DEEP CLEANING the oven may find its way on to your spring cleaning checklist this season, but be aware that most oven cleaners are some of the most toxic household products you can buy. Not to fear! There are many effective methods out there to get that oven clean without overdosing on harsh fumes!
Most contain methylene chloride – often used as paint stripper. Think twice about sticking that stuff in the same apparatus that you may next bake a cake in! Ethylene Glycol is in there, too: the same stuff that makes anti-freeze a hazard to thirsty pets. The list of harmful ingredients goes on and on with quite a few chemicals which are considered highly volatile, meaning that they are breathed in as the stuff goes to work.
Next time you get things cracking in the kitchen and this chore becomes a necessity, turn to a few alternative methods that will keep your home healthy, happy and toxin free:
The bathtub method: Lay a towel or two in the tub to protect from scratching. Grab the oven racks, lay them in the tub and add 3/4 to 1 gallon of white vinegar – an unpleasing scent, but nowhere near as noxious as the toxic fumes!
Add two cups of baking soda. Everything will begin to fizz as it should. Wait for the fizzing to stop and when it does, fill the rest of the tub with hot water. Leave for about an hour, then scrub and rinse. If necessary, repeat. Unless you are an avid and messy baker or have an obsession with nightly gooey casseroles, once should do the trick!
The natural fumes method: At night, fill a pan with ammonia and place in the oven. Leave overnight and in the morning, check for loosened grease and grime. Using a damp cloth, wipe down the entire oven.
For the mildly OCD baker (which you may very well be if you are reading an article about cleaning your oven), proceed to step two. Grab a giant trash bag and take out the baking racks. Laying each rack in side by side, cover the racks with ammonia once more and leave the trash bag outside overnight. Wipe down the racks in the morning and you’ve got a brand new oven.