Valentine’s Day: Go Out or Stay In? Infographic

Valentine's Day Heart

 

Ah, Valentine’s Day: the time of year when couples publically display their love for each other and bouquets of roses are delivered to the office, inadvertently competing with other bunches of flowers that are also left at reception.

We love our new Valentine’s themed infographic helping us make the decision between heading out or staying in. What are you doing this Valentine’s Day?

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Dirty Oven

You might be surprised at how popular a question this is, but in a lot of cases, people who have experienced problems with their oven often put it down to wear and tear. In reality, a rigorous clean can help resolve a number of issues and save you a fortune compared to forking out for a new model.

The problem is a lot of homeowners are unable to distinguish between complications caused by a build-up of grit and grime, clogging up vital internal components. Although this isn’t always the case, it’s always good to try a thorough clean before committing to a new purchase.

With this in mind, we thought we’d help you to identify and troubleshoot a few common issues that a dirty oven can cause. (more…)

Dirty Oven

Now we all know that cleaning the oven is perhaps the worst out of all of the household chores. We frantically do our best to clean the specks of dirt that we, and our visitors, can see on an everyday basis, often ignoring important equipment like the microwave or stove. But did you know that there are a number of dangers and risks associated with neglecting a dirty cooker?

Take a look below at some of the problems an unclean oven can cause, whether you’re a homeowner or you run a business. (more…)

File:Dirty dishes.jpgCooking can be hard, there’s no two ways about it. You can slave away for hours in the kitchen only for your end result to often come out looking nothing like the picture on the recipe. Regardless of how the food looks, the most important thing is that it tastes delicious; which is why, when it comes to cooking, you’ll need your kitchen to be as clean and organised as possible. As hard as cooking can be, it’s even harder with a dirty kitchen, and unclean fixtures. (more…)

When you buy anything brand new, it’s important to keep it in decent condition so that you can get full use out of it. The same logic applies to your new oven too. While some people might not be bothered about the build-up of grease and grime, it’s better to take care of your oven in order to get optimum efficiency every time you use it. A high percentage of dirt will only reduce its power and slow down cooking times too.

If it’s a case of out with the old and in with the new for your oven, then you may need a little advice on how to maintain it in its current condition. Although you may take the view that this is a boring chore, it’s going to save you money and stress in the long run, as your oven will last. As a result, here are five cleaning tips to help you get by.

1) Look Out for Harmful Products
If you thought that cleaning your oven was as easy as picking up any type of product and getting started, you’d be wrong. To keep your oven in the best condition, you should use products which don’t contain caustic soda. The reason for this is because this chemical can cause your skin damage, as well as alter the appearance of your oven too. The best product will be able to eradicate tough stains and grime and also keep your oven gleaming.

With different materials being used for each oven, from chrome and steel, to glass and enamel, it’s best to use a product which displays the Vitreous Enamel Association badge. This means that it has been checked independently and is safe to use.

2) Use the Best Materials
Cleaning products aren’t the only thing you need to keep an eye out for, as you also need to choose the best materials. Brushes and scourers can scratch the surface of your oven and strip away the paintwork and natural finish. This won’t be as much of an issue with older ovens, but seeing as your new oven will be in a better condition, you should aim to maintain its look.

Instead, cloths, sponges and brushes without hard bristles should be used. These won’t damage the oven interior and will keep all surfaces shinning after a thorough clean too. You may need to put in a little more elbow work during the cleaning phase, but you’ll end up with an oven free of scratches and noticeable marks as a result.

3) Clean your Oven on a Regular Basis
It’s a pretty simple piece of advice, but the more often you clean your oven, the less work you will have to do later on. This will obviously depend on how often you use your oven, but as a rough guide, once a week should suffice. If you only get the sponge and spray out once every three months then there will be more deposits and stains, which will take a lot longer to remove.

Even with a powerful solution, busting through food remains that have had this long to stick around will be a challenge. Cleaning on a regular basis will certainly save you the job of having to tackle months of built-up food stains.

4) Call In the Professionals
After a fair amount of usage, if your oven is proving to be a little difficult to clean, then why not call in the professionals? Cleaning the oven isn’t the only household chore you will have to do, so to give you a break and to get a professional looking finish, we can help to get your oven looking as good as new.

From time to time it’s worth making sure that all of those hard to reach areas are cleaned properly and any small pieces of food are removed too. At Ovenu, we will clean the whole oven, including the shelves, the door and the hinges, restoring your recently purchased oven back to its original state.

