Admin on April 27, 2015 1 Comment The oven can be a tricky nook to keep clean. The best and most obvious tip for maintaining a clean oven is to clean up messes immediately after they occur. However, because of enamel that stains and steel construction that scratches easily, you want to be tough but gentle. As long as your oven is not overly dirty, you can clean it using the following five tips. 1. Baking Soda Baking soda is an all-purpose cleaner that is ideal for cleaning your oven if you do not want to use harsh chemicals. A combination of baking soda and water is an ideal do-it-yourself oven cleaning solution as long as you have patience and at least a full day to dedicate to the job. When attempting these methods, keep in mind that it takes a considerable amount of baking soda to remove extensively burnt on messes. Be sure to apply a lot of baking soda prior to giving up on the project. Don’t forget the water either, or this method will not work! To make the proper solution, add four tablespoons of baking soda to a clean, empty spray bottle and fill with plain water. Shake the baking soda and water mixture until the baking soda dissolves completely. When the oven is cool, spray the solution on any buildup. Continue to use your oven as normal, applying the baking soda solution between uses. The wet baking soda will break up messes into a black powder. The residue will settle on the bottom of the oven and can then simply be wiped up. This can make your oven look messy during the process but provides excellent results. This is the reason that this method requires more time and patience than cleaning with potent chemicals. For unusually difficult areas, try the paste method. All you need to do is dampen the baking soda in a bowl first and then apply it as a wet paste directly on the troublesome places. If you do this, keep the baking soda wet for an extended period by spraying it frequently with water. If the accumulation is especially abundant on the bottom of your oven, you can sprinkle baking soda directly on the mess as a dry powder, then dampen it with your spray bottle. Understand that this approach requires time because the baking soda has to react chemically with the baked on residue. Patience and repeated applications of the spray bottle solution are your best offense to fighting these tough messes. A distinct advantage of this approach is that it is not very labor intensive. The baking soda mixture works over a period of several hours, depending on the amount of buildup present. However, this technique is a green and inexpensive way to clean your oven. 2. Water and Ammonia Another great method to clean your oven that does not involve expensive cleaners or massive amounts of elbow grease is the use of ammonia and boiling water. This combination works overnight to loosen, release and dissolve oil splatters, grime and baked on spills. It is considerably less costly and harsh than store-bought products. In addition, it makes the tough job of scrubbing caked on messes much easier. To implement this method, begin by heating your oven to 150° F. While the oven heats, boil a pot of water. When the oven reaches 150° F, turn it off and pour one cup of ammonia into a oven-safe bowl or baking dish. Place the ammonia-filled dish on the top rack of the oven. Set the pot of boiling water on the lower rack and shut the oven door. Leave both the dish and the pot in the oven overnight. While the oven and liquid cool, it should loosen any burnt-on food. The next morning, open the oven and remove both the now cooled bowl of ammonia and pot of water. Discard the water but save the ammonia for later use. Remove the racks and leave the oven door open to air out for about 15 minutes. After it airs out for a while, add a couple of teaspoons of dishwashing liquid and a quart of warm water to the ammonia. Dip a nylon scrub pad in the ammonia mixture and use it to clean up the softened grease, oil and grime on interior, bottom and sides of the oven. It is critical to ensure that the pilot light is out on a gas stove and that the gas is off before utilizing this method for cleaning your oven. Never mix ammonia with bleach, commercial oven cleaners or other strong cleaning agents. Always wear kitchen gloves because ammonia is corrosive to your skin. While airing out your oven, you may want to open a door or window to disperse the chemical smell. 3. Salt The next time your food boils over in your oven, do not give it a chance to bake on by only cleaning it once the oven is cool. All you need to do is combine one-third of a cup of table salt with one cup of baking soda. Fill an unused spray bottle with water and liberally spray your oven surface. Sprinkle the salt and baking soda mixture over the water and then spray with water again. Allow the mixture to sit overnight. Wipe up the loosened residue the next morning and wash with hot soapy water. This method is good for spot cleaning and does not take a lot of effort. By using common ingredients found in any kitchen, you will be able to clean a mess as soon as it happens–without burning your fingers. 4. Fume-Free Commercial Cleaners Typical store bought oven cleaners are very effective when used correctly, but they contain harsh chemicals that require care when using, so it is crucial that you wear gloves. Know that the principal ingredient in most commercial oven cleaning products is actually baking soda. However, if you do not have the time to spend on cleaning your oven overnight with baking soda and water, a conventional store bought product is an effective method for quickly cleaning your oven. 5. Avoid the Self-Cleaning Feature Most ovens come with a self-cleaning option, but it is not recommended that owners use this very often. This self-cleaning option uses extreme heat to remove grime and grease, with temperatures often reaching over 1,000° F. This can burn out fuses and electrical elements of the oven much quicker than it otherwise would. In fact, a majority of repair calls surround work on ovens after an owner utilizes the self-clean function. In order to avoid expensive repair fees, take the time to spend a day or so cleaning our your oven the old-fashioned way.