Monday, September 17, 2012

How to Clean Your Oven with Baking Soda

Commercial oven cleaners are considered one of the most toxic products people use at home. Oven cleaners are associated with negative effects on the respiratory system and can cause skin damage. The good news is you can clean your oven with just baking soda and water!

You'll need:
  • newspaper
  • cloth
  • dustpan and mini-broom
  • at least 1/2 cup of baking soda*
  • water in a cup
  • mixing bowl or container, that can hold at least 1 pint
  • spoon or mixing spatula
  • old, but clean, paint brush, at least 1" wide
  • rubber gloves (recommended, but not necessary)
  • pumice stone or scouring pad (maybe)

Here's what you do: 
  1. Spread newspaper around your oven. This will get messy.
  2. Brush out any crumbs or other debris that is easy to remove with a brush or a cloth.
  3. Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the mixing bowl. Slowly add water, about 1 TBS at a time, mixing as you go. Your aim is to create a paste that has a consistency similar to cake frosting. If you accidentally add too much water and the mixture becomes runny, add more baking soda.
  4. Using a paint brush, spread the mixture across the bottom and walls of your oven. Avoid letting mixture fall into the holes of your oven. You don't want to destroy any important mechanisms in there!
  5. If your oven racks are really dirty, paint them with the mixture too.
  6. Leave paste to harden and dry on the surface overnight, or at least 4 hours. The baking soda will absorb all the oil and grease and funk as it dries.
  7. With a dry cloth, wipe away as much dried paste as possible.
  8. Now, wet the cloth and wipe off remnants of the paste. Rinse cloth and repeat as necessary.
  9. Do the same thing with your oven racks. Use pumice stone or scouring pad to remove baked on deposits of food.
*If baking soda did not work and/or your oven is superdirty, try washing soda. It is stronger.

Here are a few tips to keep your oven clean:
  • When baking, place a baking sheet on a rack below whatever it is you're baking. This will catch any overflow or crumbs, instead of having the mess fall on the floor of your oven.
  • When stuff does fall to the floor of your oven, clean it up as soon as the oven cools. This will be much easier than having to deal with an accumulation of superbaked on mess weeks or months later.
  • Never place aluminum foil on the floor of your oven. Nowadays, aluminum foil is not only made with tin metal, but it also contains plastic- plastic which could potentially melt at high temperatures and destroy the floor of your oven. I don't think it's worth the risk.

Olivia Lane is a Blogger, Green Living Educator, and Health Coach trained at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She's also author of Baking Soda & Bliss: The Healthy & Happy Guide to Green Cleaning 

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