots that you may have placed on the oven racks because the smoke from the procedure may stain them. Shut the oven door and set it to bake at the manufacturer’s set temperature, usually 500 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 60 minutes. The extreme heat will burn out the grease and, therefore, will no longer leak or smoke when baking.

Grease Leaks in Used Ovens

Most grease is used in ovens and results from your baking activities and behavior. This means that how you bake your pastries, meat, broccoli, or any other food and the nature of the baked food will determine the amount of residual grease inside the oven.

For example, if you broil high-fat foods regularly, say pizzas and fatty steaks on the exposed oven racks, grease may splatter on the sidewalls and the roof of the appliance. The juicy fat melting from your steak may flow down the rack and accumulate on the hidden bake tray.

Other grease spills are usually due to accidents or inexperience. For example, you may use excessive oils even with a baking sheet underneath to cook some food under high temperatures, which may puncture the sheet and cause the oil to leak into the oven cavity. Other times, you may put excessive oil into your baking trays and spill some more while oiling some types of bread after baking. The accumulated grease will flow out of the door or other available crevices when the oven cools down.

Lastly, no matter how careful you are during the cooking process, fats and oils will still melt under high oven temperatures. Once you’re done cooking and turn off the oven, the low temperatures will cause the oil vapor to condense back to oil and fats, which may line the sidewalls of the oven and begin leaking with time.

How to Fix Oven Grease Spill Issues

Grease spills can mess with your oven. Apart from the unsightly appearance, it makes it difficult to cook, and when you cook, the food is not properly done or contains unsavory smoky taste and color. The grease will also stain your cooking utensils and your clothes when you accidentally touch them. Excessive grease will drip into internal components of the oven, becoming a potential fire hazard. Puddled grease on the floor is also a slip hazard. So, how do you fix the problem of leaking grease in the oven?

Clean the Oven Using a Degreaser

  1. Begin with turning off the power supply if the oven is already in operation. Wait for it to cool down properly.
  2. Remove any foreign appliance from the oven. Foreign here means anything that is not part of the oven, such as bakeware, oven racks, trays, and other accessories that usually aid in the cooking process but aren’t part of the oven. This will make it easier to focus on the appliance’s internal parts.
  3.   Once the cavity is free from third-party objects, scrape off all the oil and grease from the sidewalls and bottom of the oven using a plastic spatula or another flat object. You can also remove the hidden bake tray if it’s removable and clean it on its own, since it’s usually the most affected part of the oven.
  4.    Once you have scrapped the excessive grease and other condensed fats and oils on the sidewalls, use blotting paper in this step. Blotting paper will help you bloat out any other remaining grease and oil traces inside your appliance. Don’t forget to read the manufacturer’s manual about the dos and don’ts of cleaning an oven and the right cleaning products.
  5. Get the required degreasing agent and spray it on the sidewalls, racks, and the hidden bake tray to eliminate the grease stains that the first two cleaning processes failed. Leave some time for the cleaning solution to completely cut out the grease marks and dissolve the oil stains. Scrub with a plastic scouring ball. Wipe the surfaces with a clean paper cloth to remove the liberated grease stains.
  6. Dilute a mild detergent in water and wet a paper towel in the solution. You can also use other microfiber clothes suitable for your oven as stipulated by the manufacturer. Wipe the oven bottom with the paper towel and wash off the degreaser. Pick a clean paper towel and clean the greasy surfaces further.
  7. Once done cleaning, leave the door open for thirty minutes to one hour to let the accumulated moisture and odor escape.
Oven half clean and half with grease
A degreaser usually does its job pretty well and is enough to get rid of the grease in your oven.

Clean using baking soda and water

This hack is environmentally friendly, and the elements are easily available at home.

  1. Put a cupful of baking soda in a plastic container, probably a cleaning bucket, and add some water. Stir the mixture slowly until you get some thick mixture. Stop when you get a thick paste to avoid ruining the texture.
  2. Scoop a small amount using a soft sponge or a spatula and spread a thin, even layer inside the sidewall, rack, oven bottom, or any other surface with grease stains. You can add an extra layer where the grease spots look heavier than in the other places. However, you should avoid applying the baking soda mixture on internal fans and heating elements because you may incur heavy repair bills when they get damaged.
  3. Close the appliance latch and let the baking soda mixture act on the stains for several hours. The natural mixture may not be as effective and fast as the chemical cleaning mixtures. Better still, apply the mixture in the evening so that the cleaning process continues overnight.
  4. Use a microfiber cloth, a damp rag, or a kitchen sponge to scrub the greasy surfaces thoroughly and remove any traces of food particles or debris. You had better bring some white vinegar along because some grease stains and other tough grime can be difficult to scrub off.
  5. Rinse the oven. Once done, remove all the stubborn stains, rinse the oven with clean water. Wet a clean rag or cloth in clean water and use it to wipe the baking soda mixture and grime off the surface of your oven. Once it is sparkling clean and no visible grease marks, leave the appliance door open to dry or dry it using some clean absorbent paper or cloth. Better still, plug in the appliance and switch it to the lowest temperature setting to dry the water for some minutes. Ensure that your hands are dry to avoid getting electrocuted.

Cleaning the Convection Fan

Remember that the convection and the cooling fans use a little lubricant to function properly. Some of these greasy lubricants, in some rare cases, may leak inside the oven. Here’s how to clean the fans

  1. Begin with unplugging the oven from the power socket to avoid electric shocks during the process.
  2. Open the protective cover using a screwdriver. There is no need to remove the whole fan if only the blades are affected. You can clean them while they are still installed.
  3. Loosen the fan blade using a socket wrench and take it out. Note that it may be reversely threaded.
  4. Soak the fan. Put the fan inside the cleaning solution and leave it for almost one hour.
  5. Scrub off the grease until the blades are sparkling clean.
  6. Once dry, reinstall the blades and screw the cover on.
  7. Dry your hands and switch on the oven. Ensure that the convection fan is running properly.

Bottom Line

The grease in electric ovens usually emanates from the cooking activities and food types. However, new ovens contain some grease from the resultant manufacturing operations which you should burn out before you start cooking with the new oven. The above steps will help you fix the issues. You can also opt to buy a modern self-cleaning oven.