With their blend of stainless steel, chrome, glass and enamel surfaces, ovens pose a unique challenge when it comes to cleaning. While caustic soda and a bit of elbow polish may have been enough in the past, you need to be a lot more careful these days.
Watch Out for Harmful Ingredients
Caustic soda was a mainstay in heavy duty cleaning products until relatively recently, but has since fallen out of favour due to the damage it can cause to surfaces and the skin. However, that is not to say that it has disappeared from supermarket shelves entirely. Manufacturers often use the scientific name, sodium hydroxide, as well as a range of other terms such as ascarite, lye and sodium hydrate. While this isn’t done to deliberately deceive consumers, it’s well worth looking out for in future.
An ideal cleaning product will be able to cut through the built-up grease and grime quickly without leaving any traces or damage in its wake. Unfortunately, while some excel in one area, they can easily fail in the other.
Enamel is particularly susceptible to bleaches and other corrosive chemicals. So if you have coated surfaces in or on the outside of your oven, take extra care. When buying products, always check the label to see if there are any warnings relating to where it should and shouldn’t be used. Also, look for the Vitreous Enamel Association badge, which signifies that the product has been independently checked and is safe to use.
Using the Right Brushes and Scourers
Of course it’s not just the chemicals that you need to be careful with. Using wire brushes or scourers can also cause damage to surfaces, chipping away paint and dulling stainless steel or chrome. While it is perfectly acceptable to use these heavy duty products in iron-clad AGA ovens and older models, it can be just as damaging as using caustic soda in many modern appliances.
So in many ways it is about finding the right combination of products. You need a solution that will take care of your oven as well as removing burnt-on detritus. Then, when you do have to scrub a little harder to clear away the grime, you need to use a cloth or brush that won’t tarnish the surface. If you get either wrong, it could result in a poor quality finish or a discoloured avenue with patchy enamel.
Therefore the products aren’t just important, they are critical. Cleaning an oven can be hard work and it takes time to get right; but you can certainly remove a lot of the hassle simply by getting these basics right. This is particularly true if you’re doing it for the first time or have a new oven and haven’t yet had the opportunity to clean it. Taking risks or using products that are cheap, but potentially harmful, could ensure that it is an entirely unpleasant and unsatisfactory experience all round.
At Ovenu, we always ensure that all products we use are eco-friendly and won’t cause damage to the appliance or users. However, this isn’t always the case. Some cleaners can be corrosive, others can be harmful in a variety of other ways. But why is it so important that you ensure that cleaning products are safe to use as well as being eco-friendly?
Well, if you’ve got kids then you’ll probably be all too aware of how many dangers there are around the home. From sharp corners to trip hazards, it’s not easy making sure that they can play safely without risking injury. Try as you might, there will always be something that you miss. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t take all necessary precautions and ensure that risks are kept to an absolute minimum.
One such potential risk is the oven. Not only can it cause burns if left unattended when in use, but it can also be the cause of skin damage if a curious child ventures in to see what’s happening when its being cleaned – or even shortly afterwards.
Some supermarket bought products still contain caustic soda, which is a highly corrosive substance. While it can be effective at shifting grease and grime, it can also be highly damaging for some surfaces and users if it comes into contact with the skin. So if you’re planning to clean your oven during the school holidays, you’d be well advised to check the label of any products you use. Alternatively, you could choose a professional cleaning service to do it all for you.
It’s essential that you check which chemicals are being used in the home, regardless of whether you have children or not. While you can’t avoid cleaning, you can at least make sure that the risks of injury are lessened as much as possible. With eco-friendly products available, it would be a little foolhardy to then opt for an alternative that may well cause more harm than good.
After all, when you’re cleaning an oven, it’s easy to get drips of the chemical on exposed areas of skin or you may accidentally lean on the open door. While you may be wearing gloves, you can’t necessarily provide complete protection for your arms or the rest of your body for that matter. So you can help to avoid any undue discomfort or risk simply by choosing a different cleaning solution. It sounds simple, and it is.
But again, returning to the subject of children, this danger is only going to be amplified with inquisitive hands in the vicinity. Eco-friendly products are better for everybody, including your appliances and the wider world. By still taking risks with caustic soda and similarly toxic materials, you are only likely to cause further damage without any significant benefits.
