Whether or not you’re having a family gathering this year for Thanksgiving and Christmas, your oven’s going to get quite a workout in the coming weeks and months. Regardless of the number of guests you’ll be entertaining, you’ll still want to cook something delicious! So, before you get to all that cooking, you’ll need to get your oven in order. It should be temperature corrected, calibrated, and of course, clean. Here are some things you can do to help get your oven as clean as it can be for this baking season.
Some synthetic cleaning products can leave an unpleasant odor or residue in your oven after you’ve finished cleaning. That can be a disaster on Thanksgiving day or Christmas day for your cooking plans. No one is going to have a strong appetite after they’ve been subjected to a heavy chemical smell for hours while your poor turkey cooks among all those harsh synthetic cleaner fumes. Avoid that hassle altogether by first cleaning your oven with natural solvents like white vinegar or lemon extract.
First, you’ll want to create your cleaner mixture if you haven’t already. You can use 1 part water and 1 part white vinegar to start with for an extra strength mix. You can then add a teaspoon or two of lemon citrus powder or lemon essential oil. Once you have your mixture in a bucket or spray bottle, you can get your tools together.
Start by getting your large brush and trash can and taking the racks out of the oven. Set those aside for now. Using a dry brush, scrape the top and the sides of the inner oven in order to get all of the burnt on debris to fall to the bottom. Then scrape all of the bits from the bottom into piles and transfer them to the trash can. This is all done dry to start.
Once the larger crumbs and bits have been swept out, then you can start spraying the cleaning liquid around the inner oven area in order to hit spots of baked on food or burnt areas. Clean those one by one until you have the inside free of crumbs and debris and with all or most of the cooked on spots cleaned off. You can also add about a tablespoon at a time of baking soda to extra tough stains that need a little more attention. Wipe down with your first set of towels.
Removing these crumbs will also stop that annoying smoke from billowing out whenever you turn on the oven to cook a pizza. Remember when cleaning your oven or when cooking, it is a good idea to run your kitchen exhaust fan. If your fan is not working as well as it used to, consider replacing it. You can get a new fan from local manufacturer FAMCO here.
Fill the sink up with warm water and some liquid dish soap. You can also add some of your natural cleaning mixture. Stick one end of each rack at a time into the soapy mixture. Scrub with your dish brush until any baked on food releases. Repeat for each side and wipe down with another cloth towel. Set aside to dry. You may have to soak them if they have tough stains or burnt food.
Take your last clean towel and wipe the inside of the oven out. Get the rag wet with some warm water and use it to clear out any of the cleaner residue that may be left behind. Watch for patches of baking soda as well since that can get lost in the nooks and crannies. Replace oven racks and then preheat the oven to 350 and let it get up to temp. Once the oven has been preheated, check for any smells or smoke emanating from the oven. If there is a strong smell of cleaner still, then you may want to turn the oven off, wait for it to cool completely, and try another wipedown with warm water. Otherwise, your oven should be ready to help you cook up your delicious holiday food this year!