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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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