5) Remove the Shelves First
To make your job easier, don’t forget to remove the shelves where possible. This allows you to reach right inside of the oven and clean the walls and the shelves separately. Keeping the shelves in the oven will only restrict your movement and means that food which has been lodged in between the wall and the side of the shelves will be missed.

It won’t take long for your new oven to gather dirt, grime and food stains if it’s not treated regularly. Therefore, following these easy-to-remember cleaning tips will give you better tasting food and an oven that sparkles all year round.

This is almost on a par with ‘how long is a ball of string?’ After all, there are so many contributory factors that can affect an oven and the frequency with which it needs to be valeted. For instance, a cooker in a busy canteen is likely to be used with far greater regularity than one found in the average home. A great deal will also often depend on the kind of meals you’re preparing; roasting a belly of pork with fat spitting all over the place will probably hasten your need more than a slow cooked casserole.

 

So, in short, there is no definitive answer to the exact length of time that you can wait until cleaning your oven; however, there are plenty of things that you can use to guide your decision.

 

Visible Build Up

If you get to a stage where you can actually see the dirt and grime building up within your oven, it’s safe to say that it probably needs to be cleaned. As you’re probably already well aware, heating up fat can lead to instant combustion, as well as other unpleasant side effects. Therefore as soon as you notice that it’s looking a little bit grimy in the oven, you should start thinking about taking action.

 

Billowing Black Smoke

If you’re afraid to open the oven door when it’s in use purely because you know there’s going to be a waft of putrid smoke coming from within, then it’s probably a good time to do something about it.  Remember, if there is smoke coming out of your oven on a regular basis, and you haven’t burnt your meal, then there’s a good chance that there is dirt inside causing this reaction. Remember, this won’t just affect how your food tastes, but it can even be dangerous.

 

You Can’t Remember the Last Time

While hardly scientific, if you are struggling to recall the last time that you cleaned your oven, then there’s a fair chance that it is overdue a spruce up. Even if there are no tell-tale signs, there’s no harm in taking the time to clean it. After all, even if you can’t see grime or smell smoke, it could still be affecting the inner workings of the appliance; meaning that it takes longer to heat up or can never achieve the optimal temperature.

 

It’s certainly advisable that you take pre-emptive action, rather than waiting for your oven to become clogged up and inefficient. So the best advice is to simply keep an eye on how it performs and whether there is any grease building up. Even if you do give it a regular wipe down after cooking, it’s still important that you take the time to give it a thorough clean every now and then. This could be every six months or even just on an annual basis, only you can decide when it’s time – just don’t leave it too long.

 

Sometimes we will do anything to save a few pounds. Whether it’s buying cheaper products in the supermarket or hiring a friend of a friend to carry out building work on your home; if there is a way of cutting costs, it’s difficult to say ‘no’.

 

Unfortunately, sometimes things don’t quite work out as planned. Maybe those low price beans are inedible or your friend’s friend accidentally puts his sledge hammer through the water mains. This kind of false economy happens all the time, and while it may all be a learning experience, sometimes it can be a painful one. So how might this translate to cleaning your own oven?

 

Poor results

 

DIY projects may provide a sense of enormous satisfaction when successfully completed; however, when the results don’t quite match your expectations, it can be more than a little disappointing. This is certainly true of oven cleaning.

 

You can spend hours getting the cleaning products, applying it to every inch of your oven, putting the trays on convenient bags only to then find that something has been missed or that not all the grease and grime has been removed. Then you’re faced with the prospect of trying again or just making do with a half clean oven; neither of which are likely to be particularly popular.

 

Damage caused

 

As with the earlier building analogy, there is always the chance that something may go wrong during the process. Whether you manage to crack the window or scrape off half of the enamel interior, any mistakes can be costly. Replacing a window, or even the whole door, may leave a severe dent in your monthly budget; if parts are particularly hard to find, you might even have to consider a new oven.

 

So you have to be careful. This means buying non-harmful cleaners and taking care when the oven door is open.

 

Personal injury

 

There are some cleaning agents that are relatively safe to use and unlikely to cause any damage; however, there are also those that are much more harmful. As a general rule, you should be wary of any product that includes caustic soda. This is can cause extreme irritation if it comes into contact with skin and can also wear away enamel.

