The Consequences of a Dirty Oven
While unpleasant to look at, a dirty oven can also pose a risk to you and your family. The risks are not only from contaminating the food you’re cooking with old, baked on residue, but food debris and char can cause smoke, creating an unpleasant odor and flavor to your dishes.
Additionally, there are basic safety reasons for keeping your oven squeaky clean. Grease spilled inside the oven and left to sit could ignite with the hot temperatures, causing oven damage and potentially a grease fire. Some spills can also smolder, creating smoke and fumes that irritate the eyes and lungs.
Finally, a dirty oven will compromise the accuracy and longevity of your oven. If your oven is coated in grime and char, it will work harder to achieve and maintain the desired temperature. It will take longer to preheat and will suffer more wear and tear, which will all add to a decreased lifespan.
So, to keep your oven working at optimum performance, ensure you clean your appliance every few weeks.
Cleaning Your Oven
If it has been a while since you cleaned your oven, you may notice a layer of baked on food, grease, and other unpleasant materials have built up inside. This residue may be on the insides of the oven and on the door window. Fortunately, you don’t need to reach for harsh chemicals that can leave you with runny eyes and sore hands. You can accomplish a squeaky clean finish with just baking soda and vinegar.
Begin by taking out the oven racks. Create a paste with a couple of spoons of baking soda and a little water. Spread this paste over the oven surfaces. Don’t be alarmed if the paste immediately turns a brown color; this is quite normal.
Allow the baking soda paste to sit overnight or approximately 12 hours. After this time, use a damp cloth to wipe all of the surfaces. If there are any stubborn areas, where baking soda remains, put a little vinegar into a spray bottle and spray the inside of the o oven. Wipe it again with the damp cloth.
Cleaning the Racks
Of course, there is no point in putting dirty oven racks into your squeaky clean oven. Racks can often have a great deal of baked on grime, but it is possible to get them shiny and clean with the minimum of fuss.
While there are chemical cleaning products available, you can still accomplish this with the same baking soda and vinegar.
Sprinkle the racks with baking soda and then spray them with vinegar. You’ll notice that immediately the baking soda foams up. Once this stops, submerge your oven racks into a sink or tub full of hot water and allow them to sit overnight.
In the morning, use a cloth to remove any grease. Any stubborn grime can be removed with a toothbrush. If some spots are particularly stubborn, sprinkle the toothbrush with baking soda or salt.
After cleaning, rinse your oven racks thoroughly and put them back into your oven.
While it is possible to minimize your oven cleaning requirements by wiping down spills when they occur, it is inevitable that you will need to give your oven a good clean regularly. If your oven is still not heating up correctly after cleaning, it is time to call in the professionals. An experienced home appliance technician can evaluate your oven to determine any underlying issues.