Cleaning the oven(s)

What’s this? A post about cleaning the oven? (I hear you cry)
Yes, that’s exactly what it is, so leave now if you have never cleaned an oven.
You definitely will not be interested, I assure you. And it’s not the first time I have written about this job, which shows how much I really hate doing it.

Today, I decided that the oven would have to be cleaned. Not only do we have a visitor this weekend, I can no longer see through the glass on the doors. This is my own fault, as I confess to not having given this oven a good clean since the latter part of 2016. (I know, shameful) I always have good intentions to clean it on a regular basis, but something (Anything. Please, anything) usually gets in the way of that. I do cook a lot, so regularly use both ovens. There is a small top oven and grill, and a larger fan-assisted oven. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t use one or the other, or both together.

This morning, I decided to try the chemical-free approach. I resolved to use baking soda and water, mixed with white vinegar. Mix into a paste and apply, and according to the You Tube videos, the grease just slides off. That sounded good to me, but I fell at the first hurdle. For best results, this should be left on for no less than 24 hours. That was never going to work. For one thing, I need to cook later on, and for another, Ollie sleeps in the kitchen/diner, so I don’t want him exposed to any concoctions overnight. So, I only managed to leave it on for two hours, as I soaked the racks in biological washing powder first. (That works, by the way.)

When I could wait no longer, I tackled the top oven first. The non-chemical process had worked well inside, and around the frame, but had hardly made a dent on the thick glass window. I had to resort to Oven Mate liquid, a seriously corrosive cleaner that can take the skin off of your fingers if you are not careful. Scrubbing away with this fluid made a hell of a mess, and I went through quite a few scrubbing pads too. But it was more than ‘good enough’, so I started on the large oven. Of course, the fan-assisted heat that cooks food so well also ensures that any spills and residues are also beautifully baked on. This second oven laughed at the soda/vinegar combination. If it could have talked, it would have said “Better luck next time, sonny Jim.”

I poured on the rest of the Oven Mate, then got ready and took Ollie for a long walk. Any excuse not to face the demon oven. On my return, I started again, having to reach awkwardly over the drop-down door in the process. My hands and arms were soon worn out from scrubbing, and though there was some improvement, it was only just over what I consider to be ‘acceptable’. I still have the extractor to clean, filters to replace, and floor to clear up too. I had to have a break, and what better way than to blog about this nightmare chore?

Another tiring day of oven cleaning has left me with two conclusions.
1) I have to make a concerted effort to clean the oven EVERY time it has cooled down after use.
2) I have to save up to pay a professional oven cleaning company to deal with it in future.

I think I will go with option two.

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47 thoughts on “Cleaning the oven(s)

  1. I don’t cook much and don’t spend that much time at home, Pete, but yes, it’s one of those jobs. I knew somebody (I worked with her) who couldn’t be bothered to clean her oven, to the point that once they had to leave the house because the grease inside caught fire. She decided it was easier to buy a new one than to clean it. (Mind you, she admitted she was lazy). I’ve seen there are companies that come home to do it. At first I thought they only worked with industrial ovens, but no… (Bakin powder and vinegar is supposed to work for everything). Best of luck!

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  2. There’s nothing you can’t write about. We use our oven a great deal less so let’s just say late 2016 is not the last time I cleaned it. πŸ™‚ I’m glad you’ve made headway. It’s a lot of work cleaning an oven.

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  3. I do not mean to sound “Coy” or smart-aleckey here, Pete but what I do is just go ahead and use my oven as much as I want to and then replace the whole cooking stove (Oven and all) at about 5 year intervals. And I also keep a smaller independent “Toaster Oven” on hand for smaller cooking chores and a couple of indoor electric grills and a panini press. Replacement beats cleaning by a million miles in my opinion.

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    1. That’s a provable theory, John.
      Professional cleaning at Β£70 twice a year for five years = Β£700
      Cost of replacing that same oven once in five years = Β£699
      That’s a saving of Β£1. Sold!
      Best wishes, Pete. πŸ™‚

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  4. I beg your pardon? Not cleaned since the latter part of 2016? Hahahaha! πŸ˜€ Oh Pete. I don’t think I cleaned my old oven once in five years. Yes, shocking. In my excuse I er, you know, worked, studied, danced like Baryshnikov and the dog ate my Oven Mate. Really. You put me to shame. But having read this I’ve partaken in your experience so that’ll do me for another five years. Diddly bomb. Diddly bang.

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  5. What a difference a day makes! 24 hours does the trick here with the baking soda and vinegar, a good strong 10% vinegar. Mind you its still not a job that gets done often enough….maybe next time it snows…..in May!

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    1. That overnight soak seems to be the key, Eddy.
      Now where’s the number of that professional oven cleaner?…
      Cheers mate, Pete.
      (I’m guessing the parcel hasn’t arrived? Let me know by email, and I will check the address)

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    1. I could make a living doing this, if I was thirty years younger… My wrists can’t stand all the scrubbing, and the skin wore off my little fingers, even though I was wearing rubber gloves!
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  6. I don’t clean our oven often (and not for a while now…), but I agree with you: IT’S A NIGHTMARE! I’ve used scouring pads, various cleaning solutions, fingernails, and even screwdrivers… Is there an oven with a non-stick surface? I’ve never heard of Pyrolitic ovens (mentioned by HeyJude). Do those work?

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    1. We have a modern oven (2011) with a -supposedly- ‘self clean facility’. This entails running it at maximum heat until the residue is carbonised, then sweeping it out. It also has a -supposedly- non stick coating. Neither has ever worked. I was unaware of the new design that Jude mentions, so looked it up. I found this simple explanation on Google.
      “A feature of certain ovens, Pyrolytic cleaning is an automatic cleaning function which works by heating the inside of the oven to 500Β°C, at which temperature any grease stuck to the walls is simply burned off.”
      So it’s a similar (but hotter) version of what we -supposedly- have in our oven. Ours hasn’t worked so far…Maybe 500 degrees is the magic number, but the electricity bill will be fierce too.
      (I always thought that Fahrenheit 451 was the ideal temperature… πŸ™‚ )
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  7. You already know my thoughts on this subject 😦
    I did find when the fan element broke on my previous oven that it didn’t get so dirty! And I am saving for one of those Pyrolytic ovens that supposedly cleans itself as in the Neff slide and hide door (I can’t cope with trying to clean the back of the oven with the door in the way!)

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    1. We have a Neff, but no slide and hide door. Reaching over that door to clean inside is what really kills me, so they are a great idea. Sometimes, I wish we had gas in Beetley. I always managed to clean my gas oven easily, by comparison.
      Still, it gives me something to write about! πŸ™‚

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    1. Not β€˜one of’ my least favourite, Kim. THE least favourite, without doubt. I started at 10 today, and have just finished. It could still do with a β€˜better’ clean though. Allowing for a walk with Ollie, that job took almost five hours!
      By the way, a good old-fashioned β€˜Brillo’ pad finally got the glass clean. I don’t know if you have them over there.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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