Skip those caustic chemicals and get your oven sparkling with these natural, homemade cleaning tricks
Are you baking a bubbly lasagna or casserole? Keep messy drips off the bottom of the oven by laying a sheet or two of aluminum foil over the rack below. Do not line the bottom of the oven with foil; it could cause a fire.
Here’s a practically effortless way to clean an electric oven: First, turn the oven on, let it warm to 150°F (65°C), and then turn it off. Place a small bowl containing 1/2 cup ammonia on the top shelf and a large pan of boiling water on the bottom shelf. Close the oven door, and let it sit overnight. The next morning, remove the dish and pan, and let the oven air out awhile. Then wipe it clean using the ammonia and a few drops of dishwashing liquid diluted in a quart of warm water — even old burned-on grease should wipe right off. Warning: Do not use this cleaning method with a gas oven unless the pilot lights are out and the main gas lines are shut off.
Get the cooked-on grime off your oven racks by laying them out on an old towel in a large washtub. You can also use your bathtub, though you might need to clean it afterward. Fill the tub with warm water and add 1/2 cup ammonia. Let the racks soak for at least 15 minutes, then remove, rinse off, and wipe clean.
They may call it a self-cleaning oven, but when it’s done cleaning, you always have to contend with mopping off that ashy residue. Don’t waste a roll of paper towels on the flaky stuff; clean it up with a few sheets of moistened, crumpled newspaper.
The next time food bubbles over in your oven, don’t give it a chance to bake on and cool. Toss some salt on the stuff while it is still liquid. When the oven cools, you’ll be able to wipe up the spill with a cloth. The same technique works for spills on the stovetop. The salt will remove odors too, and if you’d like to add a pleasant scent, mix a little cinnamon in with the salt.
When you’re finished frying, clean up grease splatters from your stovetop, walls, range hood, and surrounding countertop by washing them with a sponge dipped in undiluted white vinegar. Use another sponge soaked in cold tap water to rinse, then wipe dry with a soft cloth.
Get that blackened, cooked-on grease off your broiler pan by softening it up with a solution of 1 cup apple cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons sugar. Apply the mixture while the pan is still hot, and let it sit for an hour or so. Then watch in amazement as the grime slides off with a light scrubbing.
Got a hot plate that looks more like a grease pan? Whip it back into shape by washing it with a sponge dipped in full-strength white vinegar.
Fight grease buildups in your oven by wiping down the inside with a rag or sponge soaked in full-strength white vinegar once a week. The same treatment gets grease off the grates on gas stoves.
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