In June of 1989 I had to do something that I had never done before. I was living in Royal Air Force quarter in Weeze Germany (or West Germany as it was then). I had to get my oven cleaned for marching out of the quarter.
Lets say my wife wasn't that hot at house cleaning. And to even things up lets say neither was I. Our quarter was in a mess. Our oven was very dirty. We had to get everything spotless for the March out, or else we'd end up being charged. RAF 'March Outs' were a serious and strict way of ensuring the quarter was spotless for the new tenant moving in.
I knew that my work mates thought we were going to get the biggest charge ever. But no, my wife and I were determined to get everything clean to the highest standard.
My job was to clean the oven. My work mates suggested buying an oven cleaning paste from the local shop. I bought it and followed the instructions. It was a caustic paste and for it to work I had to dip all the oven parts into a Solution made from it. The water had to be preferably hot. I stripped down the oven and put all the bits into our bath. It was a proper enamelled bath. The solution stank like anything and I just didn't enjoy doing it. I made sure the bits were under the water and left them in there for a couple of days and then took everything out. Then as the inner of the doors were soaked through I had to dry them off. I hadn't even thought of what would happen if the insulation had got wet.
But I managed to get the oven back together. We had our March Out and there wasn't one thing wrong with our flat. No Charge. Hurrah.
Our next home was a cottage in the middle of nowhere in North Wales. When we moved in I noticed the oven. It was an ageing Zanussi oven and it was VERY dirty. I bought some caustic oven cleaning pads. When I got home I looked at the label. I decided to put the cleaning off as it looked dangerous, and I remembered my cleaning experience from Germany.
So the cleaning products stayed in the cupboard. The oven never got cleaned. In the end I threw away the oven a couple of years later and got a replacement rather than clean it!
So you may be like this too. Any caustic product you buy in a store, say Oven Pride, Mr Muscle, is pretty dangerous stuff and should be used with caution. If you do buy it, be safe and follow the instructions on the side of the packet. Keep your pets away when using it and ensure you dispose of any product left over immediately. Don't keep it in your cupboards. And be sure that any residue in the oven is completely removed as if it stays in the oven it starts eating it. Watch out for those 'cheap' professional oven cleaners you may find on Facebook as the end result may be your oven starts to be eaten away after they leave.
So what is the easy way. Well the easy way is to do one of the following:
1. Regular Cleaning Routine.
I suspect you've just scoffed at this. Because as you are reading this you haven't been doing this and hence your oven is dirty! But say you got it cleaned professionally, with non caustic products, from a company such as mine. Get A Quote. The end result would be a perfectly clean oven. You'd then need to ensure it stayed clean. You could do this easily by buying the following:
1. A Microfibre Cloth.
You need the microfibre cloth as it is very good at cleaning when it's wet. All the fibres stand up and it has an extremely good scouring action without scratching. You make it wet from putting into washing up water. (American's Dish soap). And then ensure you wipe out any grease in your oven after you have used it. Do this regularly.
2. Booking in a professional oven cleaning company - Get A Quote From OvenGleamers.
3. You can try using an 'easy' mix up using bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. But you'll probably find it's not that easy to remove especially when it drys. We have cleaned some ovens recently where the ovens looked a right mess with all the dried bicarbonate of soda in it.
4. You could try the use a dishwasher tablet idea. But again this may damage your oven. Because the main content of the tablets is something that is very close to being Caustic Soda. Do this means it could seriously damage painted sides in your oven. Some ovens - Smeg - have painted door surrounds that will easily discolour and look very unslightly. Also as very corrosive which means they could be fatal if swallowed.
5. The way a professional oven cleaner does it. The way we do it is to dismantlle the oven and put it in to a dip tank in the van. You can do something similar to clean your racks. Lakeland do an oven cleaning tray. You put the racks into this and leave them for a while. I've heard Persil is good for this. We then using scarpers to remove the grease from the oven along with a vegetable based oven cleaner. I wouldn't recommend using scarpers - there is a skill in using them. But you could use the paste and see how it works.
Graham Rogers Started OvenGleamers as one man in a van in Taunton in 2004. The business grew to a five van operation by 2007. OvenGleamers first franchisee started in October 2010. OvenGleamers Became An Associate Member of British Franchise Association in 2012. Now growing National OvenGleamers Network. OvenGleamers are AGA and Big Cooker Cleaning Specialists. Graham writes on this blog and films videos and has a podcast.