My oven has a convenient window on it. It is very old and covered in soot. I tried what many recommendations say and used water and baking soda together, but it did not cut through the grime. Does anyone know how to get rid of this mess?
Oven windows generally have three or four layers of glass. If you want to clean stuff in between the inside and outside, you must have an appliance repair service come out and tear the door apart.
If you just want to simply clean the inside glass, you can use a thick paste made up of baking soda and water, a non-scratching rag or scouring pad, and some elbow grease This post explains it all very well:
Also, just about every oven glass has a tinting on it. Thisis the main reason you shouldn't use a scouring pad to clean it. Scouring pads will scratch the tint. I don't think oven cleaner is responsible for discoloring the glass. One way to know for sure, is to find and oven like yours, and look at it.
Does your oven have a cleaning cycle? I've had both good and bad experiences with cleaning cycles, but on some ovens they work quite well. Even if they don't remove all the grime, they make it much easier to remove with water and gentle cleaners.
Then again, I've used ovens where the self-cleaning cycle didn't do anything. It depends.
Depending on how dirty or modern your oven is, you'll have to balance the trade-offs of whether or not it's worth it to try cleaning it when you can buy a relatively inexpensive new oven instead. Figure out how much your time is worth, and if it's more than the cost of a new oven you probably shouldn't bother.
Now, this sounds extreme, but if you're having a lot of trouble cleaning it, this option is worth keeping in mind. New ovens are also generally more performant by providing even heating and superior self-cleaning cycles (so you won't have to worry about this ever again!)