​Oven: How Can I Clean It Grandma’s Way

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The oven is one of the most neglected parts of the home. It is often used, then conveniently forgotten. Unlike other areas of the house, such as the bathroom and the stove, it is not so obvious to notice when the oven is dirty. It is a matter of close the door and think about it later. For this reason, some ovens are only cleaned when people intend to move to a new property or not even then. This can sometimes be a shock for new residents; opening the oven to find years of built up grime and grease. The first thing we want to do is clean the oven. Removing many years of grease and grime from an oven can be a challenge. For many people this will involve investing in thick rubber gloves, a mask and some heavy duty chemical cleaners. These chemicals often come with a list of safety instructions due to the toxicity of the chemicals involved. These chemicals can often be dangerous not only to the health of residents and the environment, but also to the food that will be made in the oven after it is cleaned. Many people are becoming aware of the dangers of these chemicals and have found that the old ways of cleaning, the ways that Grandma used, is the safer and better way. The good news is that there are alternatives to these chemicals.  These use natural, non-toxic methods to achieve the same results as the harsher cleaners. homify has found the best natural ways to clean an oven.

​Clean the Oven with Salt

Many ovens that have not been cleaned for a considerable time have layers of grease and grime that have over time, been cooked on to the inside of the oven. These can be the most difficult parts to remove from the oven. It may take a bit of time and elbow grease to remove. There are however ways to remove this built up dirt. One of the easiest ways is with the humble table salt. First wipe down the entire oven to remove the outer layer of grease. It is now time to target key areas where there are sections of built up grime. Take a moist paper towel and place it on the built up grime to moisten it. When moist pour a generous amount of table salt over the grime, and wait. After about ten minutes it is time to remove it. With a damp paper towel and some warm water wipe the salt off. The grime should be loose and crusty and should crumble when wiped away.

​Clean the Oven with a Lemon

Another wonderful natural cleaner used to remove the dirt and grime in you oven is the simple lemon. As lemons are very acidic they are wonderful at breaking down grime in a dirty oven. This is very simple to do. Start by filling a baking tray with hot water and about four tablespoons of lemon juice. Place this in the oven for 30 minutes at 180c. The vapours of the water and lemon juice will start to break down the grime inside the oven immediately. When the oven has cooled sufficiently wipe down the oven with a cloth or sponge. The grease should come off easily. The oven will be left clean and smelling sweetly of fresh lemon. For more inspiration see 6 Ways to Deep Clean Your House.

​Clean the Oven with Vinegar

Vinegar has been lauded in recent years as the replacement cleaner, appropriate in nearly all household cleaning situations. Vinegar is a non-toxic natural cleaner that can be used to remove the build up of grime and grease inside an average oven, and it is simple to use. Cleaning your oven with vinegar is similar to using lemon. First fill a baking tray with hot water and a quarter of a cup of vinegar. Place this in an oven for 2 hours at a low heat. The vinegar will start to break down the grime on the inside of your oven immediately. When the oven has cooled sufficiently, use a sponge or cloth to wipe down the inside surfaces of the oven. This will leave the oven clean and smelling fresh. For more kitchen ideas see7 Hygienic Materials for Countertops.

​Clean the Oven with Vinegar and Sodium Bicarbonate

When you have a particularly difficult to clean oven you may need the stronger cleaning agents. When it comes to natural oven cleaning, this means the combined power of vinegar and sodium bicarbonate. To clean your oven by this method start by mixing half a cup of sodium bicarbonate with a few tablespoons of water to create a paste. Spread this past over the entire inside of your oven, paying particular attention to the greasy and grimy areas. Allow this to sit overnight, or a minimum of 12 hours. After this time, use a damp cloth to wipe away the majority of the surface sodium bicarbonate. Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and spray this on the remaining sodium bicarbonate residue. The vinegar will make the sodium bicarbonate slowly foam. Repeat this until all the sodium bicarbonate is removed. The remaining vinegar can be used to ensure the oven is shiny and clean.

Clean the Oven with Salt and Vinegar

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If you only have a moderately grime and grease layer in your oven, the salt and vinegar method may be the best method. This way of cleaning your oven may seem more like preparations to cook home made chips, but this method is one of the most environmentally friendly way of cleaning an oven. This is demonstrated by the fact that we are cleaning with things that we usually eat! Start cleaning your oven by heating it to 125c. When it is still warm spray the entire oven with vinegar, this will loosen the grease and grime on the surface of the oven. For more serious spills and grease  cover with a generous amount of salt. This will dry out the grease and make it easier to remove. When the oven is completely cool, use a sponge or cloth and wipe out the vinegar, salt and grime. This should remove the majority of the grease. For any left behind, spray an additional layer of vinegar and wipe off for a shiny finish.

​Clean the Oven with an Ecological Dish Soap

Another very good way to clean your oven combines a traditional method and a time honoured Grandma method. Like previous methods using sodium bicarbonate, start by placing a good amount of sodium bicarbonate on the biggest spills and grease spots in the oven. Next, make a combination of an eighth of a cup of ecological dish detergent, a quarter of a cup of vinegar and three teaspoons of borax in a spray bottle. This should be sprayed onto the inside of the oven, on top of the sodium bicarbonate. This should then be left overnight. In the morning wipe away the residue. This should leave the oven clean and sparkling. For particularly stubborn grease spots and additional coating of sodium bicarbonate and mixture may be required.

For many people the thought of cleaning the oven fills them with dread. It is something that is postponed until it becomes a necessity. One of the reasons people dread this chore is due to the harsh chemicals that they believe they need to use in order to clean the oven, although there are some excellent environmentally friendly alternatives available. Consider cleaning the oven with natural cleaners such as salt, lemon, vinegar and sodium bicarbonate. These will leave your oven clean, fresh and non-toxic to those cleaning and for those using it for days afterwards. For more inspiration see Clean your Home using Vastu Shastra.. 

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