Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The Elephant in the Room and How to Clean It

Is your house clean enough?The elephant in OUR room - in our kitchen, to be precise, is our oven. This is because its arrival coincided with the birth of Secundus and the onset of PND. The oven remains unclean, despite vague attempts with lemon juice and good honest elbow grease. 

Katie, at The Kitchen Stewardship, has a whole article called How to Clean your Stovetop and Oven, the Simple, Safe, Frugal Way which is full of excellent preventative measures and natural cleaning tips.  Jeni Mullinix, author of Clean Enough, uses distilled vinegar to "remove grease spots on oven door window" and baking soda to "scrub oven interior", and these are simple, eco-friendly, frugal solutions for every homesteader.

Unless your oven looks like this:

What my oven looked like prior to cleaning

Because I haven't had any success with natural cleaning products in this area of my kitchen, I have somehow applied Darwin's theory of evolution to my oven and expected it to clean itself, eventually. In the course of Secundus' life so far, this hasn't happened. Partly in a burst of pre-menstrual energy and partly because it was on my Clean Mama monthly cleaning tasks chart, I decided I was going to have to bite the bullet and get the proprietary cleaner out.

Oven cleaner is pretty scary stuff, another reason why I have never cleaned the oven. I read the instructions through more than once, put newspaper down on the floor, donned rubber gloves, opened windows and began. 

Caustic city. Using this oven cleaner gave me a little glimpse into what life might have been like working in a gypsum mine. Even though I followed the instructions very carefully, I found the product horrible to use. 

Less than half-an-hour later and armed with cleaning cloths and a bucket of water, I began to wipe away the frothy residue from the oven bottom. The water in the bucket began to look like gravy and the interior of the oven began to look more like a household oven than a blacksmith's forge. As you can see from the photos below, the result, even with a Proper Cleaning Product from a Shop, is not perfect, but it is an improvement. 

After using Mr Muscle

It is now possible to see through the glass in the oven door, for example, and the various metal clips and screws are not covered in burnt-on gunk. 

My oven is better than it was

To avoid future volcanic-lava-type deposits on the bottom of the oven, I have covered it with a couple of sheets of tin foil. It ain't perfect but I think now that I can tackle this job with the homesteady solutions recommended in Clean Enough. As long as I don't leave Clean Oven off my to-do list for ANOTHER six years...


  1. Great post! Had to just comment and thank you. Over the last few weeks I've been reading a fair few similar posts and one thing I often see forgotten is the value of professional cleaning companies to people, especially those who either don't want to or aren't able to do their own cleaning. If I may I'd like to recommend a few I'm fond of, which you can be confident that they'll do a great job while maintaining the harsh chemical free method, too. They are oven cleaning solihull and oven cleaning medway. Thanks again, keep the posts coming :)

  2. Thank you for the suggestion lisa... I wish those guys you suggested covered my area as my oven is in a right state in my home... I had my oven cleaned by oven cleaning sheffield in my old house, unfortunately now that I have moved away, they don't cover my new area either.... Ahhhh! any other recommendations?? as I can't use either of these 2 great services......


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