The biggest risks of leaving your oven unattended lie in the possibility of potential fire threats. What’s more, the food particles can spoil the quality of your meals. Not to mention what your landlord will say when they see you leaving the apartment with the main event of the kitchen irreversibly covered in black goo. What if you are on the opposite side – there’s not going to be a single person with enough time and money to buy or rent your place. Therefore, let’s see what are your handful of options here.
If you have forever turned a cold shoulder on the store-bought chemicals, there’s a huge possibility you’ve already resorted to some of the mainstream methods of natural cleaning. Vinegar and salt, baking soda and ammonia are constant guest stars in many domestic cleaning guides. Are they effective enough? Chances are, you’ve had mixed results if you used them. Mainly because some of them are not appropriate for most kind of ovens, whereas other combinations are simply not strong enough for deeply encrusted stains.
There’s a reason why some commercial chemicals contain baking soda – it is indeed a substance that is able to clean dirty spots. Its molecules can soften a soiled stove, allowing an easier wipe-out on a later stage. There are different ways to use it – making a paste with water of a higher density and rub all over the oven cavity, or spraying a diluted solution onto the charred stains. In any case, you should leave the appliance overnight and scrub the dissolved grime on the next morning with a wet rag.
What are the problems of this method – if any amount of the baking soda reaches the heating elements, you might consider them lost, since it can severely damage them. What’s more, it just takes an awful lot of time. If you also happen to be one of the people that would rather spend every day of their life cleaning their toilet than the cooker, then baking soda might also not be the best helper, because it’s not strong enough.
The other typical domestic helper is vinegar. It is generally considered more effective than baking soda, although not every bottle is appropriate. Salt can also be used to not let a spillage settle in. Sprinkle with salt while the oven is still hot and it will allow for an easier clean up later when it cools down. The downside is that vinegar is not very highly concentrated – after all, it’s main purpose is to cook with it not clean. If an acid is strong enough to deal with charred stains, imagine what it would do to you once digested.
The strongest of the fairly natural cleaning solutions is ammonia. Its fumes shouldn’t be used with gas ovens, unless all the pipes are disconnected and power is off. Electric ovens are okay though, and it’s a slightly less messy method than the previous ones. A boiling water in a pot inside the chamber with ammonia in a foil sheet on the top rack overnight will penetrate the dirt and grime. The problem here? It’s highly toxic. It can irritate or burn your skin. Ammonia fumes, apart from being able to clean stuff, also react with nitrates and form particles which remain around your household furniture.
The Self-Cleaning Function
The self-cleaning ovens have been created with the sole purpose of making our lives easier and safer. The self-cleaning process usually involves high heat that turns crust into ashes, which you can wipe away with a wet rag afterwards.
However, the trend in manufacturing ovens nowadays goes towards producing models with hidden heating elements. If that’s the case with your own cooker, too, a self-cleaning option might not be the best choice. As it involves heating at degrees as high as 1000F, the hidden elements prevent the air from circulating. As a result the panels can easily burst. What’s the solution? Just don’t use it. Not only it will stack up the price of the stove, but it will also be much more expensive to fix once it breaks down.
Here comes the alternative. You’ve got two options – do it yourself with any store-bought detergents, that contain the phrases eco, green and environmentally-friendly on the labels, or trust a professional oven cleaning company. What your choice will be depends entirely on your free time and budget. Or the amount of dirt your oven has accumulated over the months and years of continuous usage.
We all want to avoid the chemicals, but what’s the use of spending money and time on methods that will simply not provide satisfying results. You can always resort to professional help, especially if you are a leaser or a tenant, where your well-being is directly influenced by the level of cleanliness of the habitat.