Sunday, April 29, 2012

How to Clean Your Oven Without Harsh Chemicals

So, I, like I hope many others, have this "thing" about cleaning my oven.  It's a terribly difficult chore to do.  It is especially difficult with a son who loves closed in places and tries to climb into the oven when you are baking something, let alone cleaning it...and yes, that has given me more than a few grey hairs (every one of them hard earned) and yes, it probably has taken some years off of my life from sheer panic.  It's amazing how quickly you get good at using your body as a blocker, while shooing a kid away with a leg and at the same time taking a hot pan out of the oven and/or putting a pan into the oven.  And I've only burned myself...well we won't go there...and I've only burned off a LITTLE bit of hair in the last two years.

So *shakes head* where was I?  Oh yes, cleaning ovens.  So, with my son's obsession with the oven, I just plain would not, could not nor would I go anywhere NEAR my oven with the over the counter oven cleaners.  I mean the chemicals in those things BURN the gunk off your oven...think of what it could do to a toddler's skin, especially if it got into an eczema patch???  Okay *deep calming breath* I just gave myself a few more grey hairs thinking about that *laugh*.   Anyway, as a result of the lack of cleaning, my oven is starting to feel the neglect, so I've been on a search for oven cleaning alternatives and here's a few I've found for you and yes, I will be trying some of these on my oven...hopefully today.

1.  Take baking soda and add enough water to make a thin paste.  Slather this onto the inside of your oven with a damp sponge.  Let the oven sit overnight and then wipe clean in the morning.  The baking soda, if there's some residue will absorb dirt and other gunk in the inside of your oven and just flake off later, so don't panic if you think you might have missed some.

2.  Supposedly Lowes and other big home improvement stores sell a pumice type of stone to scrub the inside of your oven and it is supposed to be safe with most ovens.  I've heard good things about it, but honestly I'm going with the baking soda method because I just plain don't want to spend more money right now.

3.  Place lemon and orange peels in a shallow (glass) baking dish and cover with water.   Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes and then turn off oven and let cool with the pan still in it.  When it has cooled down enough that you feel comfortable touching the oven, scrub the inside with a wet sponge.  The citric acid in the peels should act much like sticking some lemon water in your microwave to help clean it...the acid will help to loosen the gunk on the inside of the oven (along with the steam) and make it easier to clean.

4.  There is also the ammonia method.  This one I'm not going to explain how to do (just google it if you are interested) because it is completely NOT safe for gas ranges (ammonia fumes in closed oven + open flame in pilot light = really BAD idea.  Dig?), but it supposedly works well with electric ranges.  I'm not really keen on cleaning my oven with ammonia anyway (the smell alone would make ME sick).

So, there you are folks.  Ways to naturally clean your oven.  Enjoy!

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