Oven cleaning. My Achilles heel. The truth of it is, I usually don't clean my oven until it gets to the point that it takes an entire box of baking soda to put out the fire that will inevitably start when I turn it on. My mom, who's microwaves and ovens are ALWAYS spotless, has become so embarrassed by my poor oven cleaning habits that she no longer introduces me as her daughter...and I can't say that I really blame her. *sigh*
Last week I cleaned my oven. About 3/4 of the way through, I realized that I hadn't taken any "before" pictures but that I wanted to blog about it because conventional oven cleaner is such a toxic, caustic, nasty chemical cleaner (check out the chemical safety data sheet here) and I wanted to share my cleaning method so that, if you are like me, once every two years or so the job can be a little easier.
After sweeping out copious amounts of baking soda from the floor of my oven, I lightly spray the oven down with white vinegar. Then I preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. After five minutes or so, I turn the oven off and pour white vinegar into the oven being careful not to get it on the oven's heating elements. When the oven is cool enough to work on, I use a scouring pad to scrub it clean. The mess usually comes up pretty easily no matter how many times it has been baked on. This time I thought it would be best to lay down a layer of tinfoil to save myself the trouble the next time I clean it.
I know I can't really hope to demonstrate an accurate representation of "before" and "after" when I start taking pictures just a few minutes before I finished, but here's a picture I took of the sidewall of the oven before I scrubbed it:
Remember, I'm intrinsically lazy, so this is after a half-hearted attempt at scrubbing: