This week, I decided it was time. Time to clean up the crusty black carbon deposits (actually, food droppings from sweet potatoes, squash, and who knows, what else!) that are glued to the bottom of my oven. I can’t remember the last time I cleaned my oven, which is kind of embarrassing, since I use my oven a lot, and there has been a little bit of an odor building up in it for the past few months. And that’s not good, because a dirty oven can lead to smoke bellowing out, can add a charcoal taste to food, and is potentially hazardous, because of fire risk.
Although we have a self-cleaning oven in our kitchen, my husband advised me not to use it, for fear that our little ol’ house might not be able to handle the heat. (What?? Okay, I guess I won’t argue!) So, I went on the hunt for non-toxic oven cleaners. In case you are not aware, commercial oven cleaners are one of the most toxic cleaning products that have ever been manufactured. They contain lye, which will eat the skin right off your bones, and ammonia, which is very dangerous to breathe! It’s also possible that when you clean your oven walls with these chemicals, they will get infused into your next oven-baked entrée or dessert!
Needless to say, these poisons are totally unnecessary to buy, use, and handle. You can protect yourself and your family, by making a simple, inexpensive cleaning formula, using natural soap, vinegar, baking soda and, if you want, essential oil for a pleasant fragrance. Here’s a safe and easy recipe that you can try out!
1/2 cup liquid soap (I used Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Hemp Peppermint Liquid Soap, which has a fresh, minty scent!) You can add a few drops of your own essential oils to any other liquid soap) Here's a link to find this great soap, that I've been using for decades! http://amzn.to/2rhC2WY
1 ½ cups of baking soda
1/4 cup organic white vinegar (you can also use apple cider vinegar)
Water as needed, to make a thick, but paintable paste
1 glass bowl
Paintbrush (try using a pastry brush or an old paint brush)
Scrubber sponge and large spoon
Kitchen dishwashing gloves; for your hands
1) Remove your racks from the oven and clean them separately. (Outdoors works well, in the springtime….) Pour your soap and other ingredients into your bowl and mix well. Paint the mixture onto the base of your oven. Rinse bowl and set aside. Let mixture sit in your oven for 6-8 hours (while you sleep?) It will foam up slightly, and you will be able to see some of the grime being lifted off of the oven surface.
2) Turn on your radio or stereo and play some of your favorite tunes, to make the time fly by! Put your gloves on. Muster up your “elbow grease!”
3) Using your spoon, scrape up any big globs on your oven floor. Fill your glass bowl with clean water. Dip your scrubber sponge into the water and begin wiping down small quadrants of the oven. Yes, it can be a bit messy, but it’s fun to remove the gunk, layer-by-greasy layer! Repeat this process until your oven is smooth and crust-free. You may have to change your water bowl a few times, but you can feel good, knowing that you aren’t dumping toxic chemicals down the drain!
Candia Lea Cole
Founder, Eco-Learning Legacies