DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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4 December 2013

Green cleaning the oven and stove top

I use my oven a lot, probably five times a week on average. Everything goes in there - bread, scones, cakes, biscuits, pies, quiches, roast chicken, leg of lamb, pork shoulder, meatloaf - all cooked from scratch and all baked in my trusty, and sometimes crusty, oven.  I cleaned it out about two months ago when it was very dirty after a winter of casseroles and roasts. This time it wasn't so bad but it still needed a good clean. Now we're set for Christmas and if anyone wants to quickly heat up something they bring over, I can tell them to go for it instead of grabbing the plate, saying: "I'll do that, you sit down." LOL

Oven door, pre-cleaning.

I'm sure you know there is nothing magical about cleaning an oven or stove, but the feeling you get after you do it is probably 25 percent better than the clean fridge feeling. ;- ) But with any job, particularly those you don't really want to do, your attitude makes a big difference. Forget about whether you want to do it or not, think about it as one of your necessary maintenance routines and know when it's finished the feeling of satisfaction you'll feel will last much longer than the time it takes to do the job.

To do the job safely, leave the high toxic chemicals on the supermarket shelf and arm yourself with an oxy-bleach powder similar to Napisan, I use the Aldi generic Di-san and it works perfectly. You'll also need bicarb/baking soda, cleaning vinegar, four or five old rags - not your knitted cleaning cloths, and an old towel. If you have cleaning brushes, that's great, if not, use an old nail brush. If you have no brushes, use a pot scrubber or steel wool, but be careful with it.

The stove top was very dirty - boiled over rice water and the results of frying onions and making breakfast. If you've got a stainless steel top, like mine, a brush will do the job better than a cloth, or an abrasive.
 Finished job.
 The paste is bicarb/baking soda mixed with vinegar, and some dish liquid if the oven is really dirty.

 Apply the paste the night before and leave overnight.

In a sink where you can completely submerge the oven racks and trays, add a cap full of  oxy-bleach and hot water, then add the racks and trays.  Leave overnight.

The next morning, you may have some brown spots left on your racks. These can usually be wiped off with a rag. If it's not coming off, get out your brush or steel wool and scrub.

 All done!  We celebrated with a cottage pie cooked in the clean oven.

NOTE: Oxy-bleach is a powdered form of hydrogen peroxide, it's not related to chorine bleach, it won't damage the environment and it cleans by releasing oxygen. Used on fabric, it will remove stains without  stripping the colour and used on metal, such as oven racks and slides, it loosens grease so it can be wiped off.

OVEN RACKS & TRAYS
The evening before, take all the oven racks and trays out of the oven and place them in a sink where they'll be completely submerged. I used our laundry sink. Turn on the hot water tap and start filling the sink to just cover the racks, then add a cap full of the oxy-bleach. Get a large spoon to stir it around to help dissolve all the powder. Make sure all the racks and trays are under water. If you're cleaning your stove top too, put those racks in too, plus anything else that needs a good clean. Leave it overnight to soak. 

OVEN
The evening before, get yourself a bowl and mix up about 1½ cups bicarb/baking soda with enough white vinegar to make a paste. The mixture will fizz and bubble when you pour in the vinegar, that's normal. Wipe this paste over the inside of the oven, particularly over the dirty spots. Do the door as well, you can use the paste on the glass. If your oven is greasy or very dirty, add a squirt of dish liquid. Not too much because you don't want it to bubble.  Leave overnight.

OVEN
The next morning, using your rags, wipe all the paste out of the oven. It's a really messy job but it should only take 5 - 10 minutes to do it thoroughly. Use a small bucket of water so you can wipe off the gunk frequently with a clean rag. When it looks clean, wipe over with a clean wet rag and wipe dry with your old towel.  Then have a good look inside to make sure you got all the dirty areas. If there are some dirty spots, apply the paste again to those areas only, wait 30 minutes and wipe off. If you think it needs brushing or rubbing with the steel wool, do it. Always finish off by wiping out with a clean wet rag and dry with an old towel.  Clean the outside of the oven as well by wiping over with vinegar on a cloth. Make sure you get in under the door - or remove the door completely and clean around it. Remove the knobs and clean around them too, replace the knobs. Wipe over with a clean towel.

STOVE TOP
The next morning, using your rags, wipe the stove top over with the paste and leave for 15 minutes. Then wipe off using the same technique used on the oven. Remove all the white paste, finish off with a clean wet rag and dry with an old towel. Replace all the top pieces and knobs.

We celebrated our clean oven with a cottage pie baked till the top was golden and crisp. Just knowing you've done this often put-off chore will help you breeze through the rest of the day. And don't forget to tick off another pre-Christmas task.

