More than often when we think about cleaning our ovens, we immediately think about all the harsh chemicals that cleaning products contain and how much it costs. We obviously do not want our house to be infected with such filthy things; neither do we want our kids within reach.
If your oven supports the self-cleaning feature, you might be tempted to opt for that, not being aware of the fact that it does more to you than you realize. When you turn on the self-cleaning feature, your oven is programmed to heat up to 1000 degrees in order to burn off any food spills, so that you can scrape off the ash once the oven cools down.
On pen and paper, this seems like a great idea. But in reality, ovens now have drip shields covering those heating elements, making it extremely difficult for ventilation when the interior of the oven is getting so hot. Eventually, all those trapped heat is going to damage all the internal components of your oven.
Faith Durand, from The Kitchn, shared her experience on her blog. Her research revealed the primary reason for ovens undergoing premature break down is the usage of the self-cleaning feature. Unsatisfied until she found out the true reason why, she sought out answers from Adam Dahl from The Appliance Loft, a local store in Cincinnati.
Adam confirmed by saying that since the heating elements are hidden the heat has no chance to ventilate. With the heat going up to 1000 degrees, all the trapped heat can make the control panels to burn out and make fuses pop.
Adam further states that while manufacturers are aware of this situation, they are bound to continue adding this feature since customers will not purchase without it.
Therefore, the best option now is to clean your oven naturally. The benefits of doing so are endless. Not only are you saving tons of money from not having to take your oven for frequent repairs and buying really expensive cleaning products, but you are also making your home a better and healthier environment to live in with better air quality.
Ways to clean your oven naturally:
1. Cleaning your oven with Baking Soda and Vinegar
This easy DIY natural cleaning product is all you need to get your oven clean without spending a dime since you have all of the ingredients at home!
What you need:
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
- Damp dishcloth
- Plastic or silicone spatula
- Spray bottle
- Rubber gloves
- Empty out your oven.
If you have any racks, pizza stone, thermometer, and turntable, remove them and put it aside. During this process, you can clean them out.
- Make the baking soda paste.
Take a small bowl and mix in ½ a cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water. The goal is to make the paste spreadable and this might need a bit of trial and error. Experiment a bit while adjusting the ratio of baking soda to the water in order to get the desired consistency.
- Coat your oven with the paste.
Using your gloves spread the paste evenly throughout the interior surface of your oven, making sure to steer clear of all the heating elements. You will see that once you start rubbing it in, the baking soda will turn brownish in color and some parts may even get chunkier. Try to get to the nooks and crannies of the oven as best as possible and pay more attention to the greasier parts.
- Let it sit for 12 hours, or overnight.
After you are done and happy with your work, let the baking soda paste sit in your oven in that condition overnight, or 12 hours at the least.
Pro tip: For better results, preheat your oven for 5-15 mins prior to letting it sit overnight. This will help speed up the process and clean off better.
- Wipe the oven clean.
Now, take a damp washcloth and wipe off as much of the dried baking soda as much as possible. You can also use a silicone and plastic spatula to scrape off the dried paste where necessary.
- Spray white vinegar on top.
Try as you might, you still will see some stubborn residue from the baking soda paste. To rectify this, take some white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray it all over the remaining paste. You will see the vinegar react with the baking soda and gently start to foam.
- Wipe it all down.
Once the baking soda softens and mixes into the vinegar, take your damp washcloth and wipe it again. Spray more water and vinegar and repeat this process as many times needed until you are able to get all the baking soda cleaned off.
- Replace your oven racks or turntables.
Replace your newly washed turntable or oven racks and voila! a shiny, (almost) new oven at no cost!
2. Clean your microwave oven using just a lemon!
What you need:
- 1 lemon
- A measuring cup
- A clean and dry dishtowel or a cleaning rag
- A microwave-safe bowl
- Measure the water.
Take a microwaveable measuring cup or bowl and pour in ½ cup of water.
- Add the lemon.
Take a lemon and cut it in half. Squeeze one half of the lemon juice and mix it with the water. Do not throw the lemon pieces away instead drop them into the container for added results.
- Microwave for 2-3 minutes.
Place the measuring cup containing the lemon and water into the microwave. Set it to a high temperature for about 3 minutes till the water boils over.
- Cool off for a while.
Do not immediately open the oven. Let it sit for about 5 minutes in order to let the steam rise and soften all the hardened food spills inside the oven.
- Clean the microwave.
Carefully take out the cup with the liquid and put it aside. In case your microwave comes with a turntable, remove it and simply wipe off the greasy mess until sparklingly clean. Then, proceed to clean the entire interior surface of the oven: starting from the ceiling to the side, and then the bottom.
- Scrub away the spots.
As you are wiping down, you will come across the spots that are too stubborn and won’t easily come off. Soak your washcloth slightly into the lemon water mixture and scrub it off. That’s all there is to the trick!
- Remember to wipe the door.
Do not forget to wipe down the back of the door!
- Replace the clean turntable.
Replace the clean turntable into the microwave and you are done! A clean microwave under 10 minutes and at no cost at all!
3. Use salt!
This trick will help you clean up your oven right after you finish using it. Right before the food dries on the inner surface of the oven, spill some salt over it. Make sure you do this as soon as you take the dish out of the oven and while the food gunk is still liquid.
When the oven cools off, use a dishtowel to wipe off the spill. It should do the job. The salt will also remove any bad odor. But if you want a more fresh scent, you can mix some cinnamon powder into the salt too.
In a nutshell, for a healthier environment to live in, it is better to steer clear of using harsh chemicals to clean your oven. Moreover, to keep your oven in a good working condition, do not use the self-cleaning feature. Instead, try these methods for an easier and cost-free solution!