When it comes to the household chores, it’s the moment that many people dread – cleaning the oven. Yet for 20 years, this is something that we have not only specialised in, but thrived in too.
Ever wondered why you should bother having your oven cleaned by a professional when you can probably just do it yourself?
If so, then this article is for you, demonstrating the difference that having a trained Ovenu technician working on your oven makes, compared to a normal DIY household clean?
To showcase the two processes, we’ve enlisted the help of a member of our handy team, who’s taken on the responsibility of cleaning his oven using every day household products. We’ve also sent out one of our trusted technicians to numerous locations to show you just how deep a clean Ovenu can provide.
We’ll pit the two against each other and see who comes out on top with the cleanest oven.
Want to see the results? Read on to find out more.
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.
Despite its sturdier build and overall solidity, an AGA needs just as much attention and care as a conventional electric or gas oven. While some homeowners use them throughout the year for cooking, the AGA’s ability to heat a home means that it really comes into its own. So if yours has been inactive or only partially used these last six or seven months, now might be the time to get it in tip top condition once again.
Inside, most AGA ovens are constructed out of cast-iron. As such, they’re pretty tough – particularly when compared with many modern materials. However, newer models do tend to have enamel exteriors, which are easier to damage. If these surfaces are getting a little grubby, make sure that you don’t use bleaches or any other potentially harmful cleaning products. Treat it with care, or you could risk ruining the finish.
As with any oven, you should look to carry out regular cleaning and maintenance to avoid any potentially problematic build ups further down the line. The more care an attention you pay over the course of a year, including wiping up any spillages and giving the inside a bit of a scrub every now and then, the less you’ll need to worry about later.
As mentioned, don’t be afraid to really give the inside a good scraping, even using a wire brush if necessary. The AGA will be tough enough to take it, plus it allows you to get most of the accumulated dirt off without having to use potentially harmful chemicals.
If your AGA hasn’t been cleaned for a number of months or maybe even years, then it can be quite a tough job to get it back into shape. Again, you have to be extremely careful with how you actually go about it as there are some cleaners that can do more harm than good. Fortunately, as the individual doors can easily be detached, you should be able to get right into the belly of the oven and scrub away to your heart’s content. The location of the door and the extra care required around glass windows found on many modern electric ovens are immediately eliminated, making your task that little bit easier.
Of course there are new AGAs and then there are models that have been heating the same home and providing meals to families for decades. If you have a contemporary oven, then you would be advised to consult the manufacturer’s manual before charging in and scouring every surface. Once it has been damaged or chipped off, enamel is extremely difficult to repair and replace. For those older cookers, it’s reasonably safe to assume that most already have scrapes and a little discolouration, although this is not an excuse to neglect them further.
If your AGA needs to be cleaned before the cold winter months fully kick in, but you don’t have the time or confidence to do so yourself, look to choose a specialist cleaning service. We help hundreds of customers who find themselves in this very situation every year. A little expert help, even if it is only once a year, really can go a long way.
Whenever you share a house, whether with friends or strangers, there are always going to arguments. These will mainly revolve around unpaid bills, noise and, worst of all, cleaning. With a number of people using the same space, some of whom may not be the tidiest, cleanliness can prove to be a constant battle.
So if you’re a student heading off to university or a young professional sharing with others for the first time, what can you do to avoid those arguments and keep your kitchen spotless?
Well, it might well prove to be a losing battle, particularly if you are all in different routines and have your own habits. This is why it’s so important that you lay down some basic rules and create a rota for everybody to follow. As long as these are fair and balanced, you shouldn’t have any problems – or at least that’s how the theory goes. So what kind of rules might you impose, particularly with regards to the use of the oven?
Wipe up any mess
Whether you’re cooking on the hob or using the oven itself, you want to make sure that any spillages are dealt with as and when they occur. If they are allowed to remain there, untouched by all and sundry, then there’s a good chance that a small mess can become baked on and almost impossible to shift. So any entente cordiale that you draw up should certainly include a reference to cleaning as you go along.
Using the right cleaners
If you want to avoid damaging any enamel surfaces, then it’s important that you don’t end up using cleaning agents that could actually do more harm than good. Certain acids, particularly caustic acid, can be particularly harmful to both the user and the appliance. So always try to find bleaches and products that can be used safely without any potential side-effects.
Scheduling a Complete Oven Clean
Even if you manage to mop up most messes, there will still come a point at which you have to clean the oven completely. If you’re renting a property, the landlord may well stipulate that this is done immediately before you move out as part of your contractual agreement. Therefore you will have to decide amongst you who is going to buy the cleaning agents and who is going to roll up their sleeves and do the deed.
