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 to reach very high temperatures and burn leftover food mess into ashes. Do NOT use oven cleaners on self-clean ranges. And be sure to take out the racks before you start a cleaning cycle, so that 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. (Cue the voice Jim Warner, who started Warners’ Stellian, with a joke about manual-clean ovens ALL fitting under ‘self-clean’: “Of course it is…you clean it yourself!”)
To manually clean your oven:
1. Allow 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 clean trickier messes, put the racks in a garbage bag with a cup of ammonia overnight in the backyard and rinse with the garden hose in the morning.
3. Try scrubbing 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:
Mix ¼ cup ammonia and 2 cups of warm water in a bowl, pour it into your oven, and close it up tight. If you’re at home during this, you can open a few windows to ensure ample ventilation. 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 an affordable laundry detergent booster), 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, dishwashing soap and a quart of warm water. Spray the oven walls. After an hour, scrub it clean and rinse thoroughly.
Creating a paste of baking soda and vinegar and leaving it on the oven cavity surface could work well. But if you have a gas range, be careful to cover the holes of the gas line 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.
What tricks are we missing? Share them in the comments so we can crowdsource a great resource for anyone looking to get those ovens cleaned.