Confession time: We’ve lived in our current house for nearly 20 months, and until today, I had never cleaned the oven. I use the oven maybe 3 or 4 times a month, and the bottom of it was looking pretty grubby. Cleaning the oven is not particularly high on my list of things to do, but with the possibility of both my mother and my mother-in-law using our oven to cook for us after our baby arrives (for which we are very grateful!), I decided that it probably needed to be cleaned.
Ten years ago, I would have headed to the grocery store to buy a can of oven cleaner and a pair of rubber gloves. But since I no longer use any sort of toxic cleaners (or any cleaner that requires rubber gloves), I decided to see if my trusty baking soda and vinegar solution would do the trick. I sprinkled baking soda all over the bottom of the oven, and on the open door. Then I sprayed vinegar all over the inside of the oven and let it sit for half an hour or so while I worked on other tasks. I used a razor blade knife (designed for cleaning ceramic stove tops) to gently scrape the stuck-on gunk out of the oven, and it came off with very little effort. Then I rinsed everything a few times with water and clean rags. It took me about 10 minutes of actual scrubbing/cleaning time to get it done.
So we have a clean oven. Our son was able to hang out right next to me while I worked on it, and neither of us inhaled any nasty fumes. For a while during the oven cleaning process, the kitchen smelled like vinegar. Now it smells like nothing at all, which is what clean really smells like. I didn’t have to go buy oven cleaner or rubber gloves (I buy baking soda and vinegar in bulk at Costco, and always have plenty on hand). I’m convinced that there’s nothing in our house that can’t be cleaned with baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and water. For laundry, all I need is soap nuts and hydrogen peroxide. A simplified arsenal of cleaning products is not only less expensive and easier to keep stocked, but it’s also a lot better for our bodies and the environment than a bunch of bottles of toxic cleaners.
Anybody have any other tricks for cleaning an oven without using commercial oven cleaners?