Saturday, March 26, 2011

March 26, 2011: Oven Cleaning Tips

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When you cook and bake as much as I do, your ovens (both microwave and range) are bound to get nasty, coated with bits of dried food, grease and burned-on sauces.

I’m lucky enough to have double wall ovens, which really comes in handy over the holidays. But since I was severely limited in size, I had to select a pair with one that is self-cleaning and the other not. Of course, I try not to use the one I have to manually clean, but sometimes I can’t help it.

I’ve had my share of kitchen mishaps. One of the worst was a carrot cake. I’d gotten the recipe from a magazine. I thought that since it was a published recipe, it must have been tested and consequently, it would be a trustworthy one. Boy, was I wrong!

Although I rarely measure ingredients exactly, I did so with this recipe because it was the first time I was making it. I thought that when the batter was done it looked a bit too goopy thin. I should have listened to my instincts. The recipe was for a three-layered cake so I had to use both ovens. I went ahead and poured in the goopy batter, set the timer, and went about my business while my husband napped on the couch in the living room. It wasn’t more than 10 minutes or so into baking that the smoke alarm in my house went off. I rushed into the kitchen only to find both ovens on fire! That goopy batter had acted like a volcano, bubbling up and spilling over like a carrot-fueled Mount Vesuvius in both ovens. When it hit the burner elements, it ignited into flames.

What to do? While my husband still slept, amazingly enough, I opened all the doors to let the smoke out then quickly grabbed my trusty box of baking soda (in the economy size). I opened both ovens and sprinkled a bit of baking soda inside. No change. I sprinkled in some more, and some more, until the entire box was nearly gone. The flames finally went out and the smoke alarm went off.

By the time DH finally roused himself from his happy nappy, the entire house smelled horrible and the bottoms of both ovens were coated in two inches thick of white powder.

It took forever to clean up that mess – and to this day I still find traces of baking soda on the top edge of my lower oven occasionally.

The (relatively) good news? Baking soda is a natural, mild abrasive and cleanser. At least I didn’t have to clean fire extinguisher foam out of them! Instead, I used wet paper towels and both ovens came out glistening clean by the time I was done.

So there’s Tip #1: when on fire, use baking soda to put out the flames in your oven.

Now here’s a couple recipes for cleaning your oven and microwave when there’s no fire to put out.

Oven Cleaner

Spray interior of your oven generously with full-strength ammonia. Close the door and let it sit overnight. The next morning, use a damp sponge or paper towels to wipe away the softened mess.

Tips: Be sure your kitchen is adequately ventilated and your exhaust fan is turned on while cleaning. And try not to stick your head in the oven and inhale the fumes from the ammonia.

Microwave Cleaner

Pour plain white vinegar into a medium-sized bowl and place it in your microwave. Turn it on high for one minute then let it sit, unopened, for an hour. Open the door and wipe away the mess with damp paper towels or a sponge. This will also remove odors from your microwave.


  1. Once the grill has been cleaned and completely cooled, spray the racks lightly with cooking oil. A light coating of oil will prevent the racks from rusting. Just make sure the grill has cooled down completely. If you spray cooking oil on a hot grill, it could ignite and cause severe burns. If you don't have cooking oil spray, then simply wipe down the racks with a little bit of cooking oil and a paper towel.

    Oven Cleaning Gold Coast
    BBQ Cleaning Gold Coast

  2. Helpful tips, Candace. Regarding your Oven Cleaner Recipe, I have a suggestion if you don't mind; try adding 'astonish oven and cookware cleaner' into the recipe. This will really power-up it's oven cleaning capabilities. Give it a try if you get chance, I am sure you will notice quite a difference.

    Expert Oven Cleaning