Cleaning the oven is by no means a fun nor pleasurable activity. It means squatting down and poking into the charred belly of your staple kitchen appliance to remove the unidentifiable remains of food from yesteryear. The task may seem odious, and the process may appear self-explanatory, but there is more to it than meets the eye. See below and why and how of this rewarding experience.
Why Clean the Oven?
When grime builds up over time, its smoke and vapors seep into meals cooked or baked in the oven. If there is any reason to clean the oven, it’s to preserve the quality of your present and future meals. No one wants a smoky, greasy taste in their freshly baked bread.
When to Clean the Oven
You can tell it’s time to clean the oven when you see crumbs and stains scattered around the floor, walls, and racks of the oven. Another clear sign is if you smell the old remains. It doesn’t take too much dirt to develop a nasty odor no one wants to run into. The frequency you will need to clean the oven depends on how often you use it.
The Self-Cleaning Feature
Before getting into the ways to put elbow grease into your cleaning, one inevitably runs into the controversy of the self-cleaning feature. Developed in the 1960s, this feature has had mixed reviews. Two types of self-cleaning are available: one that incinerates the gunk at a high temperature over several hours, and one that loosens grime through steam. The incineration process is much more effective, but can pose the risks of a worn-out range, carbon monoxide poisoning, and fire. Be safe when using the self-cleaning feature, but know that there will be some manual clean-up involved no matter what.
There are at least three ways to clean the oven manually, which, though it may be a chore, preserves your stove and meals to come. First, one can buy an oven cleaner or cleaning chemical from the store. There are plenty of strong and natural products out there. Second, one can create a paste from baking soda, water, and white vinegar, apply it to the whole interior of the oven, and leave it for 12 hours. Scrub and rinse it off afterward. Third, someone could loosen grime by steaming a bowl of water with a cut lemon in it at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Wipe down the dirt after the stove has cooled enough to touch. Afterward, you can enjoy truly fresh food for another season.
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