Oven cleaner can go to heck!

For those not in the know, we’ve just moved house. We downsized our possessions to the barest conceivable minimum*, and packed all our worldly goods into whatever boxes the LCBO could give us. This isn’t our first time at this particular rodeo – since we’ve been together, the Fella and I have moved seven times now – which is why we hired movers to do all the heavy lifting.

It’s also why I couldn’t bring myself to leave the oven completely uncleaned. Usually, I would scrub that sucker down with every last drop of elbow grease I have. This time, though, the unit is going to be thoroughly renovated after we leave, including the kitchen. So I figured if they’ve got to clean the thing later anyway, I’ll just leave them to it.

That said, after giving it a once-over, I did decide that I needed to wipe down the inside of the door – at the very least. It was very grease-spattered and pretty much the dirtiest part of the oven. Then, when I reached for my eco-friendly oven cleaner… it was gone! Well, I’d taken it, along with a whole load of other items, to the municipal household hazardous waste dump. You know, like a fool.

Now what? Looking around my kitchen, my eye caught the spray bottle by the sink. I’ve taken to using a concoction of biodegradable dish soap (well, detergent) and white vinegar to clean my dishes – 5 parts soap to 6 parts vinegar. I can spray it directly on the dishes and give them a scrub without having to turn on the tap, which saves water, plus I can make one slightly-pricey bottle of eco-soap last two to three times as long. It’s really good at cutting grease and rinses off easily.

Hmmm…. Grease-cutting? Easy-rinsing?

I sprayed down the oven door and let it sit for a little while. You want the stuff to have a chance to work, but not enough time to get totally dry, so 20 to 30 minutes. Then, I grabbed up my copper scrubbie and had at it! About a minute later, I had a sparkling clean oven door. I’d say it was even cleaner than when I scrubbed it the first time**.

The rest of the oven’s interior just got a wipe-down with some damp paper towel, which actually got up more than I was expecting it to. I also ended up giving both fridge and stove a surface wipe-down, but considering that they’re gonna get covered in dust and rubbish, I didn’t break out the toothbrush and attack all the crevices.

I’d already figured out that using a copper scrubbing pad is the only tool to use for cleaning the inside of an oven. It’s not as abrasive as steel wool, but has enough toothiness to break through most stubborn crust. The inside of an oven is coated in high-heat porcelain enamel, so there’s no need to worry about the copper scratching it. Just make sure to wear gloves if you’re doing more than a cursory scrub, lest you scratch the everloving heck out of your fingernails.

However this revelation, being able to make an oven cleaning substance out of products I already keep around, is a game changer. I hereby declare that I will never waste another penny on specialized cleaning products. Ovens, bathtubs, sinks, toilets – nearly everything, apart from glass – can be cleaned with this stuff.

Mix up a batch for yourself and see what comes clean!

*For the moment. There’s always a way to make do with less stuff, but one hates to go overboard only to have to buy replacement things.

**I totally had to clean the oven myself when we moved in. Another reason not to break my back scrubbing the thing!