Cleaning the oven ranks among the worst cleaning jobs in the kitchen. I once heard someone say they’d rather scrub a public toilet with a toothbrush than tackle cleaning their oven. It’s seriously hard yakka, unless you’re into the nuclear approach with a bucket-load of harmful, toxic cleaning chemicals.
The products used in oven cleaners are seriously toxic and can cause damage to your skin, eyes and respiratory system if you’re not careful. So that you know what you’re dealing with, here’s a list of the more common ingredients in oven cleaners:
- Butane: This is a propellant that is mostly found in cigarette lighters. Inhalation can cause drowsiness, asphyxia and cardiac arrhythmia.
- Diethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether: Scorecard considers this as a neurotoxin, a reproductive toxicant, cardiovascular and blood toxicant. It is also known to cause damage to kidneys and liver.
- Monoethanolamine (MEA): Causes irritation of the air passage, serious chemical burns, damage to eyes and other tissues as well as to kidneys and liver.
- Sodium Hydroxide: An extremely caustic material that dissolves fats and oils. It works well in oven cleaning but can result in chemical burns as well.
There’s no need for this harmful concoction of chemicals to clean your oven. With just lemons or bi-carb soda, you’ve oven will be spick and span in no time!
1. The Lemon Method
The citric acid in lemons and di-limonene in the lemon peel combine to make a great degreaser! Use this method for light cleaning or for regular oven maintenance.
- Slice two lemons in half and squeeze the juice into a baking dish. Throw the squeezed lemons into the dish with the juice.
- Fill the dish about 1/3 of water.
- Place the dish in the oven.
- Set the oven to bake at 120 degrees Celsius for half an hour. For heavier build-up, leave the lemon solution in the oven for 45 minutes. This will let the lemon vapours that contain the natural citric acid and the di-limonene from the lemon rind soften the grime for easier cleaning.
- Let the oven cool and remove the baking dish and set it aside.
- Use a non-scratching scouring pad to remove the grime, with the help of a silicone spatula for larger chunks of grime.
- Dip a sponge in the dish of lemon water and rinse clean the inside of the oven.
- Towel dry the oven when done.
2. The Bi-Carb Soda Method
When you’ve left it a little too long between oven cleans, you might need a different approach. Here's what you'll need:
- 1/4 cup liquid dish detergent
- 1 cup bi-carb soda
- 1/2 cup coarse sea salt
- Scouring pad
- Warm water
- Spray bottle
- Distilled white vinegar
- Towel or microfiber cloth
- Mix the liquid dish detergent, bi-carb soda and salt to make a paste. Add a bit of water if the solution becomes too tough.
- Remove the racks and soak them in a bathtub with some liquid dish detergent.
- Apply a thick layer of the paste all over the inside of the oven, being careful to coat all the grimy areas. Leave it for several hours, or overnight if you can spare the use of your oven for the time being.
- Dip the sponge in warm water and start wiping down the whole interior of the oven. Scrub with the scouring pad if needed. Keep going until all the grime is removed.
- Pour the distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the oven to rinse out the paste residue. Wipe dry with a towel.
- Scrub the racks in the bathtub with the scouring pad and towel dry.
- Replace the racks in the oven and you're ready to start baking again!
There you have it! By using either of these two methods you should be able to get your oven clean without having to breathe in toxic chemicals! Now you can get back to baking all your favourite goodies.
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