 

It’s important that you cover up and take all necessary precautions, this may include wearing a long-sleeved tops and even goggles if you’re cleaning the roof of the oven. If the cleaner comes in contact with any part of your body, be sure to rinse it thoroughly as soon as possible.

 

Expense of buying products

 

While some may be concerned about hiring a professional cleaning service due to cost alone, you do have to factor in the price of buying the oven cleaner as well as any other equipment (sponges, scourers, gloves and goggles if necessary). It may still be cheaper, but that isn’t to say that it will be as cost-efficient as you first thought – particularly if you need to do it all over again shortly afterwards.

 

Of course it is always best to make sure that you clean your oven regularly. If grime is allowed to build up it can impair functionality and even cause a fire risk; so however you choose to do it, don’t hold back on oven cleaning.

Household fires can be absolutely devastating, particularly if they aren’t contained or dealt with swiftly. Unsurprisingly, one of the most common places for a blaze to begin is in the kitchen. With naked flames from gas hobs and 200 degree heat being produced by the oven, there is massive potential for accidents to happen.

When it comes to oven fires, there are a number of key contributing factors that could act as a trigger. These include the following:

Technical malfunctions

Due to the extreme heat within an oven, malfunctions are an ongoing risk. There isn’t a great deal that you can do to avoid any such issues, except to ensure that the appliance is serviced regularly or to report any potential issues that you spot – including erratic temperature variations or small flames and sparks.

Cleanliness

Of all the potential causes of an oven fire, this is perhaps the most avoidable. There really is no excuse for allowing your cooker to get to a state where it is so full of oil and greasy deposits that it is actually deemed unsafe to use. However, it does happen.

Every year thousands of fires are triggered by the residue of past meals. This is why it is so important that you take the time to clean your oven or choose an oven valeting service to do the work for you. Not having enough time really is no excuse for causing needless danger to yourself or your family; a few hours is all it takes to clean your oven and prevent a minor issue developing into something more serious.

Forgetfulness

Unfortunately a lapse of concentration can be critical, especially if you’ve left something in the oven. At best you might get away with blackening your shoulder of lamb or reducing your beef joint to inedible charcoal, at worst though it could mean a fire ripping through your kitchen.  Again, it’s not something you can necessarily guard against; after all it can be easy to get distracted by children, phone calls and everything else that goes on in the modern home. The only advice would be to always take care to double check, even when you’ve finished cooking that there are no issues.

What happens if you notice flames?

Whilst prevention is always better than cure, if you look through the oven door and notice that there are flames (or larger flames than usual in the case of a gas oven), switch off the oven and allow it to cool down. Don’t open the door, as this may only serve to add oxygen to the flames and could cause you to get burnt.

You should never attempt to tackle fires yourself unless you have been trained to do so effectively. Therefore, before you do anything else, assuming the fire hasn’t subsided, make sure you call the emergency services and request assistance.

The biggest lesson here is to always keep an eye out for technical issues, never forget that the oven is on and make sure that it is kept clean. A build up of grease and other materials isn’t just unsightly, it can also be dangerous too. So don’t take your health and safety for granted, make sure you clean your oven regularly and thoroughly.

We receive queries from people throughout the country every day. Some are homeowners or tenants, others own businesses, but all of them are looking for the same thing: a spotless oven. So why are oven cleaning services so popular and who really uses them?

Let’s be honest, nobody particularly likes having to clean their oven, especially when they’ve left it a while. It can be a messy, time-consuming process, but one that is often driven by absolute necessity. After all, it’s pretty difficult to ignore an oven that’s in need of a good scrub; all your meals are nicely smoked and it’s impossible to peer through the window.

Time constraints are another key reason why many customers choose to use our services rather than doing it themselves. As we’ve just mentioned, it can take a number of hours to clean an oven properly. This is time that some people simply don’t have. Therefore, rather than letting their cooker waste away under a growing layer of grime, they choose to get an expert to do the job. Their time is saved, the job gets done to a higher standard – it’s that simple.

Then of course there are those that are contractually obliged to have all appliances cleaned by a certified company. Many landlords provide such stipulations, meaning that we get a lot of calls for tenants coming to the end of their agreement. With the threat of losing a portion of their deposit for not cleaning the oven before vacating the premises, most are keen to bite the bullet and get it done.

We also work with a number of businesses and educational establishments. Home economic departments need to be kept clean at all times for obvious reasons; and with lengthy dormant periods, particularly through the summer months, it’s important that ovens are spotless when students return.

