Sunday, February 8, 2009

Self Cleaning: Is it really that Easy?

Ok, this might make you want to laugh or just gross you out... but I haven't cleaned the oven in our house... like...ever. I think, maybe, it was cleaned the week before we moved in by Jared's mom (thanks MIL!), but I haven't even thought about cleaning it myself until now. Two years later.

Before you get grossed out though, just know the only time we use the oven is a) to bake our Costco pizza on our weekly "Pizza Fridays," b) to bake cookies or brownies, and c) ok just a and b mostly. The point is that we don't use it that often and it doesn't really look dirty, but I just figured after two years it might be time to learn how to clean an oven.

It says "SELF CLEANING" but that just sounds too easy. So here's what I discovered that includes:

  • Remove wire racks

  • Lock the oven door

  • Start self-cleaning cycle

  • Let oven cool after cycle has completed

  • Wipe interior clean with damp cloth or sponge
According to, a self-cleaning oven basically gets really hot (up to 900 degrees Farenheit) and burns off stuck-on spills and residue from baking. To save energy, start your self-cleaning cycle after using the oven while it's already hot. Be aware of the fact that the high temp may cause the residue in your oven to smoke, but don't worry, that's normal. What isn't normal is the fact that some ovens may contain teflon-coated items and during this process they may release harmful toxins into the air. (Something about killing small birds?)

Eeesh, that's scary. Which leads me to an alternative to the self cleaning cycle:

An Earth-friendly alternative is to create a paste using baking soda and water. Using this paste, coat the interior of your oven being careful to avoid the heating elements and let sit overnight. Then remove residue with a spatula and wipe clean with a damp cloth or sponge. (See Marth's DIY tips.) As for the wire racks, just soak them in soapy water and wipe clean. So, while the self cleaning cycle will do most of the hard work, you will still need to bust out the rubber gloves and get in there too.

Sounds easy enough, but I think I'll wait until next weekend!

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