So by now you’ve probably sorted the loft, tided the garage and the house is looking spick and span, but there’s still that one job we’ve all been putting off…Cleaning the oven!
But before you reach for the usual supermarket oven cleaner, pause and take a look at some of the ingredients. Many contain harmful chemicals. Sodium hydroxide – can cause severe chemical burns to the skin. Isobutane – extremely flammable and can cause shortness of breath. And they are just the first two chemicals on the list of ingredients. You’ve got to ask yourself if you really want to bring such a toxic product into your home. If the answer is no, then how do you clean your oven without putting your health at risk?
Here’s one solution. You will need…a good quality microfibre cloth, a stainless-steel scourer, a pot of bicarbonate of soda, distilled white vinegar and washing up liquid or laundry detergent.
Firstly, remove all the shelves from the oven and soak them in a bath of hot water with a little laundry detergent or a squirt of washing up liquid. Place on an old towel in the bath, below the shelves, so it doesn’t get scratched, and leave them to soak for 30 minutes. The glass in my oven door is also removable so I add soak that in the bath too.
Next, using a good quality microfibre cloth wipe the inside of the oven. Don’t worry how much yuck comes off keep going until all the loose sludge and crumbs have gone. You may need to rinse out the cloth in hot water and a bit of washing up liquid a few times, if the fibres get too loaded with “gunk”.
While the shelves are soaking make up a paste of bicarbonate of soda (the sort used for cooking) and water and spread over the bottom of the oven and door and leave on for as long as possible, overnight if possible.
In the meantime, your shelves will now be ready to clean with the stainless steel scourer. Be sure to just take one shelf out of the bath at a time as they’re a lot easier to clean if they are still warm.
Once all the shelves are sparkling clean it’s time to turn to the inside of the oven. Use the stainless-steel scourer to scrub the burnt-on debris. It will take quite a bit of elbow grease and may need retreating to get a perfect job. When you’ve got most of it off sprinkle over a little vinegar. The bicarbonate of soda should foam and the vinegar will make it easier to remove all of the “gunk” and will leave a much fresher smell behind.
If you have a glass oven door test a patch first with the stainless-steel scourer, some glass is tough enough to take it but some is not. If not take a damp microfibre cloth to wipe off the greasy build-up. And repeat as necessary.
Then for a final clean-up, damp down a clean microfibre cloth and wipe over all the surfaces you’ve just cleaned inside the oven to remove the remains of the baking soda and vinegar.
Of course, the best time to clean up a spill in the oven is as soon as it happens but the oven would be too hot for that. Instead, set a timer for 1 hour, by which time it should have cooled down but still be warm and the spill will wipe off easily. If you leave it until the oven is cold or has been used again the battle is already much more difficult.