Cleaning Your Oven Safely

Cleaning your oven doesn't have to be a day long project. Learn some tricks of the trade or try using Grandma's old oven cleaning recipe.

No matter how careful you are while placing that souffle in the oven or cleaning up after the Sunday casserole that's boiled over for the third weekend in a row, your oven will eventually need a thorough cleansing. Charred food, baked on grease, dust, and other grime can stain the oven's inner coating and even affect the way food smells and tastes.

WHAT TO USE

MAKE YOUR OWN CLEANSER

HEAVY DUTY HOMEMADE OVEN CLEANER

1t Liquid dish soap

1t Lemon juice

1-1/2t Bleach

1qt. Warm water

Mix all ingredients in cleaning bucket or bowl and apply solution (with a sponge) to the oven's cavity. Allow to sit for 45-minutes and then scrub clean. Rinse well!

AMMONIA TRICK

1c ammonia

Pour ammonia into plastic bowl or dish (which can be easily disposed of). Place ammonia inside oven and close door. Allow to sit overnight. Remove container and wipe away stubborn stains. (Ammonia may be reused, if stored properly.)

SAFE CHEMICAL-FREE OVEN CLEANING

After spending years working in the fumes of harsh chemicals, many are making the switch to alternative cleaners. Many natural solvents are equally as powerful as their chemical-based counterparts, and often, much safer. You can purchase alternative solutions commercially or make your own.

GRANDMA'S TRIED AND TRUE VINEGAR RECIPE

5T Baking soda

3 drops hand soap or liquid dish soap

4T White vinegar

Mix above ingredients until they form a thick paste. Apply paste to inside of oven and scrub with sponge. Wipe clean and rinse thoroughly.

CITRUS CLEANSER

Use equal amounts of lemon juice and salt. Apply paste to stubborn stains and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes. Scrub with brush and wipe clean.

NATURAL SCRUB CLEAN OVEN SOLUTION

4T Baking soda

4T Hot, steamy water

Make a paste with the above listed ingredients and apply it to the oven's cavity using an old toothbrush or soft-bristled cleaning brush. Allow solution to sit for 1-minute. Scrub with brush until oven is clean. Rinse with water and sponge until no traces of baking soda remain.

TOUGH STAIN REMOVER

1c Salt

1c Baking soda

1c Water

Make a paste using the ingredients above and apply it to the inside of the oven. Close door and heat oven to 500-degrees for 60 minutes. Turn off oven and allow to cool. Wipe debris from oven using a moist sponge. Rinse well.

HOW TO CLEAN THE OVEN STEP BY STEP

THE EASY, BREEZY SELF-CLEANING OVEN

One of the best inventions of all time was that of the self-cleaning oven. Self-cleaning ovens work by heating themselves to a higher than normal temperature (800-900-degrees) and, in essence, converting grease, grime and stains to powder. This leaves for minimal clean-up. Once the cleaning cycle has finished, you simply use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe the ash and residue from the oven cavity. Ovens which don't get clean enough the first time, can be put through a second cycle of cleaning almost immediately.

Instructions on how to operate your self-cleaning oven are almost always located on the inside of the oven door or accompany the product's registration information.

When using a self-cleaning oven:

1. Always remove the racks before cleaning. If left in through the cleaning cycle, the high temperatures will discolor and warp them.

2. Make sure the door is latched completely. Many newer ovens feature self-locking cleaning cycles. If yours does not, be sure to double-check the latch before throwing the oven into the cleaning cycle. Not doing so can ignite a grease fire or cause injury to the innocent person who pulls the door open.



3. Keep small children and pets away from the oven during its self-cleaning mode.

4. Never use commercial oven cleaner solutions during self-cleaning mode or at any other time. Many products are flammable and cause serious injury and death if exposed to high temperatures. Also, self-cleaning ovens have a delicate surface which has been carefully treated. Commercial oven cleaners damage this surface. Once the surface has been damaged, you will never again be able to use the self-cleaning feature.

THE REST OF US

For those without self-cleaning ovens, the chore will be a bit more tedious, but doesn't have to stretch into an entire Saturday. Follow these easy steps for optimal cleaning results:

1. Fill the sink with extra-hot, soapy water and place all oven racks and broiling racks into the water.

2. If using a cleaning product, apply the cleanser to the inside of the oven.

3. Wait. Allow at least 10-minutes for the cleanser to go to work.

4. Using a damp sponge, wipe dirt, debris and grease away.

5. Rinse. It's important to remove the cleaning solution completely from the oven. Rinse thoroughly several times.

6. Turn the oven to 200-degrees. Allow it to heat for ten minutes and then turn the oven off. This will help "burn off" any leftover cleanser odor so that it doesn't seep into your food.

7. Repeat, if necessary.

TIPS AND TRICKS

BY HEATING your oven to 200-degrees and then shutting off the heat source and spraying the oven cavity with cleaning solution, you'll get a head start on hard-to-remove stains and problem areas. The heat will help the cleaner penetrate the oven cavity and make your job easier.

YOU CAN guarantee you've removed all cleansers from the oven by rinsing with vinegar and water.

ALWAYS wear rubber gloves if using chemical-based solutions.

CLEANERS AND DEGREASERS are sold commercially in spray bottles for in-between cleanups. Most are mild enough to be used everyday and will help to prevent big cleanup jobs in the future.

WIPING the oven after each spill will eliminate the need for big cleanups later.

USE aluminum foil around messy, greasy foods to avoid accident boil overs, greasy run-offs, and spills.

© High Speed Ventures 2011