How to Make $200 Cleaning an Oven

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There are few things that people hate more in life than cleaning their oven. People dread the prospect of cleaning filthy ovens and would rather give them away or sell them for peanuts than clean them. Multiple times a month we will make anywhere from $100-$200 simply by cleaning an oven and then reselling it. The crazy thing, as I will show you, is how quick, simple and profitable it is to clean an oven.

I’m writing this post for two reasons. One, I want to show you all how easy it is to clean an oven and to never be intimidated by the process again. Second, I wanted to come up with a way to help those interested in ApplianceSchool to come up with the $147. Either way, I hope this is helpful to you.

Step One: Get an oven (or clean your own)

People will get rid of ovens often just because they are dirty, though they will often say things like they wanted to change to a coil top style, or a glass top style, or change a color. Whatever the reasons, people are willing to get rid of perfectly working ovens for next to nothing, which creates a great opportunity to make money.

Depending on the age and style (glass top style’s sell for more) I will often pay $50-$100 for an oven. Try to test it out before you purchase it, but of all appliances, ovens are the least likely to have something go wrong. If someone tells you that it’s working fine, when it comes to ovens, they are probably telling you the truth.

Step Two: Supplies
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You will need green scotch brite pads, razor blade scrapers, Windex and a few rags or microfiber cloths. The Windex works great as a degreaser and cleaner.

Step Three: Cleaning

I think it’s best to start on the inside and get it over with.

The door – Once you open the door there are two main parts to clean on the inside of the door. The glass and the metal. The glass is usually grease stained. To get that clean, spray it with Windex and scrape the grease off with the razor scraper blade. Make sure you keep the glass wet with the Windex as you scrape it. Once you’ve gotten most of it with the blade, you should be able to get the rest with more Windex and a microfiber cloth or a rag.

To get the metal, spray Windex and use the green scotch brite pad and pressing down relatively hard with one or two fingers at a time. For big chunks on the metal, scrape them off first with the razor blade.

Inside the oven – Spray everything down with the Windex and let it sit for a few minutes. Start with the thick gunk on the bottom of the oven and scrape it up with the razor blade scraper. Wipe the crud off on each pass in a paper towel to keep the area you are cleaning clear. For really caked on gunk, you have to have the razor blade at just the right angle. Once all the big stuff is gone, finish it up with the scotch brite pad.

Inside the door glass – Occasionally drips, grease and smoke stain get in between the panes of glass in the door. If you really want to get good money for the oven, you will need to clean that portion of the glass. You can access the glass by unscrewing the two screws that hold the handle on that are located inside the door, one on each side. If you have someone to help you hold the glass, you can have it often wipe it down without even removing it. Then put the handle back on and put the screws back in place. If you aren’t comfortable doing it yourself get some help on this stage.

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Glass top surface – Windex and the razor scraper work magically on glass top stoves. Make sure that the glass is always wet when using the blade. You also need to have the blade at just the right angle, which is somewhere around a 45 degree angle. For really caked on gunk, just scrape a little bit at a time, moving from one side to the other until it’s gone. Wipe up afterwards with Windex and a microfiber cloth.

Coil top surface – On the flat parts of the surface again use Windex and the razor scraper blade. Be very careful not to have the blade too steep as it will catch on the surface and leave a little scratch. For the rest of the surface, try to clean it with the microfiber cloth and the Windex. The scotch brite pad will also work good, but can make the spots that you scrub on slightly duller than the rest. It’s often barely noticeable, just use your discretion.

Display, sides and everywhere else – Windex and the microfiber cloth. That’s it. I will often wet a little spot on the cloth and clean using one finger at a time for grease spots. Then switch spots on the rag and keep going.

Drip pans – If they are rusted out, or filthy dirty, just replace them. It will cost about $15 bucks or so, but it’s worth it. If they are just kind of dirty, but don’t stick out that much, leave them. People never expect used ovens to have brand new drip pans and they can always replace them themselves if they would like.

Step four: Sell it

Take three pictures of your sparkly clean oven out in as much natural light as possible. Take a picture of the entire oven so that people can see the full view. Then take an up close picture of the top and display panel. Lastly take a picture of the inside of the door and inside the oven. People want to see what the inside looks like.

The entire process of cleaning the oven should take no more than 30-45 minutes. It usually takes us anywhere from 5-30 minutes depending on how grimy it is. The more ovens you clean, the quicker you get. Using the right materials to clean really makes a big difference.

You won’t make $200 every time. Sometimes you will only make $100-$150.  Still not bad for an hour or two of work.

The best way to make money is to find a way to add value. Cleaning ovens is a simple way to add value, and as many of you will find out, a great way to make money. It’s just another reason why I’m so keen on the used appliance market. For those of you looking to start your own appliance business, check out ApplianceSchool.com

I fully expect to receive some postcards this summer from some of you ambitious readers that are vacationing with the proceeds from your new oven cleaning side business!

13 COMMENTS

  1. Great idea!! I just cleaned the inside door and window on my gas oven. Used the Windex, razor knife and 0000 steel wool. Real fast cleaner. Came out real nice. The oven reselling idea is a hidden gem. Going to Craigslist right now. “Cash for old ovens – working or not.”

  2. Hey Ryan,
    When we bought our ceramic “glass top” it came with a little bottle of some expensive cleaner. My wife has found baking soda and water (just pour some baking soda on the stove top then drizzle water on it to make a paste) works very well with a rag to clean off the glass top. The best part of it is it’s non-toxic and very effective. We avoid harsh chemicals and found baking soda is a wonder item. It works well for so many things.

    JD

    • JD, my wife has been working on getting me to use baking soda more as well! It seems to work really well if you let it soak, moist like you said over the grease build ups for a while. Yeah our family tends to have a lot of baking soda on hand, pretty amazing how many uses there are for the stuff!

    • It’s been getting shorter and shorter as time goes on. Inside of 30 minutes each way I don’t think too much about it. Outside of 30 minutes one way I wrestle with the risk/reward quite a bit more. It also depends on how much inventory you have at the time.

  3. Do you ever used oven cleaners? They are pretty caustic but usually work well.

    Will need to try razors and Windex on the glasstop. I have some expensive stuff that is only so-so effective.

    • I haven’t used oven cleaners primarily because I can’t stand how potent the odors are. Baking soda mixed to a paste works well also.

  4. I love what you’re doing on so many levels, Ryan. I recently discovered that a wet Brillo pad does a great job of cleaning glass shower doors with very little effort. I’m thinking that it might be easier to clean the oven door glass with Brillo pads as well. Just a thought!

  5. My mom taught me the best way to clean an oven. Simply wet a pumice stone with water and scrub. It makes quick work of the dirtiest ovens. I’ve even thought of offering an oven cleaning service once I discovered just how easy it is to clean disgusting ovens this way. I find that if I soak the stone for about 5 minutes in water it’s even easier. Try it and you will ditch the Windex. Love your posts and inspiration. Maybe this will help you. Please note this is for the oven only. Do not use a pumice stone on the stovetop.

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