Oven cleaning – do you love it, or hate it?
Most of us have one household task we simply can’t bear and therefore never get around to, and for lots of us it’s cleaning the oven. Unfortunately it’s one of those jobs that’s best done little and often, so the longer you leave it the worse it will get!
A dirty oven not can not only cause unpleasant smells, tainting food, but can even be a fire hazard if fat builds up. We’ve put together a list of tips for tackling this least-popular of jobs – and you’ll feel great when it’s done. Note that you probably won’t be able to use the oven for a few hours, so choose a quiet day or order a takeaway!
How to clean an oven with bicarbonate of soda
- Before you start, you’ll need some rubber gloves, cleaning cloths and either vinegar and bicarbonate of soda (for a natural cleaning), or a commercial oven cleaning product. If using bicarbonate, you’ll need several tubs of the 180g supermarket size or you can buy a larger quantity online. Although effective, commercial cleaners generally release a lot of chemical fumes so make sure you choose a day when you can work with the windows open.
- Make sure the oven is completely cold before you work on it. Remove the oven racks and grill pan. The best way to clean these is to fully immerse them in water. For most of us, that means putting them in the bath! Put an old cloth or towel down first so that your tub doesn’t get scratched, then add sufficient hot water to just cover the racks. Add some laundry liquid (not washing up liquid!) and leave to soak overnight. In the morning, use a scouring pad or microfibre cloth to remove any residual grease. Then clean the bath. Sorry.
- Tip the bicarbonate into a small bowl and add just enough water to form a fairly thick paste. Use a cloth to spread this all over then inside of the oven, including the glass door. The bicarbonate will soak up any grease residue and you’ll probably see it turn brown. Leave the mixture on for several hours or overnight.
- In the morning, scrape off as much or the residue as you can. Dip a cloth in vinegar (or put the vinegar in an old spray bottle, if you have one) and wipe the inside of the oven. If there are any scraps of bicarbonate left, you’ll see them start to fizz!
- Wipe everything out thoroughly with a damp cloth – you might have to have several goes at this. Then put the oven racks back, and you’re ready to go.
Self cleaning ovens
Some ovens have a self-cleaning feature and clean themselves either using very high temperatures to burn off fat deposits, or by using steam. If you have a self-cleaning oven then a lot of the work is done for you, but it’s still work wiping up minor spills by hand so that you don’t get too much build up.
Depending on how much cooking you do, you’ll probably need to clean your oven every three to four months or so. If you really hate cleaning your oven, then there are lots of professional companies that will come and do it for you. Have it cleaned properly once a year and you’ll probably be able to get away with doing a minor clean in between. Either way it’s a chore that’s best kept on top of – and once it’s done, at least you don’t have to do it again for a while.
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