43 comments:

  1. This sounds good, Rhonda. I have a self-cleaning oven, but don't want to be turning up the temp so high to clean it. This also seems safe for the finish!

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  2. I'm so glad to did this post on green cleaning your oven as I need to do mine but hate doing it because of the chemicals I use make my asthma play up, it may sound funny but I'm now actually looking forward to the weekend when I can clean my oven. I've been looking for a greener way to clean my oven for a while now so thank you very much for the info, I also use your laundry liquid recipe and have passed it on to a friend who loves it as well, it's so satisfying to be able to use less chemicals and make things yourself :) Barb.

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  3. Hi Rhonda, I've been following your blog for about 18 months now and I always find it inspiring and informative. Just a question about the cleaning vinegar you mentioned, is that the same as regular vinegar? We have a technician coming out to fix our oven and it's panic stations around here - it hasn't been cleaned for about three years (I know - disgraceful).
    Thank you.

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    1. Yes, it's regular vinegar - the cheapest one you can buy. I get the 2 litre plastic bottle. Don't apologise for a dirty oven. It is what it is, nothing more. Just get on with your cleaning now. I hope it goes well for you.

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  4. I've been eagerly anticipating this post Rhonda, THANKYOU!
    I'm smiling to myself imagining all us simple living converts cleaning our ovens this weekend, I wonder if the vinegar and bicarb companies see a spike in sales this week LOL!

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    1. HA, I doubt they will, but wouldn't that be a good thing.

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  5. Interesting, I've missed a few steps before so this might make the next time easier. Thanks Rhonda.

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  6. Thank you so much for sharing this. I'm putting Di-San on my shopping list and I'm going to do the oven again before Christmas!

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  7. Hi Rhonda - wow how good does your oven look.I have added this to my routine for this evening. I have never liked cleaning the oven with bought oven cleaners so my husband used to take that job on. I will be happy to do it using your method. I love opening the door to a clean oven. Lxx (Sourdough333)

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  8. Hi Rhonda
    Our sinks are not big enough. Can I use the ceramic bath?
    Thank you. Geraldine

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    1. Geraldine, yes, the bath will be fine. You can use any receptacle that is big enough to hold the racks.

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  9. Such a simple solution for a daunting task! Thanks for that very well written explanation on how to go about it all. I`m going to clean my oven tomorrow!

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  10. Hi Rhonda,
    I never thought I'd see the day when I was inspired by a post on oven cleaning but.....you've done it!

    Have a wonderful day,

    Madeleine.X

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  11. Good morning Rhonda, Thank you for your usual, clear instructions. I'm looking forward to a shiny clean oven now.
    Kind regards,

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  12. Rhonda, thanks for your explanation about oxy-bleach. I've always managed to clean the oven using vinegar and bicarb, but the racks are another matter! I'm looking forward to trying your method.
    Ann

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  13. I've always used just vinegar and bicarb too. Intrigued by the oxyclean too. Makes such sense. thank you

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  14. This is a timely post for me. I have an oven that needs a bit of a clean. I've been green cleaning my oven with bicarb and vinegar for a while now, but I've found that the glass door a bit resistant to cleaning this way. I'll definitely try this method of applying the bicarb and vinegar as a paste and leaving overnight. And oxybleach for the racks is new to me. Thanks!

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  15. I use oven liners on my lowest oven shelf....if I am using only one of the racks to bake on. Catches all the spills and they usually last six months or so...they help.

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  16. This is one job I need to do and have never wanted to use those nasty chemicals..... will definately be giving this a try...great photos and clear instructions. Thanks Rhonda. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

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  17. Hi Rhonda, Someone told me a few months back about soaking the racks but using any ordinary washing powder. I used your washing powder recipe soaking for a few hours which left a few brown spots I removed with steel wool. I'll definitely try soaking overnight in Disan as well as the paste in the oven - the glass door is always the challenge as I don't want to scratch the glass using scourers. Thanks for the tip.
    Experiencing very changeable weather for summer start here in Victoria -last 2 days max temp 32, 30, - today raining and 16, tomorrow 13. Glad for the rain but changing from nightie & just a sheet to PJs with socks & doona makes life interesting….

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  18. Thanks for the oven cleaning info Rhonda, I will hopefully do mine on Friday. Just to clarify, the only time you use the napisan is on the oven shelves - correct?

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    1. Correct. I have a baking tray that I keep in the oven to catch spills. I put that in the napisan too.

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  19. Rhonda, we must have the same schedule for today!
    I know I might be insane, but I love cleaning the oven!!!

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  20. Thank you so much! No one has ever taught me how to clean an oven, so I basically just don't do it and have to put up with smoke when I bake. But now I know and will clean it and be proud!

