Taking the sting out of oven cleaning

Oven cleaning is one of my most dreaded chores to the point I only manage to bring myself to do it about once a year.  It’s not just that it’s dirty and difficult (it seems always to require a degree of elbow grease regardless of the claims of the oven cleaning products), but it the fumes that get to me.   Here is an extract from ‘Heloise Around the House’, a householder’s manual on the topic of commercial oven cleaners:

“You must be very careful using these cleaners because most of them contain lye and nitrogen compounds which can cause burns.  When you use oven cleaners, be sure to wear rubber gloves and have plenty of  circulating fresh air.  The fumes are dangerous to inhale so keep children and pets away from the area.  To be on the safe side, protect yourself by wearing a face mask or at least eyeglasses.”

Causes burns.  Dangerous fumes.  It sounds more like engaging in chemical warfare than domestic cleaning.   I’m not as careful as many people when it comes to exposing myself to chemicals, but this really is an exception and working with it is not a thought I relish; it seems quite an extreme risk for such a prosaic chore. Also I do have rubber gloves but lack a face mask.

So when I saw this video recently about ow to clean your oven using a mixture of baking soda, water and vinegar and it immediately piqued by interest as my oven was in desperate need of attention and here was a waste free, non-toxic option using basic ingredients I already had on hand.

How it works

I did not measure the ingredients, rather I just eyeballed it based on what the video had showed.  I guess I used about a cup of baking soda, about a third of a cup of water and the same of vinegar.  I used a cloth to dab this mixture on all dirty areas of the oven, taking care to avoid the elements.  Once the oven was thus coated, I placed the bowl containing the remaining mixture into the oven, set it to 100C and left if for 45 mins.  Once the oven had cooled, I returned with a cloth and a scourer to clean up.

Did it work?

Did the mixture help?  Yes it did.  It softened the baked on food, which was the goal.  Elbow grease was still required, especially on the glass door, but I managed to have it gleaming like new after about 20 minutes.

I was very pleased with the result.  My oven is clean and I didn’t have to risk burns or noxious fumes to achieve it.   In fact  the whole approach is seems quite achievable, something that might be relatively easy to do on a regular basis, especially when compared with donning full protective gear and committing to an overnight oven cleaning marathon.

This will be my oven cleaner of choice going  forward.