Extreme Homecare Oven Cleaning Tips
The self-cleaning function in your oven seems like a blessing at first glance. But, while it may make scrubbing and scraping easier, there are drawbacks to using this feature.
Using this function can damage certain parts of the oven, such as the window glass and seals. And it can produce noxious fumes that you should not inhale or ingest.
This helps prevent your oven from becoming so heavily soiled that the high-heat cycle takes longer to clean and can produce smoke.
To manually clean the oven, first remove the baking racks and bakeware from the inside of the oven and set them aside for washing. Next, make a paste of baking soda and water and coat the oven (avoiding the heating elements) and sprinkle salt on any really grimy areas to help loosen and lift the dirt. Leave the paste on for at least one hour, but you can leave it on even longer for more heavily soiled areas.
Then, wipe the oven down using a damp cloth to remove any loosened dirt and grease. After that, wipe the oven glass and oven door firmly with vinegar or lemon juice, being careful not to damage or move the oven gasket (see below). Let the glass and oven dry before using them again.
A note about oven cleaner: Never use a commercial oven cleaner that contains lye (such as sodium or potassium hydroxide). These chemicals are extremely toxic and can cause severe burns to skin and eyes, if not immediately rinsed from the skin, and can be fatal if swallowed.
Instead, use natural, non-toxic cleaning ingredients such as baking soda and lemon juice for oven cleaning. These are safer and better for the environment than the chemical oven cleaners. They are also less expensive than buying commercial oven cleaner. If you do need to use oven cleaner, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to safely use it, and be sure to wear an apron and gloves. It is also recommended that you work in a well-ventilated area. The fumes from commercial oven cleaner can be very irritating to the nose and throat.
Oven cleaners emit a cloud of toxic fumes during the self-clean cycle, which can be hazardous to breathe. They also contain acids that damage the oven interior over time. It is recommended to avoid using them, and to clean your oven manually instead. If you are concerned about the chemicals in commercial oven cleaners, there is a natural alternative: baking soda. You can make your own homemade nontoxic oven cleaner with ingredients you probably already have on hand. It works just as well and is less harmful than traditional oven cleaners.
Before the cleaning cycle begins, you will need to prepare your oven, cooktop and storage drawer by removing all food items and plastic objects This will reduce unsightly burnt-on residue. Before the start of the cycle, you will need to wipe down the glass window and the inside of the door with a damp cloth or nontoxic degreaser.
Ensure that you have an exhaust vent to help prevent smoke during the cleaning process, and leave the kitchen open so that air can circulate. It is also a good idea to stay close by in case you need to shut the oven door quickly.
For heavily soiled ovens, you can pre-clean the oven with a baking soda and water paste mixture (see recipe below). Spread the paste throughout the oven (avoid heating elements) and let it sit for at least one hour. If needed, sprinkle a thin layer of salt over the excessively grimy areas. Then, remove the paste and use a damp cloth or plastic scraper to wipe away any remaining soil.