14 January, 2021
The oven is now a common kitchen appliance in many urban households. However, it wasn’t until the Covid-19 hit and the stay-at-home period kicked in that it started being used frequently in few homes. Many used it just for heating the leftovers or the odd baking activities. During the lockdown, people had more time on hand and started exploring. YouTube channels just made everything look simple. Baking a cake wasn’t a big job as it appeared to be earlier.
Even the house's regular cooks found out new recipes and were trying them out. Of course, many households were restricted to home food and were spending more time at home added to the surge in the oven cooking. The younger generation that loves the Pizzas, cakes, burritos and such, were the triggers for the increased use of the oven.
The downside of the oven put to regular use is that it would also get dirty. Typically, the oven would have stuff falling over, at times flying around, and also the odour. The oven needs regular cleaning as much as the gas stove does. Often, while we clean the gas every day, we forget to do so for the oven. Unless something spills over badly, we do not clean it daily. And the periodic cleaning is also missed. So, how to go about it, as one needs to be careful while doing this.
Most modern ovens come with a self-cleaning option and instructions, which can be used safely. For multiple reasons, few people suggest to avoid the self-cleaning option and use home cleaning instead. Also, the self-clean may not be as effective if stains have hardened. If you use some off-the-shelf kind of cleaners from the market to wipe off the stains, you never know what chemicals are present in the ingredients. Apart from the health risks, these may have a corrosive effect on the oven parts. However, some natural, proven options can clean the oven.
You may be aware that a small bowl of baking soda is kept in the refrigerator to ward away the various odours. It is also used in cleaning the kitchen area and appliances as well. It can be used for periodic and effective oven cleaning. Make a paste of the baking soda and water in a bowl, spread it evenly on the oven plate, and apply it to the non-heating, inner elements of the oven. This should be done at night and left overnight for maximum impact cleaning. The next morning, you can spray some white vinegar over this mixture, wherein it will start foaming. A soft and damp, clean kitchen towel or a paper towel can be used to wipe it off to ensure all residues are removed.
Here is a simple trick suggested by few oven manufacturers for periodic oven cleaning. Put some diluted lemon juice on the turntable, and turn on the oven at maximum power for about ten minutes. Wait till the oven cools once the cycle is complete, and wipe it off with a soft cloth towel.
If you feel like wiping off the stains and the inner parts, you could try combining the above ingredients. Mix one tablespoon of lemon juice with one tablespoon of white vinegar and one teaspoon of baking soda in a small bowl. Apply this on a sponge-wipe and use it to wipe the turntable and the parts around, avoiding the heating elements.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This is another natural cleaning option used in many kitchens and can be used for oven cleaning too. Mix one cup of apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon of sugar and apply this evenly on the plate, especially on stubborn stains. This can be wiped off with a soft, damp cloth after about 20 minutes. If any stains remain, you could also try brushing them lightly with an old toothbrush.
If you have a larger oven with racks, you should clean the racks too. You may immerse the racks in hot water mixed with lemon juice and baking soda, for a while. The racks may then be taken out and cleaned and wiped before putting them back. It is also safe to use gloves while you do the cleaning to avoid any harm to the hands.
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