The oven is one of those appliances in the kitchen which many people can’t live without and use almost every day. However, it’s almost never cleaned. It isn’t surprising that we often leave this task for last or neglect it entirely, keeping in mind that the appliance should be completely cold before doing it. There’s also the misconception that it’s a job which requires a lot of time and the use of special cleaners. In reality, you can actually make your own solutions to clean your oven with ingredients you probably already have at home.
Even though the Internet is full of such DIY recipes, the fact is that cleaning the oven is a dreaded task for almost everybody. Despite that, oven cleaning experts highly recommend doing it regularly for four main reasons, which include a more effortless and faster cleaning process, more efficient working appliances, safer cooking and more nutritious and tasty food.
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Reason #1: Easier and faster cleaning process
The more you postpone cleaning your oven, the harder the task will be when you actually get to it. Many people don’t take that into consideration when planning their weekly and monthly cleaning. However, if you don’t clean your oven regularly, grime will start to build up all over its inside components, and you may also notice quite large spills and food leftovers stuck on, which makes the cleaning process harder.
When you neglect cleaning your oven regularly and let residue and leftovers build up, you’ll have to spend more time and money looking for a commercial cleaner that’s stronger but often also more dangerous to your health and the environment. In reality, many DIY cleaning solutions are a lot safer and can do just as effective a job as store-bought ones, as long as you’ve performed regular oven cleaning and haven’t let food build up inside it.
Besides that, you’ll have to prepare and protect the area around your oven and equip yourself with gloves, glasses and sponges. In addition, you’ll also need to find the time to do the work properly, which will take longer if your oven hasn’t been cleaned in a while.
Reason #2: More efficiently working oven
An oven doesn’t work at its optimal efficiency if it’s dirty. In comparison, when it’s clean, it distributes the heat more consistently. This means that it takes less time to cook your meals and also that they’re cooked more evenly. This can also have a positive effect on your household bills as the appliance will use up less energy while it’s operating.
A clean oven door will allow you to see better the food inside it, which is very helpful, specifically if you’re a baking enthusiast. This will result in the oven door being opened less often to check the food inside it, which also conserves energy. Every time you open it, the heat escapes and lowers the temperature inside the appliance, resulting in it working harder to work at its optimum level.
In addition to that, regular oven cleaning will extend the lifespan of your appliance and save you money on repairs, replacements or an entire new oven. Because a dirty oven has to work harder to maintain high temperatures, it wears out much quicker.
Reason #3: Safer to cook in
Dirty ovens aren’t safe. Grease and oil are both flammable substances, and when they build up inside your oven, they pose the possibility of starting a domestic fire. Besides that, accidental spills and food debris that have remained inside your oven can also begin to burn, generating fumes and smoke. To prevent that, it’s highly recommended to clean them as soon as they occur and use an oven liner to catch any food that may fall inside the appliance.
Reason #4: More nutritious and tasty food
An unclean oven is also bad for the quality of your food. If the inside of your oven is covered in oil and grease, your food may start producing undesired odours. Even though they aren’t toxic, it’s still unpleasant, making the eating experience less enjoyable. Avoiding this can also prevent serious illnesses in your home because of food contamination.
Besides that, when you’re cooking in a dirty oven, you run the risk of contaminating your food with grime that has been left behind from previous meals. This will be specifically noticeable if you’re baking something sweet after cooking savoury food.
DIY oven cleaning
Using commercial chemical cleaners can help you significantly decrease the amount of time you’ll spend cleaning your oven. However, the downside of this method is that these powerful chemicals are often very harmful because of the fumes they produce. They can create and trigger respiratory issues for many people and sometimes burn your skin if you aren’t wearing proper protection.
To prevent such issues, try cleaning your oven using the following safer homemade solutions:
- Baking soda paste and white vinegar. Baking soda is one of the most used and effective eco-friendly way to clean, which can help neutralise any unpleasant odours. To use it, mix it with a bit of water until it creates a paste and rub it on the parts inside your oven. Once everything is coated, let it sit overnight. The next day, it should be dry. Fill up a spray bottle with undiluted white vinegar and spray the oven well. After 1 to 2 hours, use a sponge or a rag and clean it using circular motions.
- Lemon juice. The citric acid in lemons has powerful anti-bacterial, antiseptic, and degreasing properties that can help break even the toughest grease and gunk. For this method, juice 2 lemons, add water and boil it on the stove. Afterwards, add a tablespoon of dishwashing soap. Remove it from the stove and let it cool before using it. Transfer the liquid to a spray bottle and spray directly onto the dirty areas, using a sponge to clean them.
- Salt. Cleaning your oven with salt is an effective and natural way to remove any spills and burnt-on food, especially if you can’t clean it immediately. When this happens, sprinkle some salt on the spot and let it sit for a few hours. When the oven is cool, use a soft cloth to clean it up.
Neglecting your cooking appliance can actually be quite dangerous, so it’s necessary to understand why it’s so important to perform regular oven cleaning and schedule some time in your cleaning routine.
If you neglect the buildup of grime and oil inside it, the problems will occur sooner or later and add extra costs to your household expenses. It’s always better to invest a little of your time to periodically clean your oven than face these issues. If you’re very busy, you can always hire a professional oven cleaning company to do it safely and effectively.