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  21. Thank you Rhonda, just what I needed to stop my own procrastinating and get my oven cleaned! I've had a good look in the oven and its in a sad state!! I'm off to purchase oxy-bleach tomorrow.

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  22. Great post! I have never cleaned my oven before...my Mum has always had that job when we've moved house - haha! She's always brought with her the yuck chemical cleaners so I can't wait to try this and then share with her! Thanks!

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  23. This post might be just the inspiration I need to get that horrible job done! I'm fairly good about the top, tending to prefer to wipe it as I go, but the inside - urgh!

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  24. Thank you for some more useful tips!

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  25. Thank you for the tutorial. You are so right about getting into the right frame of mind when it comes to cleaning. I try to focus on how I'll feel when it is done as a way to get motivated. I tried to explain this concept to my sixteen year old daughter, to get her to clean her room......I don't think it worked!

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  26. Ugh, I knew it was coming, but gosh it's a job I dislike. I do remember last time though, following your instructions and being AMAZED at the racks when they came out of the bath and wiped shiny and clean. Definitely a job for today, thanks for the kick up the pants the photos gave to make me do it!
    I love reading your blog Rhonda, and though we've never met, I always feel as if I am home reading your words. Every post resonates with me.
    My husband and I are currently looking for a block of land for our family (5 children) to get back to basics. We are, to put it bluntly, fed up and ready for change. How big is your block? Although I love the idea of buying ten or 15 acres and getting into permaculture, I think maybe one or one and a half would be all I could really manage! I would love some tips about how to get started- maybe a good post for all those people making new years resolutions to get back to basics?! I have read back on some old posts and each week incorporate another area of our lives, like the stockpile, reusing the linens as cloths, growing herbs... slowly, slowly.Thanks again for the time you take to make this blog so wonderful.

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    1. Hi Sal, we live on just under one acre and we have more than enough room. I'll do a getting started post next week. Good luck with your search.

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  27. Hi Rhonda, I am planning on cleaning out the oven soon so this post could not come at a more welcome time, but the point of my comment is that today marks 7 years since I left the paid workforce to spend the rest of my pregnancy at home and stay home with my baby when she arrived (and her little sister who followed 4 years later). My husband and I were talking last night about how we've managed to live on one wage, pay the bills and the mortgage, take out girls on modest holidays and be able to afford to send them to a good school, and when i thought about it, the catalyst was you, and your blog. It opened my eyes to a whole other way of living. I took the idea and ran with it and i've never looked back. Thank you so much for all that you've taught me through your blog and your book, i will always be thankful that i had a trailblazer to go ahead and show me the way!!!

    Lauren

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    1. Thanks Lauren. It is comments such as this that help me continue blogging. Good luck with your oven, love. xx

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  28. Thanks for doing this post Rhonda, I pinky promise I will get it done...maybe in the new year :D
    Warm regards
    Jan
    P.S. I didn't realise I could link my blog in my name through my google account, I'm so untechno-savvie, so thanks for teaching me something new!!

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  29. I'm holding you to that pinky, Jan. ;- )

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  30. Wish I had known/read this post before we moved house a couple of months ago. I used supermarket oven cleaners and was sick with migraines for days.

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  31. I'm not so sure of the wisdom of mixing baking soda and vinegar together-- the acid and base with neutralise each other to form salt and water, won't they?

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  32. Thanks for that oven cleaner recipe, Rhonda. I can't use the spray on chemical ones as they give me asthma but that one I will try. Think I might leave that till after Christmas - after turkey and lamb are cooked :O)
    I haven't been on your blog lately as I am packing up the house as after Christmas we are moving to Western Australia - big adventure for us. Packing is such a chore - sorting and recycling as I go.
    Trust that you and Hanno have a beautiful Christmas with your lovely family. All the best for 2014 and I hope that you are both blessed with many happy times.

    Kathy

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  33. I am simply out of words after reading your article. I want to appreciate the way you handled such a complicated subject....commercial stoves

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  34. THANKS! This is one the the best oven cleaning guides I have come across. I'm trying this one! I must admit, I do use an oven cleaner in oven cleaner sheffield once in a while but, I am going to use the guide on this page in the months between to keep it clean year round :-)

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  35. I've got to try this. I have a real dirty oven that needs cleaning badly. I've neglected this chore because of an increasing work load that leaves me tired at the end of the day and I hate using harsh chemicals to clean.
    JB

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  36. I'm going to give this a go on my oven tonight. I cleaned the stovetop yesterday with a sprinkle of bicarb and lavender castille soap on an old rag. Worked wonders :) Nicole

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