This is Day 30 of the 31 Days to Green Clean series.
One of the tasks that I put off doing more than any other in my home is cleaning the oven. It’s a hard job – trying to contort your body to all different angles to get the whole thing cleaned out. And once it’s done, you don’t even get to enjoy the benefits of looking at your nice and clean oven – unless you left it open, which kind of defeats the purpose.
But, I had a large and growing layer of burnt nastiness all over the bottom of my oven, so I knew as a part of this series, I would have to finally tackle cleaning my oven naturally.
As I was working on figuring out the best way to clean my oven without using those toxic fumed oven cleaners, I asked on my Facebook page when the last time you all had cleaned your oven was. I was definitely glad to see that I am not the only one who puts off this chore for long periods of time!
And here is my confession, I have not thoroughly cleaned my oven since we moved into our house, which was over three years ago! I know! So there, if you’ve cleaned your oven at least once in the last three years, that’s one more time than me!
One of my issues was that I didn’t know of a good way to clean my oven without using toxic oven cleaner. My oven does have a self-clean function, but I’ve never used one of those before and I feel like it’s wasteful because it just leaves your oven on for a really long time, right?
So, in the interest of full disclosure, here was my oven before cleaning:
Yikes, right?! Really I thought that eventually all of the junk in the bottom would just burn off, but it’s been three years and that hasn’t happened yet, so I’m finally realizing that it’s probably not just going to disappear on it’s own!
Here’s one tip for when stuff overflows into the bottom of your oven, you can pour salt on it to stop it from burning and smoking. I would recommend not using too much salt though, because you will have to wipe it out of there at some point. But, I did feel like the salt down there actually helped to scrub the burnt on stuff off.
Here’s how I cleaned my oven without harsh chemicals:
• First, I scooped out all of the chunks from the bottom of the oven as best as I could.
• Over the course of a few days I sprayed down the oven with water mixed with 2 Tbsp of baking soda, as suggested by a reader on the cleaning with baking soda post (Thanks Calliope!). You can still bake in your oven after spraying it, since it’s just baking soda, but it will turn a lovely shade of white on the inside. I probably sprayed it around 5-6 times total.
• Then, after baking some cookies, while the oven was still a little warm, but not hot, I used a green scrubbie and a rag and scrubbed and wiped that baby out! I was pleasantly surprised by how easily stuff came off without excessive scrubbing on my part. And it was actually kind of nice that it was all white on the inside because then I could tell where I had cleaned and where I still needed to wipe off.
The worst part was just trying to reach inside the oven and get to all the nooks and crannies. I didn’t do a perfectly, perfect job, but that’s okay. It’s much cleaner than it was, and really it was pretty easy, so hopefully I can do a better job of keeping up with it now!
Also, before cleaning it, I turned the power off to the oven by flipping the breaker. I have blown a fuse before by hitting the heating element on the bottom, and I needed to lift it up to really get all that junk wiped up, so I just turned off the power so I didn’t have to worry about it. It made it a little harder because then the light inside the oven didn’t work, but I would rather be safe than sorry!
• Finally, I turned on the oven to the lowest temperature, which is 170° on ours, for about 20 minutes just to dry it out so it’s all ready to use the next time I need it.
So, here is my oven after cleaning:
Ah, much better! As I was finishing up my 5 year old daughter came in and said, “Wow, Mom it’s clean and shiny!” You know when your little kid notices a clean oven that means it was REALLY dirty!
If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned your oven, now you can tackle this project without too much elbow grease, and definitely without those awful toxic fumes from conventional oven cleaners!
When was the last time you cleaned your oven?
Go here to read all the posts in the 31 Days to Green Clean series.
What would you like to read next?
If you’d like to learn more about living green and living frugally I’d love to have you as a Live Renewed reader! You can subscribe, either by email or in a reader, to get the latest posts, ideas and inspiration for living frugally green. You can also connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!