Monday, July 24, 2017


About a week-and-a-half ago I posted a picture on the GC2 Facebook page with a link to a oven cleaning method that seemed easy, economical, and safe for parrots.  And, as I haven't cleaned my oven for years (because of choosing not to use the self-cleaning function) it was looooong overdue for a makeover.

The ingredients & instructions are simple:

1 - Take the peels from two-three oranges immersed in white vinegar in a mason jar.
2 - Let the jar set for 5-6 days.
3 - Shake the jar to insure everything is mixed well.
4 - Place in a spray bottle.
5 - Sprinkle baking soda in your oven.
6 - Spray the vinegar/citrus mixture onto the baking soda & watch it sizzle.
7 - Proceed to wipe the grime and grease from your oven. Voila! Clean oven!

Ok.  The short video made it look like a piece of cake, effortless.   Remember that motto: "If it looks too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true?"   Well, hang's what I did and here's what I discovered:  

I let the jar stand a few days longer than the instructions suggested, but I figured that the citrus would just infuse the vinegar only moreover time.   No worries there.  I bought a cheap plastic spray bottle and grabbed a sponge with a safe scrub backing.   My husband removed the heating element from the stove (quite the undertaking to re-install it...really, and that's another story) and I was ready to begin. Here's what it looked like before I started. (Please don't judge me...I know how gross it is!) 
And then I started.  It wasn't as purdy and fast as the HomeTalk video, but I was determined. 

I wiped off the first application to see what my progress was.  I was pleasantly surprised - I saw the original floor of the oven.   So, more soda, more spray, and a lot more elbow grease.
I noticed a couple of things as I worked.  First, it's a messy process and so I placed some paper towels along the front edge of the oven to catch the soda/vinegar/gunk mixture as it made its way over the bottom lip of the oven.  Some of it still ended up dripping into the pots and pans drawer below.  How? I have noooo idea, but it did.   Second, I didn't realize how being a contortionist might come in handy to manually clean an oven.  Trust me: there were places I definitely left un-scrubbed    just because I could not finagle my way around    the space.   I am not a contortionist.

I continued applying and wiping, re-applying, wiping until I was done with the base of the oven and somewhat the sides, as well as the cover of the fan in the back.   The best news is that there were NO fumes, no smell really of any kind. There was NOTHING to harm my birds. Possibly the soda neutralized any odor that might have popped up?   And one more observation: baking soda has a shelf life.   I am 100% positive that the baking soda that I used had seen better "active" days...but it's what I had in my pantry and I was on a mission.   Possibly using fresher baking soda would have made the combination of soda, vinegar and citrus more effective, and the job easier.

This is the fan cover that was on the back of the oven.  It was removed and I cleaned it while on the countertop.    In the first picture, the left side is the "after" and the right side is the "before," sprayed and ready to be swiped clean.   Second picture is the completely cleaned cover.   And I have to add, this part of the oven was e-a-s-y.
Fan cover - 1/2 cleaned
Fan cover - fully cleaned
It probably took over an hour to finish up, and then I had the unexpected task of cleaning all of the pots and pans, muffin pans, etc that were below in the drawer.   And then...the joy of pulling out the stove to re-install the heating element, discovering other unmentionables that needed vacuuming and scrubbing behind the stove...and it was done.  

Here is what it looks like now...temporarily...until I start baking and roasting and making messes again!  My verdict: this is a great, inexpensive way, though semi-labor intensive, to safely clean an oven in a home where parrots live. (I have to admit that I broke a pretty good sweat during the process.)

I believe that if you stay up with it your oven mess, maybe do difficult sections one at a time until the entire oven is at a standard you are happy with, then periodic cleaning won't be traumatically, physically difficult at all.  I give this HomeTalk's video and method an A-...the minus is just because I had to do my share of the labor to get the baking soda, vinegar and orange peels to do their didn't just magically dissolve away the grime. 😏

Please, give this a try and respond in the Comment section regarding how it worked for you.    I think you will be pleasantly surprised.