Top Oven Cleaning Tips
One of the hardest working, and most neglected, pieces of machinery in every kitchen is the oven. We wash the dishes, clean the counters, wipe down the fridge, and even the toaster, but we often times forget about the oven. Maybe it is because we do not want to put the time and effort into cleaning it, or maybe its because we genuinely forget about it.
But like in any good relationship, compromise is important. It is a two-way street. If you want your oven to run at its best, and make beautiful food for you and your family, you are going to have to give it some attention in return. It is not overly complicated to clean an oven, and with practice and a regular cleaning schedule, it will become more habit than a chore. Imagine if you let the dishes pile up for a few weeks or months? They would become a huge chore too, but you clean them regularly to avoid this, and cleaning your oven should be the same.
Ovens that have baked on food and grease are not only a risk because those food particles can be flammable, but it can also compromise the quality of the food that you make. Burnt food smells can greatly affect the outcome of a recipe, and can prevent your oven from performing the way it should.
While some newer ovens have a self-cleaning option, if you have ever tried it, you know first hand that it doesn’t do as good of a job as you had hoped. The self-cleaning feature only heats up the oven to high temperatures in the hopes that the food will cook itself off the walls and racks of the oven.
In actual fact, the self-cleaning function only creates more work for you in the long run. The high temperatures create an awful smell, especially if your oven is dirty, that can linger in your home for days. It also can further bake on food particles that are harder to remove later on.
So if you have an oven in need of some attention, and do not want to use the self-cleaning feature, or if your oven model doesn’t have one, what are you to do? There are a few different tips to keep your oven clean and looking like new.
- Use a scraper to remove burnt on foods and grease from the oven door. You can also use a wet towel, oven cleaner, or a homemade oven cleaner solution to help loosen the debris first. It is important to be careful with the scraper and only use it on the glass surface. Using it on the interior of the oven may damage the oven itself, or chip the protective paint from the interior walls.
- Use a few drops of car wax on a clean sponge to help cut through grease. This might sound strange, but the car wax will help to break down the greasy buildup. Once you have broken the grease down, use a clean, damp towel to remove the residue.
- Use cream of tartar to help shine up your oven. Cream of tartar will help to leave your oven sparkling and new. You can also use it on the exterior of your oven too if it is stainless steel for a glossy finish. Simply cover the interior of your oven with cream of tartar, wait ten to fifteen minutes, and then wipe it away with a clean, damp, cloth.
- Make your own homemade oven cleaner solution. One of the most popular recipes calls for baking soda and vinegar and will help to leave your oven sparkling like the day you bought it. You simply mix baking soda with water to create a paste. Spread it all over the interior of the oven, let it sit, and wipe it off. Then go over the oven with a light spray of vinegar to finish the job. Using a damp towel, wipe up the remaining residue.
- Scrub small areas of the oven that need extra attention with an old toothbrush. There is no point to throw away an old toothbrush when you can turn it into one of the most powerful cleaning tools! You can scrub problem areas in the oven with the toothbrush, using either a store-bought, chemical, cleaner, or with a DIY, homemade oven cleaner. With a little elbow grease, the baked-on foods will stand no chance.
- Use a few drops of vegetable oil on a clean cloth or sponge to help break up a greasy mess. The vegetable oil will attack the greasy messes without the need for harsh chemicals, and can be applied to a small problem area in the oven, or can be used to clean a larger area too. Once the greasy buildup is loosened, use a clean, damp, cloth, with a few drops of dish soap to collect the oil and remaining residue.
- Use a store-bought cleaner to help dislodge stuck on foods and mess from the interior of the oven. Using a chemical cleaner might be the easiest way to get your oven clean if you have not cleaned it for a while. Once it is clean, and you properly maintain it, you can use less harsh, and less time-consuming methods. Remember, if you clean your oven regularly, it will be easier to clean each time.
- Always clean up after a meal. Never leave food or droppings behind in the oven after you have used it. If you see some food or mess in the oven after you have used it, allow the oven to cool down to a safe temperature, and then get to work! Cleaning as you go might sound basic, but it is often not done, especially when it comes to ovens. We get sidetracked by the work in the kitchen that we can see in front of us, and often times forget about how we left the inside of the oven looking like. By giving the oven a quick five-minute wipe, you could save yourself hours of work in the future.
Although is might seem obvious, you only get out of something that you put in. The same goes for your oven. If you clean and maintain your oven, it will allow it to continue to create family favourites and beautiful meals for years to come. A dirty oven is not only unpleasant to look at, but can also affect the outcome of some of our favourite dishes.
Sometimes, even if your oven is clean, it can have an odd smell. This is especially noticeable after cooking certain foods like fish and seafood. To quickly get rid of the smell and leave your oven fresh, simply put a few drops of vanilla on a baking sheet and put it into the oven on a low temperature for five to ten minutes.
Now that you have the right tips and tricks to keep your oven clean, plan to use them in a routine or schedule, just like with your other house cleaning tasks. An oven that is regularly cleaned and maintained is one that will be easier to enjoy. Clean as you go, and you will no longer see your oven as such a chore!