How to Make a Dreaded Kitchen Chore More Bearable

Is there a kitchen chore more dreaded (or even detested) than cleaning the oven? This is the impression I get as I talk to my friends and neighbors. Would you agree?

Well, if you do, here’s some really helpful information from the Mother of All Things Clean, Martha Stewart, that might make the ordeal more bearable.

Nashia Baker, researcher and author for Martha, says “If you're a regular cook or baker, you know that consistently cleaning your oven is important. Spills and splatters on the appliance's walls, racks, and door can build up over time, leading to unpleasant odors when your oven is hot or—worse—longer cook times. This is why routine cleaning is a must. To help, we tapped two experts, who shared their tips for making every element of your oven sparkle again.”

I’m feeling hopeful already. Nashia says that according to these experts, the best practice is to give your oven a quick wipe down after each use to help keep grime and buildup at bay. After that, you should plan on deep cleaning it every 3 months.

If you’re wondering about the self-cleaning feature, here’s the low-down: “While this setting is safe to use if your oven is in good working order, it does have some drawbacks. It can create some inconveniences and is best done when your home can be well ventilated. Fumes, including carbon monoxide from incinerating food particles, can emanate from a self-cleaning oven. This mode can also produce smoke that sets off your fire alarms and chokes your home."

The smart way to use the self-cleaning feature is with open windows—but in the winter that’s dicey, too. Professional cleaners say that if you keep up on it between bakes, then it shouldn’t get so crusty dirty that you need the heavy-duty self-cleaning feature.

So, how DO you clean your oven's interior? Ultimately, it depends on the type of cleaner you'd like to use. While conventional commercial oven cleaners are like bringing in the “big guns,” —eco-friendly DIY formulas are safer and healthier.

To clean your oven interior using an eco-friendly DIY cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with 3 tablespoons of water and coat your oven with the mixture. Allow this cleaning solution to sit overnight. Wipe down the oven with vinegar and a damp cloth.

When it comes to the oven’s racks, this essential part of the oven will require routine cleaning to remove stubborn spills and stains. For standard day-to-day cleaning, use a soapy sponge and hot water to wipe the racks. For stubborn messes, soak oven racks in hot water, dish soap, and a couple scoops of baking soda. Let the racks soak in this mixture for 15 to 30 minutes before scrubbing clean with a soft sponge.

I’ll close with Nashia’s instructions on how to clean BETWEEN the glass of your oven door. (This information made my day.):

Clean the in-between space by removing the glass from the oven door; depending on your oven model, there should be screws that allow you to take the door apart.

Once removed, vacuum the door's nooks and crannies to remove all debris.

If your vacuum attachments don't fit, brush away dust and other unwanted crumbs with a small cleaning brush.

Make a paste of baking soda and white vinegar; use it to scrub stains and spills with a sponge. You can use this paste on all parts of the glass door.

For stuck-on stains, allow the paste to sit for up to 10 minutes.

Wipe clean with a warm, damp microfiber cloth and repeat as needed.

Allow to fully dry and replace the glass, making sure to fasten screws securely.

    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
    Email the author!


Subscribe to Cook'n Premium and get newsletter articles like this each week!

blog comments powered by Disqus