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Cleaning the oven: chemicals or electricity?

 
steward
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It's long overdue and the battle to get Thanksgiving dinner on the table made it a near emergency. The oven must be cleaned.

I read on Lifehacker that using the self-cleaning feature can actually damage the oven. And I'm not one to burn that much electricity to save some elbow grease. And wearing out the oven sooner doesn't sound wise in terms of minimizing waste.

But the alternative is some stinky chemicals and a lot of water, now fouled, going into the septic tank and my land.

What would an eco-warrior do?
 
pollinator
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Hi Ann,
In our home restoration work, we clean a lot of different things and almost always use oxiclean. We use it to scrub old dirty cedar roofs, decks, floors before tile and all manner of nastiness is alleviated with the power of oxi. Mix it thick and leave it on a warm oven for a while and you should have a pretty clean oven, not as clean as chemies, but no toxic residue. We have washed gallons of the stuff off onto plants and they never seem to mind.
 
pollinator
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Ann Torrence wrote:The oven must be cleaned.



Oh, me too. I had made a quiche a few weeks back and spill some as I put it in the oven. The last few times I've had it going, lots of smoke came out of the oven & I just turned on the vent. I cleaned the bottom of the oven with just soap and water but man, the soot got all over everything!

Guess I'll try oxiclean. Even the sink looks dirty now!
 
pollinator
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Putty knife for the chunks and let the rest be seasoning.
 
pollinator
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Ann Torrence wrote:It's long overdue and the battle to get Thanksgiving dinner on the table made it a near emergency. The oven must be cleaned.
What would an eco-warrior do?



I have a strong dislike for cleaning the inside of a stove, so first, I try not to make a mess in the oven by covering food that could go pop and keeping a pizza sheet on the first rack. A pie that overruns is not a problem this way, plus it is easier to move the pizza pan to the sink and deal with it than getting on my hands and knees and stick my head in the oven.  
I made a discovery a while back to clean the top of the stove: Club soda. [Not the sweetened stuff, of course]. It works really slick: I remove the loose stuff first with a rubber or stiff plastic spatula. I have a spray bottle full of club soda and spray generously. From the top of that stove, I have removed greasy stuff, cooked on stuff, sweet jam spillovers and combinations thereof, no problem. I let it soak like 1/2 hr while i'm having a cup of tea, and I can remove pretty much all of it. I will have to do it a second time sometimes but I've never had to use the broiler or harsh chemicals to clean the top of the stove.
For the *inside* of the stove, I refer to a book that has become my all time favorite:"Green up your cleanup" by Jill Potvin Schoff  Her recommendation is:
"Make a paste of baking soda and water and spread thickly over the walls and bottom of the oven. Let it sit overnight. The next day the grime should be soft enough to scrape. Steam cleaning also works great".
I don't have a steam cleaning machine, so that's out, but I would give Club soda a try: It is cheap as dirt and really lifts the dirt, grease and grime.
Since we are talking "oven", the microwave oven should not be neglected: Put a cup of vinegar [the picking kind, not the Apple Cider Vinegar] in the microwave and heat on high for 3 mins. It will wipe clean on the first try.
 
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A general rule of thumb for cleaning is the power of a cleaning chemical doubles every 20 degrees. Starting at 70 degrees F, your cleaner is twice as strong at 90 degrees. Go to 110 degrees (almost too warm to the touch) and you've quadrupled the cleaning power.

Another trick is dwell time. Try warming the oven just a bit, maybe even warm a cleaner on the stove and apply it... allow it to sit on the surface to soak in.

Be careful with the heating trick. Solvents like the orange peel smelling stuff (D-Limonene) has a flashpoint down around 118 to 125 degrees F.

One more trick: If you use a regular oven cleaner, have some vinegar handy. Most oven cleaners use caustic potash/lye (potassium hydroxide). It reacts with the fats and oils on the oven walls and it reacts with the fats and oils in your skin. Washing with water just turns it slimy. Flush with water first, then pour some vinegar over your hands to neutralize the caustic.
 
pollinator
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For the top of the stove, I use a mixture I make up of vinegar and citrus peels (I keep in in a mason jar under the sink) it works well at loosening stuck on gunk as well as general clean up of counters and cabinets. I watch a video of a woman who  took out her over racks and soaked them in her bathtub with a few dryer sheets. I knw the sheets are toxic, but I tried it, my gas oven bottom can also come out and I added that to the tub as well and it did soften the backed on stuff. I've used baking soda in the over. as well.
 
pollinator
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I start by wiping away anything that will come up with a rag and water.
Then I mist the oven/stove top with hydrogen peroxide.  Over the peroxide sprinkle a heavy dusting of baking soda.
Wait.
30 minutes / till it's dry / the next day when you remember it
Wipe up with a wet rag or sponge.
It will eat away a layer of whatever is burned on.
It may take a few applications depending on how big the burnt on mess is.
But, it is really easy.
 
pollinator
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When the oven is too dirty to use, it's time to move.
 
pollinator
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<<<Putty knife for the chunks and let the rest be seasoning.>>>
<<<When the oven is too dirty to use, it's time to move.>>>

I love both comments! Needless to say, I seldom clean my oven. In fact, I hate cleaning the oven so much that I purposely seldom use it. I absolutely hated the smell of the chemicals. I think it's been over 10 years since I've used the oven for anything other than storing pots. I use my Sun Oven for roasting meats and I haven't baked bread or cookies in eons. I'm really good at producing veggies, eggs, and lamb so I use them to trade for homemade breads.
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