Just like you might get an oil change before going on a road trip, you might have considered cleaning your oven before hosting a holiday party.
Here’s some advice:
Every holiday we get a panicked call from a well-meaning customer who ran the self-clean on her oven and afterwards, the oven didn’t unlock (in this cautionary tale, Northland Service was able to unlock the oven in the nick of time). Of course, this isn’t what’s supposed to happen; the self-clean mode should just work like a charm.
But we all know that things don’t always turn out as they should, and if it’s going to malfunction, Murphy’s Law dictates that it will be right before your in-laws show up.
If your oven is setting off the smoke alarm every time you make a pizza, it might be time to give it a good cleaning.
Self-clean ovens have a setting that allows it reach very high temperatures and burn food mess off into ashes. Do NOT use oven cleaners on self-clean ranges, and make sure to take the racks out before you start a cleaning cycle to ensure they continue to glide well.
If you don’t have a setting for cleaning your oven, you’ll have to manually clean it of course. (I can hear my grandpa, who started Warners’ Stellian, making some sort of joke related to manual-clean ovens actually being self-clean: “Of course it is…you clean it yourself!”)
To manually clean your oven:
1. Make sure you’ve allowed the cavity to properly cool down. We don’t need any heroes on our hands.
2. Remove the oven racks. These can be cleaned with steel wool, water and dish soap. To get off trickier messes, put racks in a garbage bag in a cup of ammonia overnight in the backyard and rinse with the garden hose in the morning.
3. First try scubbing the oven cavity with soap, water and a soft cloth or sponge. Hopefully, this will do the trick.
4. If more rigorous cleaning is needed, our customer service rep, Amy, suggests the following natural oven-cleaning remedies:
Pour ¼ cup ammonia and 2 cups of warm water in a bowl in your oven, and close it up tight. If you’re at home during this, make sure you open a window so no one gets sick. You can clean out the dirty oven with a scrubby sponge after a few hours or overnight.
Fill a spray bottle with 1 tablespoon Borax (which works great as a cheap laundry detergent booster), 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil dishwashing soap and a quart of warm water. Spray the oven walls, scrub it clean after an hour and rinse thoroughly.
A paste of baking soda and vinegar left on the oven cavity surface could work well, but be careful to cover the holes of the gas line if you have a gas range really REALLY well, because if they get clogged, that’s a bad thing. If you go this route, you should be able to scrape off food mess with a spatula. Wipe out the oven thoroughly afterwards.
Anyone ever try these tricks? I’m going to have to pretty soon on the manual-clean oven in my new house. I’ll report back.