Of course not all oven cleaning services are as professional as others. Whilst we have people working throughout the company, running their own franchises, we always ensure that they adhere to the strictest codes and only use products that we’ve tested and recommended. Each one is also fully insured, so that any damage caused will be covered. Equally, they are all trained to our exacting standards, meaning that customers will get the same standard of service wherever they live.

For most of our clients, oven cleaning is all about convenience. They want a professional job in eliminating tough stains and bad odours from their cooker. As mentioned though, for some it is about necessity. Whether the oven needs to be bought up to code for hygiene reasons or as a result of ending a tenancy, cleaning services offer a great way of getting this done in a cost-effective and timely manner. Whatever your reasons and wherever you might be, we’re always happy to help.

With most people using their oven on a daily basis, making sure they’re kept nice and clean can go a long way to ensuring good hygiene, whilst also avoiding a number of unpleasant side effects. An oven that’s cleaned regularly is more likely to maintain optimal functionality, helping it to last longer, and importantly, save you money in the long run.

Whilst this knowledge may be at the forefront of most homeowners’ minds, some may not be able to identify all the tell-tale signs that your oven is in need of a good clean. So, to give you a better idea of what you should look out for when it comes to the oven in your home, here are six clear indications that it’s time to book in a professional clean.

Loss of Heat or Functionality

Have you noticed that your oven is taking longer to warm up, or is it struggling to reach its maximum temperature? Although there’s a chance this could indicate a fundamental issue with your appliance, it’s also likely that a build up of grease and grime has penetrated your oven’s working parts. This can also pose a serious health risk, as lack of functionality can lead to illnesses, such as food poisoning, as your oven isn’t able to cook items properly.

However, before you decide to throw out your oven and buy a newer model, take a good look inside and see how dirty it is – the chances are, if your oven has perhaps been a little neglected, all it needs is a good, old-fashioned clean. This may unblock certain issues and leave you with an appliance that not just works just like new but will look pretty good as well.

Dark Smoke

Another sign that it’s time to clean your oven is the arrival of dark smoke. Spillages are an unfortunate by-product of cooking, and fat can spit all over the inside of your oven too, creating a near invisible layer of grease. This leftover grease will then start to cook each time you use your oven, which can cause unpleasant odours and welcomes the arrival of dark smoke when you open your oven door.

It’s really easy for this grease to build up without being noticed, so if your appliance has started greeting you with a wall of smoke, it’s time for a clean.

Changes in Taste

If your food is starting to taste a little different to what you’d expect – perhaps it’s smokier or simply unpleasant, it’s likely that abandoned food spillages inside the oven are the culprit.

When spilt food isn’t removed from the oven and it burns, carbon particles are released which affect the flavour of the fresh food you’re cooking. An unsavoury taste is most noticeable in baked goods such as breads and cakes, but generally indicates that your oven is in need of a proper clean.

If You Don’t Remember When It Was Last Cleaned

This may seem like an obvious one, but when you’re going about your daily routine, months can whiz by in a flash. We recommend taking a minute to have a think about when you last cleaned your oven personally, or had a professional in. If it’s been longer than 6 months or you simply can’t remember, the chances are your oven would benefit from a bit (or a lot) of TLC.

Unpleasant Smells

Another issue that you may encounter as a result of this accumulated detritus is a rather unpleasant smell. Once it builds up and is then heated repeatedly, it can cause an odour to be emitted, which can make the kitchen a no-go zone. It does usually take some time before this becomes an issue, but you should still keep an eye on things, or, more accurately, a nose.

These odours can be a sign of bacteria building up, particularly if the oven goes unused for a significant period of time. So, in order to keep your oven in a hygienic state, it’s worth making sure that your oven is cleaned, with all grime removed from the surfaces.

Visible Grime

This brings us nicely on to the final sign, which is when you can actually see the accumulation of dirt. Perhaps you can’t see your food cooking through the grimy window or you start to notice small mounds of detritus at the bottom of the oven, one thing’s for sure, as soon as a few spillages turn into a major pile-up, it’s time to take action.

So, whether you’re familiar with one or a few of these signs or simply want to give your oven a spruce up, we’re on hand to help. If you’ve left your oven cleaning for a while, we recommend doing it as soon as possible. Even if you don’t have the time to take care of it personally, you can always choose a professional cleaning service such as the one we offer here at Ovenu.