Why Leaving Bits Of Food Behind In Your Oven Is A Dangerous Mistake

Despite all of the kitchen gadgets that fill store shelves these days, your oven is still one of the most useful appliances you possess. If you are a frequent home cook, you probably use your oven multiple times a week, if not daily. During this time, it is not uncommon that the food you are cooking might drip, fall, or overflow into your oven, and while it's tempting to leave it be, this can become a major hazard. We recommend always cleaning leftover food out of your oven between uses in order to avoid unpleasant scents — or worse, a fire.

Food residue in an oven is an inevitable part of preparing a dish. A liquid sauce might splash out of a pan as it bubbles. Muffin batter might run down from an overfilled tin. Grease might drip off or spit out from of a cut of meat as its fat renders. After spending time cooking, the last thing most people want to do is wipe down an oven, and it may not seem like much of a concern; however, the residue left behind by these foods will dry up over time. These can then become very likely to catch fire due to their low moisture, meaning the next time you turn on your oven it could produce a burning smell, thick smoke, or even flames.

How to prevent drips and spills in the oven

The best way to save yourself from creating a dangerous oven is by preventing food residue in the first place. You can do so by placing ingredients into appropriately-sized baking dishes, and by anticipating how food will react in the oven. For example, you could place a lid on a bubbling dish or cover it with foil, and you may want to leave room in a cake pan for the batter to rise, as well as place a baking tray beneath dishes that are likely to spill over.

No one is perfect, so occasionally mistakes will happen and you will be left with a bit of a mess. The best option in this case is to let the oven cool down and then clean up the mess immediately. Failing that, however, you can follow our guide for keeping your oven spotless. If you have an extra stubborn mess on your hands that won't shift with a quick wipe, you can also check out what we recommend doing to remove baked-on grease from your oven.