With the holidays fast approaching, there will be a lot of oven cleaning. Here are some tips and helpful ideas to help you with those yucky chores.
Whether you clean your oven before or after (or both) the holiday cooking frenzy, there are several ways to go about this onerous task:
If you have a self-cleaning oven - yahoo! Basically, all you have to do is flip a switch and the oven heats REALLY hot - try 900+ degrees!!! - and burns all those drips and spatters and spills to a fine ash. All then is left to do is wipe it out with a damp cloth. But some warnings from using this feature - because of the extra high heat fuses, elements and electronic controls may burn out. Most technicians will tell you NOT to run the self-clean on your oven the two weeks before a major cooking holiday. Chances are high that something might go wrong, then you will have to add a call to your favorite tech to come fix these and it could be a costly cleaning. You can use the ammonia/hot water method to clean but DO NOT USE regular chemicals-in-a-can cleaner! They do make one for self-cleaning ovens. The ammonia cleaning method is as follows:
Heat oven to 150 degrees and turn off - place a small bowl of ammonia (about 1/2 cup) in small bowl on top rack and a large pan of boiling water on the bottom. Close the door and let sit overnight. The next day remove ammonia and water and let oven air out. Then wipe down using the ammonia and a few drops of dishwashing liquid in about a quart of warm water. If you are cleaning a gas oven please make sure the pilot light is out and the main gas line turned off.
No self clean? If you prefer to use the chemicals-in-a-can, make sure you follow the directions, use lots of ventilation and wear protective gear - these chemicals are really harsh and can do damage to your skin and lungs. If you want a "green" method, you can use the above ammonia method or the baking soda method:
Grab a paintbrush and a bowl. Mix 1 tablespoon of dish soap, 1-1/2 cups baking soda, and 1/4 cup vinegar and enough water to make a thick paste. Paint the inside of your oven and let sit overnight. Then, with warm water and a scrubber/sponge, wipe it all down.
Helpful hint: My son was amazed by this one, but did you know that in many cases you can take your oven door off? Open door slightly and grab both side a little more than halfway down and then lift straight up at the same angle the door is open. The door should slide right up the hinges and off. Please be careful! Door is heavy and awkward and you don't want to drop it. It sure makes reaching into that oven a whole lot more comfortable than leaning over the door and maybe damaging that or bending the hinges.
Next week I will be talking about the top of your range - some do's and don't's there, too!
Have a great week!