Many natural solvents are equally as powerful as their chemical-based counterparts, and often, much safer. You can purchase alternative solutions commercially or make your own.
USU Extension’s Teresa Hunsaker looks at a few oven cleaners that might just be “healthier” to use.
It seems that no matter how careful we are, something boils over in the oven, or something gets spilled—it is amazing how fast things buildup and burn on in the oven.
1t Liquid dish soap
1t Lemon juice
1qt. Warm water
Mix all ingredients in cleaning bucket or bowl and apply solution (with a sponge) to the oven’s cavity. Allow to sit for 45-minutes and then scrub clean. Rinse well!
Pour ammonia into plastic bowl or dish (which can be easily disposed of). Place ammonia inside oven, without heat, and close door. Allow to sit overnight. Remove container and wipe away stubborn stains. (Ammonia may be reused, if stored properly.)
TRIED AND TRUE VINEGAR RECIPE
6T Baking soda
4-5 drops hand soap or liquid dish soap
5T White vinegar
Mix above ingredients until they form a thick paste. Apply paste to inside of oven and scrub with sponge. Wipe clean and rinse thoroughly.
CITRUS and SALT CLEANSER
Use equal amounts of lemon juice and salt. Apply paste to stubborn stains and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes. Scrub with brush and wipe clean.
NATURAL SCRUB CLEAN OVEN SOLUTION
4T Baking soda
4T Hot, steamy water
Make a paste with the above listed ingredients and apply it to the oven’s cavity using an old toothbrush or soft-bristled cleaning brush. Allow solution to sit for 1-minute. Scrub with brush until oven is clean. Rinse with water and sponge until no traces of baking soda remain.
TOUGH STAIN REMOVER
1c Baking soda
Make a paste using the ingredients above and apply it to the inside of the oven. Close door and heat oven to 500-degrees for 60 minutes. Turn off oven and allow to cool. Wipe debris from oven using a moist sponge. Rinse well.
Just a note: Some ovens are self-cleaning. Self-cleaning ovens work by heating themselves to a higher than normal temperature (800-900-degrees) and thus burning to ash the grime and build up. This leaves for minimal clean-up. Once the cleaning cycle has finished, you simply use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe the ash and residue from the oven cavity. Ovens which don’t get clean enough the first time, can be put through a second cycle of cleaning almost immediately.
CERAMIC STOVE CLEANERS
Homemade Smooth Top Cleaning
Toothpaste: works as a very mild abrasive, similar to soft scrubbing gel solutions. Toothpaste can be used to clean the surface of your smooth top range. Choose a white toothpaste—not a colored gel. It can also be used to remove stains on white clothing, tennis shoes, and in many other places where a light scrubbing is needed.
Baking soda: works as a mild abrasive, helping to gently scrub things that need to be scrubbed, but not scratched. Simply sprinkle a few teaspoons of soda on the area of your smooth top to be cleaned, spray with a little water, let sit a few minutes, then gently scrub the surface. Wipe off, rinse with water, polish with a little rubbing alcohol and a soft cloth. Or, for tough stains and burned on particles, spread baking soda on, then spray vinegar instead of the water. The chemical reaction gets all those brown stains off.
Homemade Glass Cleaner Recipe
Mix in a sprayer bottle:
1 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
1 cup water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Do not use any regular scouring powders, treated pads, metal pads, oven cleaners (caustic, can etch) or rust removers (acidic, can etch). Also a good idea apply special cleaner purchased for smooth tops for protective coating after scrubbing with materials suggested.
Thin brown lines are scratches from particles of salt, sugar, dirt, etc. caught under bottom of a utensil. They cannot be removed. Again a protective coat of special cleaner on the surface will help. Plus, wiping off spills of gritty substances/dirt from air with clean dampened paper towel before cooking helps also.
A note about pans on a smooth top:
Pans of soft metal such as aluminum can rub off on the harder glass surface, making gray or black marks. Copper bottom pans do not mark as much but do not give as good a cooking performance as aluminum. Heavier weight, harder aluminum marks less than lighter weights. Smooth the bottom of new aluminum pans with a mild abrasive such as Bon Ami. Do not slide pans across the surface; lift pan up when moving or when shaking as in popping corn. Keep surface protected with cleaner-conditioner. NEVER USE FOIL on glass tops; rubbing it across the surface can also make dark marks on a white surface.
If you have a self-cleaning oven consider these tips:
1. Remove the racks before cleaning. The high temperatures may discolor and warp them.
2. Make sure the door is latched completely. Many newer ovens feature self-locking cleaning cycles. If yours does not, be sure to double-check the latch before throwing the oven into the cleaning cycle. Not doing so can ignite a grease fire or cause injury to the innocent person who pulls the door open.
3. Never use commercial oven cleaner solutions during self-cleaning mode or at any other time. Many products are flammable and cause serious injury and death if exposed to high temperatures.
STEPS FOR THOSE NOT USING SELF-CLEAN FEATURE:
1. Fill the sink with extra-hot, soapy water and place all oven racks and broiling racks into the water.
2. If using a cleaning product, apply the cleanser to the inside of the oven.
3. Wait. Allow at least 10-minutes for the cleanser to go to work.
4. Using a damp sponge, wipe dirt, debris and grease away.
5. Rinse. It’s important to remove the cleaning solution completely from the oven. Rinse thoroughly several times.
6. Turn the oven to 200-degrees. Allow it to heat for ten minutes and then turn the oven off. This will help “burn off” any leftover cleanser odor so that it doesn’t seep into your food.
7. Repeat, if necessary.
a) Wipe up immediately after spills, rather than let them set or stay until the next use of the oven and they burn on.
b) After cleaning, wipe down the oven interior with a solution of vinegar and water to remove any cleaner’s residue.
c) Heating your oven to 200 degrees then shutting off and applying your cleaner of choice will aid in clean up.
If you have other questions about homemade household cleaners or other household problems, visit www.extension.usu.edu or call (801) 399-8200