Thousands of people successfully clean their ovens without any issues every week. In the most part it’s a perfectly safe and reasonably straightforward task. However, it is easy to be complacent and this is when accidents can happen. So what do you need to be careful about?
Choose the right cleaning product
There are a number of oven cleaning products on offer; however, as with most things in life, some are significantly better than others. In this case, you need to be particularly careful with which one you choose. While some are eco-friendly solutions, others can contain caustic or come in an aerosol form. Now these are fine, but you have to be careful to apply them properly, otherwise you could end up damaging your skin or even the oven itself.
If you do accidentally get the cleaning product on your skin or even in your eyes, make sure you clean them immediately. This will hopefully ensure that there is no lasting damage; however, you should always be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and contact a doctor if pain persists.
Mind the door
One of the most frustrating and common causes of damage to an oven when cleaning is the accidental breaking of the window. While this is usually made from extremely resilient glass, with the door left wide open for a prolonged period of time it’s easy to lean on it or even drop an object on the exposed window. Either way, if that glass breaks then your oven is going to be out of commission until you can find a replacement.
Even more unfortunate is the fact that this is likely to set you back a fair amount, particularly if it’s not insured. So make sure you’re extra careful not to do anything silly when cleaning your oven. One slip and you could have to dig very deep to find a resolution.
Be careful with the interior
As alluded to earlier, some products are better than others; equally, there are plenty of oven cleaning solutions that are kinder to surfaces. If you have an enamelled interior then you need to make sure that this isn’t damaged in the process of cleaning off all that grime. So make sure that any product used carries the VEA symbol; this denotes that it has successfully passed the tests carried out by the Vitreous Enamel Association.
While it is recommended that you clean every inch of your oven, it is important that you take care if removing the fan cover. If you manage to damage this or any of the other components, it could render any warranty void and also cost you a fair amount to successfully resolve. Ovens may look and act as if they’re indestructible at times, but you still need to make sure that you take care when cleaning them.
Of course, if you want to avoid all of this hassle and heartache you can choose to use an oven cleaning service. Just make sure that they’re fully insured and only use VEA products like we do at Ovenu – just in case.
For any home owner or tenant, making sure you have a clean and nice smelling oven is incredibly important. Whatever your circumstances, at some point you’ll need to give your oven a thorough clean.
Whether that’s because it generally needs cleaning, you’re having guests come round for dinner, or you want to secure your deposit when leaving your rented accommodation; for whatever reason you’ll need to give your oven a deep clean.
Risky Cleaning Products
Most people will try a bit of DIY by going out and purchasing some oven cleaning products. Whilst this is a common way to ensure your kitchenware is sparkling clean, it isn’t always advisable, and this is because of the cleaning products used. For example, cleaning products purchased from the high street or used by certain oven cleaning companies can actually be quite risky and could cause more harm than good.
What is so risky about them? Well most popular oven cleaners use a particular chemical called caustic-soda (or sodium hydroxide), which is very hazardous to your own health as well as your oven. It can damage all of the trims and seals, as well as heating element. Not only does it affect the functionality of your oven, but aesthetically it can harm the chrome and surfaces.
Using these products yourself or hiring an oven cleaning company that uses these products can damage your oven over time. The oven door may not close properly because the seal has fallen off or eroded or the heating element may be affected, meaning your oven doesn’t heat properly. There are a number of reasons why using cleaning products containing caustic soda is hazardous, and in the end could be incredibly costly, especially if you have get repairs to your oven or worse, a total replacement.
Choose Caustic-Free Products
This is why it’s essential you check the cleaning products which are being used on your oven. You can even check with the oven cleaning service, or make sure that you purchase caustic –soda free products on the high street if you want to clean your oven yourself. However, considering that most cleaning products contain sodium hydroxide, this may be difficult. So what do you do?
It’s best to make sure that your oven is thoroughly cleaned using the right cleaning products by trained professionals. Enquire with your oven cleaning company first about the products they use, remembering to steer clear from those containing sodium hydroxide.
If you choose an oven cleaning company like Ovenu, for example, then you’ll ensure you’re getting the best, hygienic and environmentally friendly cleaning products. This is another key thing to consider, the effect the cleaning product has on the environment. Whilst some products and services aren’t concerned with their environmental impact, some cleaning services are. Using a bio-degradable, non-toxic and phosphate free cleaning product means you’ll get an effective clean which is as eco-friendly as possible.