If you can’t reach an agreement, or if you just decide that nobody should have to do this job alone, you may want to consider bringing in professional cleaning contractors. We are often called by students and tenants, particularly when tenancy agreements are coming to an end, asking to get their oven back into shape. After all, it’s not a lot of fun cooking with an oven that is full of smoke, inefficient and emits an unpleasant odour that spreads through the home. Equally, nobody wants to lose any money on their deposit.
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?
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.
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.
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.
A lot of life’s little tasks become infinitely more difficult when you suffer from allergies or asthma. With respiration issues, you have to be extremely careful about the products you use and what tasks you’re able to do around the home. Oven cleaning is certainly no different.
If you’re planning to clean the oven yourself, then you’ll have to think carefully about the type of agent you’re going to use. For instance, there are plenty of shop-bought products that come in the form of aerosols. This kind of airborne application can trigger a number of allergies, making it difficult to breathe – let alone complete the job.
As a result, it’s incredibly important that you take the time to choose a cleaning product that is going to cause you the least irritation. Liquids are often preferable, simply because they don’t have the same form of chemical reaction, nor are they airborne. This means that they are far less likely to cause any form of reaction.
These eco-friendly solutions are equally effective and are readily available from stores and specialist providers. They are also safer for others in the home too. This is simply because they won’t generally include any form of corrosive elements, meaning that any contact with the skin or enamel surfaces shouldn’t be as damaging. Although, it is still important that you rinse the affected area thoroughly if it should come into contact with your hand or arm.
If you are particularly sensitive to cleaning chemicals then you may be advised to use a protective face mask when removing dirt from your oven. This will prevent any fumes from reaching your throat and nose. However, if you are particularly susceptible to allergies, it’s important that you choose a mask that provides the most effective protection. You can never be too careful, so don’t take any unnecessary risks.
Another solution of course is to choose a professional cleaning service. We regularly provide help to people who simply aren’t able to clean their oven effectively due to health reasons. Ovenu only every use eco-friendly products, so you won’t need to worry about damage to the oven or risk to yourself or children. It’s affordable, so you won’t have to break the balance, and you will always be assured of a comprehensive valeting service.
So the most important thing to remember if you have allergies is to take care and ensure that you have the right type of cleaning product. As mentioned, aerosols can be hazardous, even to those without any form of respiratory issues or medical conditions. Make sure your skin is protected, to avoid any contact and steer clear of irritation. If you have a mask for filtering out air particles, this would also be incredibly useful just to protect your face and lungs. Otherwise, if required, we’re always on hand to provide expert assistance.
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.
Can Cleaning Products Damage Ovens?
At Ovenu we take care to choose cleaning products that are both effective and safe, ensuring that each solution is fully tested so that it won’t damage the appliance or those who use it. However, this attention to detail is by no means universal, with a number of over the counter products still containing chemicals that may be harmful.
So what should you look for?
As you may have noticed, our products all come with a VEA symbol. This is provided by the Vitreous Enamel Association and indicates that they are safe to use on all enamel surfaces. Therefore, if you don’t wish to damage your oven, it is vital that you check any cleaning product you use – whether from a supermarket or a professional service – is accredited and holds a VEA badge.
Caustic soda is an ingredient that still appears in a number of solutions, but should generally be avoided. Due to the corrosive nature of the sodium hydroxide/sodium potash, it can easily damage your glass window and other surfaces within the oven if it is not applied or removed correctly. Again, this is another reason why we make sure that all products are genuinely caustic free, rather than making false claims to that effect.
How do they damage ovens?
Whenever you use chemicals, there will often be some form of reaction. Whilst this can obviously make it easy to get rid of grease and grime, if it is too strong it may be just as effective at removing the surface of whatever it is that you’re attempting to clean. So whilst you may think that the enamel is resilient enough to withstand any kind of product, you might be in for a bit of surprise if you happen to choose something that is corrosive – as mentioned above.
This can also lead to damage in other areas of the oven, requiring extensive and expensive repairs if it is particularly severe. If you are planning to clean it yourself, some chemicals can also be extremely irritable if they come into contact with your skin. So it’s important that you use gloves and cover your arms to avoid any accidents from happening. If you should get any oven cleaner on your skin or in a worst case scenario, your eyes, it’s important to clean the affected area immediately.
The advantages of using Ovenu
As we mentioned earlier, all of the products we use are fully tested and don’t contain chemicals that will do damage to your oven. In a worst case scenario where something goes wrong we are also fully insured, so none of the cost will be passed on to you. We believe that this attention to detail and focus on quality is what sets us apart from all others.
So whilst you may be happy doing the oven cleaning yourself, make sure that you check the label carefully for any potentially harmful chemicals and if you have a vitreous enamel surface, make sure the product is carrying a VEA badge. On the other hand, if you’d rather get some professional assistance, we’re always more than happy to help.