Oven Cleaning No Chemicals
Despite precautions, baking in an oven will inevitably lead to spills. Spilled food falls to the oven floor, dries out and burns. If you use the automatic cleaning cycle without removing as much of this debris as possible, it will smoke up the kitchen and if there is a grease buildup, could erupt into flames. By that time, your oven door has locked and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. If this does happen, turn the oven off and open some windows to clear the smoke.
The best thing to do is to remove as much of this debris from the bottom of the oven before starting the cleaning cycle. If you do not have a self-cleaning oven, use the following procedure to clean your oven without using harsh chemicals. Using something as simple as baking soda and water is a great way to clean your oven with a natural cleaner and it won't leave harsh chemicals in your oven that could contaminate food. The first and most important thing, is to make sure you start with a completely cool oven. There is no reason for the oven to be hot to clean it, and more importantly, you don't want to get burned.
Once you make sure the oven is completely cooled, sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda on the bottom surface of the oven. Sprinkle a little extra on the grease spills because one of the great things about baking soda is that it's so cheap!. Be careful not to let the baking soda fall down any opening, louvers, or vents if you have a gas oven. Once the bottom of the oven is coated, take a spray bottle and lightly spray water all over the baking soda, being careful not to saturate it. The key is to make a paste like substance. Let that sit for a while until the baking soda dries out, and spray the baking soda down one last time to moisten it again. After the baking soda has been in the the oven for a while, even overnight, use a plastic spatula to scrape out the baking soda, and the grease and residue will come right up along with it. Make sure to use a plastic spatula to prevent damage to the oven finish. After you have scraped all the dried baking soda out of the oven, take a wet cloth and wipe down the inside really good to make sure that all of the baking soda is wiped away and the oven is completely clean. If there is any left over residue, it will burn and cause smoke the next time you use the oven. This is a much safer way to clean an oven than using toxic chemicals and cleaners, plus it works!
And finally, next time you're at the grocery store, pick up some disposable oven liner pans to put in the bottom of your oven to help facilitate cleaning next time. Just make sure the oven liners do not touch the bake element, or cover the openings on the oven floor if you have a gas range. Plus, the disposable oven-liner pans are great for taking food on the go and clean up is a breeze. Just throw them away; they are very inexpensive! You could always use heavy duty aluminum foil to line the bottom of your oven as long as you don't cover the openings for gas ranges, and as long as the aluminum foil does not come in contact with the bake element.
Karen S., Indian Rocks Beach, FL