How to Clean Your Oven
Oven cleaning. It’s one of those chores that you know you’re supposed to add to your monthly cleaning list, right? The only problem is it seems daunting and I’m not exactly sure how I’m supposed to do it. Most ovens these days come with a self-cleaning feature, but I’ve heard they can often do more harm than good. Then there are the proprietary oven-cleaning solutions which are so powerful they probably should be stored under lock and key to prevent any chance of real problems with kids around.
So what’s a girl to do when it comes to getting off that grime that bubbled over from the lasagna last Friday night, and the sticky, now-blackened goo that dripped over when you made that apple crumble?
I did some research to find out.
Ignore the self-clean feature
According to thekitchn.com, using your oven’s self-cleaning mode can actually damage it. When you hit that self-clean option, the oven heats up to interior temperatures of as high as 1,000 degrees. Sure, it will burn off all that grime and food to a crisp so that you can then just wipe it off, but it can create a lot of smoke, a stinky kitchen and even cause fuses to pop and control panels to burn out. Apparently appliance companies are aware of this, but consumers don’t want to buy ovens without the feature. Your best bet is to pretend that self-clean feature doesn’t exist.
Stay away from harmful chemicals
Oven-cleaning solutions are notorious for being really strong and full of toxins, and may not be the type of thing you want wafting around your kitchen and living spaces. But sometimes a well-used oven gets a lot of bubbled-over food remnants that a good old scrub with soap and water can’t budge. If you require a helping hand, consider a non-toxic, fume-free spray such as Goo Gone Oven and Grill cleaner that will help break down burned-on carbon deposits.
Go au natural
For an easy-to-make, natural oven cleaner, wellnessmama.com recommends taking out all wire racks first and cleaning those with soapy water in the sink. Then spray down the inside of your oven with a water bottle until it’s damp, pour on a thick layer of baking soda (there should be a baking soda paste about ¼ inch thick on the bottom where all the baked-on food gathers) and spray any dry baking soda patches again until it’s all damp and forming a paste. Leave it for a few hours or overnight, with the oven turned off, and then wipe off with a damp cloth in the morning.
The timer has sounded and the casserole is cooked. You have options. You can either pour yourself a large glass of Pinot noir, retreat to the sofa, congratulate yourself on a job well done and relax… or you can remove said casserole using oven gloves, check out the oven interior, and attack any spills, drips, or other remnants before they settle in for the long term, and follow up with your original plan.
Voila. Clean and shiny in no time!