Learning As I Chop

Adventures in Cleaning

Posted in Tips by R @ Learning As I Chop on September 16, 2010

As I learned through TV, many chefs clean as they cook. They wipe down their counters, have a garbage bowl by their sides and follow various other tips to keep their kitchens sanitary and orderly. You might have noticed that many a Top Chef scene shows the cheftestants washing-up before Judges Table. I’m pretty good ab0ut doing the dishes and spraying the stove after our meal. In fact, it’s hard for me to relax until these chores are done and the kitchen is officially closed for the evening. So when the oven started smoking a few times too often, I was met with a rude awakening- it was dirty and needed to be cleaned.

Ok, here’s a confession – I’d never cleaned an oven before. I don’t know if it’s because I hadn’t really used one until a few years ago, or roommates always begrudgingly did it for the house, but last week I learned a few new things about cleaning. And blog friends, it wasn’t fun.

After I googled for instructions (we’re not blessed with a self-cleaning appliance), I bought some chemicals, came home and got to work. Here’s a basic recipe for success

Fast Cleaning

Remove oven racks and place them in soapy water to soak.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Turn the oven off and spray the inside with oven cleaner.

Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Wipe the cleaner and dirt away with a damp sponge, rinsing frequently.

Dry with a soft cloth.

In general, it’s pretty simple. A few more tips, learned the hard way:

1) Lay down a nice amount of newspaper underneath the open oven door. Lots of guck (is that a technical term?) will spill out and onto your tidy kitchen floor. You don’t want to create more work for yourself, do you?

2) Wear a bandana around your face, spray throughout the oven (don’t forget the top) and then run for your life. I don’t know if it’s the brand I bought, or what, but this stuff STINKS. It just smells all kinds of toxic and wrong. But H said that all brands do, so I’m not sure this is avoidable. Hence the facial mask.

In general, this is a pretty fast task once you muster the willpower to begin. I was done in probably 30 minutes, minus a small meltdown.  But let me tell you, it’s quite  satisfying. Feel good after 3 loads of laundry are washed, dried, folded and put away? Try oven cleaning. It’s even better.  I opened the oven and surveyed my work a few times that day. I was so proud. And sure enough, the oven no longer smokes.

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3 Responses

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  1. Miranda said, on September 20, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Or use the self-clean. I could not LIVE without our self clean. Or I could but the oven would never get cleaned. LOL.

    But I do agree, ALL brands of oven cleaner stink. BADLY. Make sure to open windows and run a fan.

  2. sari said, on September 24, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    i know this is hopelessly unfeminist of me, but as far as I’m concerned, under husband duties fall the following:

    taking out the trash (unless i feel like doing it myself)
    getting things off high shelves/out of impossible to open containers
    AND
    cleaning the oven

    that or help pay for a housekeeper.

    • R @ Learning As I Chop said, on September 24, 2010 at 12:57 pm

      Well, these tips can be used by either husbands or wives. Or kids, if they’re old enough and future bakers. I see your point re: housekeeper, but there’s something satisfying about doing it yourself. And I mean that


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