A recent story from the U.S highlights the importance of ensuring that your oven is cleaned regularly and thoroughly when possible. Just after the Easter weekend, three people had to evacuate their home in Arkansas City after their oven caught fire. It is believed the fire started after the family had been baking biscuits, which then caught fire.
Thankfully, none of the family was harmed, but the story does highlight the dangers of using ovens, particularly if they haven’t been serviced or cleaned in a while. Whilst it’s unclear what actually caused the fire to start, it’s all too common for food particles and remnants found within an oven to start the unfortunate chain of events. What starts out as smoke can very easily lead to fire because of the sheer heat that is involved. This can be particularly scary, especially if you have young children for whom you cook for on a regular basis.
This is the message that needs to be sent to all oven users, because a dirty oven could do more than just ruin the taste of your food. An oven that is dirty and filled with grease will also likely to be inefficient, meaning that your food will either take longer to cook, or it simply won’t be cooked well enough; and as a result you could be risking your own health with poorly cooked food.
However, the risk is greater than just to your health, it’s also a risk to your safety as well. That’s because an oven that works twice or even three times as hard to have the same outcome will reach incredibly hot temperatures. Add a dirty smoky oven with food spillages, and it’s a very dangerous environment indeed; one that’s easily susceptible to fires. Of course, if the oven is old anyway, then you run the risk of lose wires and faulty heating elements, further increasing the risk.
This is why it’s essential to ensure that your oven is kept cleaned and serviced on a regular basis. There’s no time frame or frequency for when this should get done, but is recommended that your oven gets cleaned once every couple of months at least. This does depend on the oven you have and your own requirements of course.
Whether you clean the oven yourself or choose the services of a professional cleaning company, it’s entirely up to you and your own circumstances. However, a word of caution needs to be extended. Whether you choose to clean your oven yourself or use a professional oven cleaning company, it’s essential that your oven is only ever cleaned using caustic soda-free cleaning products. This is the chemical that’s contained in most commercial oven cleaning products found on the high street or in the supermarkets, and it’s incredibly corrosive. This means that it can harm and affect all parts of your oven, worryingly the trims and seals as well as the heating element. The effects of which could make your oven completely useless – and their not cheap to replace either.
So, the moral of the story is to regular clean and service your oven. Ask yourself when you last cleaned your oven, if it takes you longer than 5 seconds to answer, then it’s probably a good idea to give it a clean – it could just prevent a nasty fire.