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If you don’t look forward to cleaning your oven, don’t worry - you’re not alone. There are very few people who actually enjoy the process. But it’s a really important part of home maintenance, so it definitely deserves some attention.
Cleaning your oven doesn’t need to take all day, and it doesn’t have to be a difficult process - as long as you have the right tools for the job.
First, let’s talk about how often you should clean your oven.
There are three signs that it’s time to clean your oven: if there’s a crust or reside on the bottom, if the door is splattered with grease, or if you smell something when you turn the oven on or see smoke. All of these signs point to the fact that it’s time to get out the cleaning supplies and get to work.
How often you clean your oven will depend on how often you use it. A good habit to get into is that you should clean it about every three months. But if you’re not much of a cook and only use the oven a few times a month, you might be able to clean it just twice a year. Of course, be on the lookout for any of the signs listed above, and you’ll know when it’s time to clean.
But why is a clean-over important?
The truth is that a clean oven just works better. In turn, that makes the food you prepare taste better. So a clean oven has less chance of influencing a dish that you’re cooking.
If your oven has a self-cleaning function, you might be tempted to “set it and forget it.” Self-cleaning options are great but should be used in moderately dirty ovens and as a pre-treatment for a real clean-up. When you use the self-cleaning function, your oven door locks and heats up to about 550F. This heat helps remove grease and grime from leftover food. But if you have a very dirty oven, this self-cleaning function can cause the oven to smoke, starting a fire. Experts recommend avoiding the self-cleaning oven and just doing it the old-fashioned way.
So what do you need to clean your oven?
First, you need a quality oven cleaner. You have two options - you can use one from the store or make your own. Store-bought cleaners are fast and efficient. But these cleaners are made from harsh chemicals, so if you’re sensitive to chemicals, you might choose another route.
There are two options to make your own oven cleaner.
Baking soda, water, and vinegar create a cleaner that’s excellent for an oven with a lot of buildup. Make a paste with the baking soda and water and then let it sit for 10-12 hours. Spray with vinegar and then wipe clean.
Your other option is to use lemons and water. Lemons are acidic, so they work well to clean mildly-dirty ovens. This method only takes a few hours to complete.
No matter which type of oven cleaner you use, you should also wear rubber cleaning gloves. It’s a good idea to wear protective glasses to help protect your eyes, too.
Make sure you remove everything from your oven before you begin. That includes racks and anything else you might keep inside, like a pizza stone.
Finally, once it’s clean, make sure to wipe it down with a damp rag once a week. This will help prevent buildup from accumulating.
The process sounds complicated, but it’s not that difficult once you gather what you need. A clean oven helps cut down the risk of kitchen fires and helps improve the quality and taste of your food.
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