One of the least favorite household chores is undoubtedly cleaning the oven. The process is a messy and difficult necessity. It is imperative that you frequently remove baked-on food which releases carcinogens when heated and burning. Also, the stuck-on oils and grease can pose a fire hazard if not removed.
Off-the-shelf oven cleaners might effectively carry out the job of removing the debris, but they are not without risk. The cleaners are loaded with toxins, which can upset your respiratory function, make you feel lightheaded, and burn your skin if the harsh, corrosive chemicals meet the delicate tissue.
If you need to clean your oven, then you do have options such as natural and green oven cleaning products. It might take a little more elbow grease to get the job done, but at least you won’t be using harsh cleaners.
Standard oven cleaners contain a combination of lye and ammonia, which remove layers of your skin, and the fumes can harm your lungs. The unpleasant smell of chemical-based oven cleaners will linger in the air and can even impact the flavor of your future recipes. The food could become completely contaminated and toxic due to the impact of the cleaner.
4. Dangers of Easy-Off and Mr. Muscle Oven and Grill Cleaners
Both Easy-Off and Mr. Muscle Oven and Grill Cleaners contain poisons that create harsh fumes, which impact your breathing and cause swelling in the delicate tissue of your throat. Users often experience throat pain, burning eyes, runny nose, vision impairment, ear problems and disorders of the lips or tongue such as swelling.
The stomach might also be impacted when you use such strong cleaners. You could experience abdominal pain, vomiting, bloody stool, fainting, organ damage, and low blood pressure.
Dangerous chemicals found in commercial oven cleaners include:
- Monoethanolamine (MEA)
- Glycol ethers
- Alkyl phenol ethoxylates (APEs)
- Diethylene glycol monobutyl ether
- Monoethanolamine (MEA)
- Sodium hydroxide (lye)
Volatile butane can lead to sudden sniffing death when inhaled, which causes cardiac arrhythmia/arrest after exposure.
Lye, another common ingredient, is used to decompose carcasses. The sodium or potassium hydroxide in the lye quickly breaks down the tissue of the carcass. However, it can destroy live human skin after prolonged contact.
3. Self-Cleaning Ovens
Modern ovens often boast a self-cleaning feature, which is ideal because you can avoid dangerous toxins when cleaning the interior of the appliance. However, you must follow the directions on how to use the feature because it can produce dangerous carbon monoxide. Ideally, you should always leave the home during the self-cleaning process (don’t forget to take your pets with you).
The Teflon coating found inside of the oven will also release harmful fumes during the cleaning process, which occurs at 600 degrees Fahrenheit. If you inadvertently inhale the burning Teflon, then you can experience breathing problems or flu-like symptoms.
2. Ingredients for Homemade Oven Cleaner
If you want to make your own oven cleaner, then you’ll need the following:
- Glass bowl
- Scrub sponge
- Pastry brush
- Castile soap
- Baking soda
- Orange essential oil
1. How to Clean Your Oven Using a Natural Oven Cleaner
Remove the oven racks from the oven. You will clean the oven racks separately by washing and scrubbing them in your kitchen sink.
Place a 50/50 mix of baking soda and castile soap in a bowl and mix. The castile soap is ideal because it is pure and chemical free (you can also use it to clean windows or other glass). The baking soda is naturally abrasive and can quickly remove baked-on food from the oven’s interior. Baking soda is what is referred to as a nahcolite, which contains sodium bicarbonate and makes it an ideal cleaner.
Add the vinegar and the orange essential oil to the baking soda and castile soap. Blend it together until it forms a paste. The orange essential oil has a wonderful citrus aroma, and it is a strong antibacterial with antimicrobial compounds referred to as terpenes. The vinegar also acts as a strong antibacterial.
Apply the homemade oven cleaner to the oven’s interior. Use the pastry brush to coast the oven in the homemade cleaner. Be sure to soak the entire interior of the oven compartment. Allow the mixture to sit on the surface for at least six to eight hours. Ideally, you can apply it before bed. It will create a foam when on the oven, which is normal and should cause no concern.
In the morning, wipe the inside of the oven clean using warm water and a sponge. Rinse the sponge frequently in the warm water to remove the cleaner and debris. You might need to refill the bowl several times during the cleaning process.
If the oven is not completely clean, then you can reapply the homemade cleaning solution and wait an additional six to eight hours. Remove the cleaner with warm water and a sponge.
To keep your oven looking clean, frequently remove any burnt-on debris using the homemade oven cleaner. Avoid letting the dirt and grime build-up or it will become even harder to clean.
Related: How to Give Your Oven a Thorough Cleaning