Cleaning the oven is a task most of us dread, though unfortunately, it is necessary to help prolong the life of the oven. When the walls of an oven are coated in grease and burnt on spills, it has to work harder to heat up and maintain a consistent temperature.
Although many of us put off cleaning the oven for as long as possible, it’s actually beneficial to clean the oven more regularly. This will limit the amount of built-up grease in the oven, making it easier to clean.
After cleaning the oven you might want to sit down with a coffee and congratulate yourself on a job well done, only to find once the oven has dried that there’s actually a lingering chemical smell coming from the oven, or visible white residue where remnants of the cleaner have dried on.
This is an easy issue to resolve, but it’s best to do it sooner rather than later. The toxic smell of cleaner residue can be harmful, though it rarely causes serious problems. You can remove the oven cleaner residue in a number of ways, including scrubbing with water and vinegar, boiling water inside the oven, and leaving baking soda in the oven overnight.
Here we investigate a variety of ways to get rid of oven cleaner residue.
Remove Oven Cleaner Residue
Chemical oven cleaners are excellent at breaking down grease and burnt-on food spills so that they can be easily wiped away. The difficult thing about using these is that ovens cannot be rinsed under the kitchen tap after cleaning, so it’s inevitable that some cleaner residue will remain on the surface of the oven’s interior.
The way you tackle this will depend on whether the cleaner has had the opportunity to dry. It’s always easier to clean away oven cleaner residue while it’s still wet, but oftentimes you won’t notice that any cleaner has been left behind until several hours later when you come to cook a meal in the oven. Use these tips to help eradicate oven cleaner residue.
Wash with water
After using a chemical oven cleaner, it’s common to find smears of dried cleaner several hours later if you don’t follow your cleaner up with a water wash. To prevent this, after cleaning your oven you should also routinely wash the oven out with water. You can do this by using a cleaning cloth soaked with water, or spraying water onto the walls of the oven and wiping it out with an old dry rag.
It’s best to repeat this process twice to be sure you’ve removed all the remnants of the oven cleaner. This method will only work when the cleaner is still wet, so you’ll need to do it right after using the oven cleaner. If the oven cleaner has already dried onto the oven, then wiping it with water is unlikely to have much of an effect.
Scrub with vinegar and baking soda
If your oven cleaner residue has dried onto the inner surfaces of your oven, then a little scrubbing is going to be necessary. A combination of white vinegar and baking soda is good for this task because it will remove the oven cleaner residue while also absorbing any lingering chemical smells.
This is an all-natural cleaning solution and also an alternative to oven cleaner, which makes it perfect to use in an oven where you are going to be preparing food. To use this method, start by spraying a mixture of water and white vinegar onto the walls of the oven. Follow this up by sprinkling baking soda onto a scrubbing brush, and using this to scrub the walls of the oven.
The combination of baking soda and vinegar will create a gentle abrasive paste that works well to simultaneously remove dried-on oven cleaner and eradicate lingering odors. Once finished, wipe the vinegar and baking soda up with a wet cloth.
Follow with an all-purpose cleaner
If you don’t have vinegar and baking soda to hand, you can use an all-purpose cleaner instead. Immediately after cleaning your oven with a chemical cleaner, wipe it out with an all-purpose cleaner.
This could be in the form of a spray with a dry cleaning rag, or you could use all-purpose wet wipes. Repeat this twice to ensure all residue from the oven cleaner has been removed.
Neutralize Oven Cleaner Residual Fumes
After an oven has been cleaned with chemicals, a smell can linger even if there appears to be no residue on the surface of the oven. This can be very unpleasant to be around, and you may also worry about putting food into the oven when it is emitting a toxic smell. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to eliminate these odors.
Bake citrus fruits
If you have some citrus fruits in your fruit bowl, you can use these to overpower the lingering odor of oven cleaner residue. Cut your oranges or lemons in half and scrape out the fleshy fruit. Put the remaining peel on a baking tray and put these in the oven at a high temperature.
The fruits will release deliciously scented oils to fill the oven and your kitchen with a much more pleasant aroma.
Boil water and vinegar
Vinegar is great for removing bad odors because it is able to neutralize odors rather than just mask them. To use vinegar to deal with lingering oven cleaner smells, pour 1 part water and 1 part white vinegar into an oven-safe container, such as a pyrex dish or casserole bowl. Put this into the oven and turn the oven to a high heat setting.
The hot liquid will steam the inside of the oven to clean away any lingering residue and associated odors, while also neutralizing the smell. The bowl of liquid should be baked in the oven for around 2 hours, and you’ll need to make sure there is enough water and liquid in the container to work for this length of time.
Absorb with baking soda
An open container of baking soda is used as a popular method of eradicating bad odors. You may have used baking soda in the fridge to absorb strong lingering smells, and some people also keep baking soda in their closets to remove musty smells from clothes. This is a tactic that can also be employed in the oven if there are lingering bad odors from oven cleaner residue.
All you need to do is pour a generous amount of baking soda into a ramekin and put it into the oven. The oven does not need to be turned on. Leave the baking soda in place overnight, or longer if the smell is severe. It will absorb the bad odor and should be disposed of afterward.
Ventilation is really important when cleaning an oven with chemicals to help prevent the inhalation of any toxins, and it also helps to disperse any associated odors and fumes.
Keep your windows open when cleaning the oven, and if the smell persists then leave them on the latch for the rest of the day so the fumes have a means of escaping your home.
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