Thursday, August 21, 2014

Treat Ovens as You Would like to Be Treated...

You know, turned on regularly, left alone to cool off when fuming, and cleaned of dirt and grime. You really should be expecting this kind of ridiculousness from me by now. This week was back to school week, so I was busy actually working (but still not being paid..ahh, such a noble profession) and did not have time to do any baking. I did, however, have time to clean out my absolutely filthy oven. Seriously, thing was dirtier than my language after a couple glasses of wine. The wine isn't necessary for my colorful lingo, I just enjoy a good glad of Pinot Grigio. Anyway, with the amount of baking and regular cooking that goes on here, my oven builds up crust I somehow fail to notice until I turn on the broiler and the whole thing starts smoking. Apparently my OCD turns a blind eye to chores I know will suck and take up most of my day. So I tried an oven cleaning experiment my mother did a few weeks ago with massive success..I am happy to report this method not only worked for me, but also only took me about thirty minutes of overall scrubbing to complete. It went from nasty and gross, to so clean I'd eat off of it. Or cook off of it?
Light bulb still doesn't work, but look how cleeeeeaannn!!
Now the only problem is I never want to use it. So pristine and new looking! But let me tell you how unbelievably easy this cleaning method is. You only need two glass baking dishes, a cup or two of boiling water, and a cup or two of ammonia. If you're like me and have skin so sensitive that if someone even just looks at you the wrong way you break out in rash, hives, or acne, I recommend wearing gloves when handling the ammonia.
No, I'm not heating up lemon-lime Gatorade in my oven...But you can see how gross the racks and oven itself were.
While you're waiting for your water to boil, preheat your oven to 170. Once your water boils, pour it in to one of the glass dishes, and pour the ammonia into the other. The moment your oven yells at you (yes I am still personifying my inanimate oven) after it is finished preheating, turn it off. Now, place the water on your lowest rack, and the ammonia on the middle rack, and close. Then walk away. Leave it alone. Don't peek because the fumes may make you go blind, or  give you a killer headache that might make you question whether your skull is going to split open and another appendage is going to grow out of it as a result. Extreme case, I know, but you get the gist. Leave your oven alone overnight, and windows open until the end of time. Seriously, have you ever smelled ammonia at room temperature? Imagine what boiling water and a hot oven do to it...

While the smell may not be the greatest, if you don't open the oven, only your kitchen will smell like you're trying to clean up a toxic waste site. Also, if you have smelly good candles or a scent burner, this will help. I'd recommend a citrus-y scent to offset the bitter ammonia smell (with a nose this large, I'm like a scent sommelier, trust me). I bought a scent warmer just for this occasion from Wal-mart only to bring it home and the bulb inside the packaging was broken, so I was operating without a safety smell net. Neither the dog nor hedgehog appreciated this, as both huffed off in separate directions and retreated to the comfort of their beds. Well, P.B. hustled back into her castle to continue hating everything else about life PLUS the smelly kitchen, and Hank looked absolutely betrayed that the warm treat dispenser could ever smell so foul as he slunk back to the bedroom.

The next morning, open the oven door a bit to let the last of that lovely smell waft away, and then be pleased your kitchen doesn't smell like robots peed everywhere anymore and remove the racks. All you need now is a small bucket or large bowl of soapy water and a sponge or steel wool. Soak your scrubber and then wash away the walls of your oven and the oven door. Here is where I got SUPER happy..
Before: Glass was caked with grease and specks of..stuff.
After: A few swipes of the sponge and grease be gone! Also, mystery specks are no more. Look at it, like a friggin' mirror!
I then took my oven racks and scrubbed them off in the sink. I'm fairly certain there was twenty-year-old food particles caked on those things. Don't ask me how that's even possible considering this house is only ten years old.
Yes, that is a hedgehog potholder, thank you. But you can see how cruddy the racks were.
And now they're mostly shiny and less crusty! Always nice when things you cook with aren't crusty.
It is literally sparkling clean.
When all is said and done, I'll take one night of a weirdly off-putting smell in my kitchen for an oven that practically cleaned itself. I now wonder what things I can use ammonia for other than oven cleaning and brain cell killing. I'm thinking this stuff could be a real game changer, and it has been a few days since the oven was cleaned, so I'm hoping I'm thinking this with fully-charged, non-ammonia riddled brain cells again. I really should've listened to my mom when she told me not to open the preheated oven after putting the ammonia into it, but I just had to make sure nothing was going to boil over, and without an oven light, I was left with Sophie's no choice. I highly recommend having a working oven light when you use this method, and not letting curiosity kill your nostrils. But for how easy this was, I say go for it because you know its been years since you've cleaned your oven, and she really deserves a good bath like anyone else (of course ovens are female...they're temperamental and hard working). Now that the dust has settled after week one of the semester, I will be baking this weekend. Yes, my oven will be losing its cleaning virginity. I promise I'll stop personifying my oven now. 'Til next time, my fellow eaters!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the shout out.... And the admission that you should listen to your mother. Love, Guess Who.


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