As a nation of cooks and eaters we love to roast, bake and grill in our own kitchens, whipping up various dishes for friends and family on a regular basis. All this activity does take its toll on our ovens however, and every so often they will be in need of a ‘serious’ clean. When it comes to ovens, cleaning really doesn’t get much more serious, with the majority of off-the-shelf oven cleaners bearing various health warnings about the dangers they pose. So here are a few handy hints and tips to help you maintain your stove:
1. Little and often is the way forward.
In order to save yourself having to perform these ‘emergency cleans’ involving a plethora of harmful chemicals simply wipe down the inside of your oven after each use. This will rid it of the majority of grease and grime that gathers over a single cookery session leading to slow cumulative build-up. This is all helpful in ensuring you don’t have to don those rubber gloves quite so often.
2. Switch off your oven.
It sounds so simple, but most domestic ovens are wired directly to the mains and will usually have a switch somewhere on the wall close by, meaning switching them off is often overlooked. While problems are uncommon, when cleaning electrical appliances of any kind using any form of moisture it makes sense to isolate them from the mains and avoid a nasty shock!
3. Ventilation is essential.
If you are using caustic chemicals then some of the smells produced will be particularly pungent, and not particularly good for you to be breathing in in large doses. Turn on your fume hood if you have one and make sure you open a couple of windows to get a good flow of air through your kitchen.
4. Cover up well.
If using harmful chemicals make sure you are well protected via the wearing of rubber gloves, a face mask etc. Once you are covered think about protecting the rest of your kitchen – cover the floor in front of the oven and surrounding surfaces that may come into contact with the grease and cleaning chemicals you will remove.
5. Arm yourself with the right tools.
While rubber gloves, paper towels and a heavy duty oven cleaner will be enough to do the job, having a metal scraper to remove those tough stains will ensure you can get rid of every single hard-to-remove stain. A couple of scouring pads that you don’t mind throwing away afterwards will also make cleaning the inside of the oven that little bit easier.
6. Forego an old dish brush to get a good spread.
While your cleaner will most probably come in a foam-spray canister, using an old dish brush to spread the roam evenly into those difficult-to-reach areas will ensure you clean every part of the inside of the oven. You can then re-use the brush to remove the cleaner once the soaking period has passed.
7. Clean the racks outside
If your oven shelves and racks are also in need of a good clean take them outside, spray with the cleaning products, wrap in a hole-free plastic bag and leave, allowing the chemicals to work their magic. Once the soak time is up, simply hose them down outside before washing with warm soapy water in your sink.
8. Make sure you have a bin next to you
When it comes to opening the door and scraping out all of the grease and dirt, things will get messy. You will require a lot of paper towels and will inevitably need somewhere to put them. Make sure you have your bin close by so that you do not have to keep getting up and walking across the room to dispose of the heavily soiled towels.