Chemical vs. Natural DIY Oven Cleaner

Lemons as Alternative Cleaning Agent

Our little old house is home to an ancient cooker with an oven that once told a seedy tale of fatty food and neglect suffered when the house was a bachelor pad. With the oven at the top of my grime crimes list, I charged in with a heavy clean, and the results were surprising:

Chemical Clean #Fail

In light of the state of the oven, I decided I wanted something chemical to do the job (does anyone even say that anymore?!).

I purchased an oven cleaning kit, containing a strong solution and plastic bag and carefully followed the instructions: place the racks inside the plastic bag, pour in the chemical solution and lay flat leaving it to soak for 4 hours. I paid particular attention to the fact that it could not be laid down on certain surfaces, such as laminate, so I opted to lay it out on the wooden kitchen floorboards. 4 hours later the grills came out sparkling! It was messier cleaning out the inside of the oven, though, as the product would drip from the top thus missing the opportunity to let it soak. The solution was strong enough to do the job though and scrubbing wasn’t needed.

Oven Cleaner Chemical Stains

My chest was puffed out like a proud mama when I saw how clean the oven was. The racks absolutely gleaned. The success was short-lived though, as much to my horror the chemicals had somehow leaked and transferred the instructions written on the plastic bag, onto my floors! Whilst the chemicals did do the job, they caused damage elsewhere in the process.

Finding and Testing a Natural Alternative

Following the permanent damage to my floor from the chemical cleaner, I googled natural DIY cleaning recipes and found that the common ingredients used are Vinegar, Bicarbonate of Soda (baking soda), and Lemon juice. So I decided to have a crack and incorporate all three:

DIY Cleaner Recipe Ingredients

How to Use it:

  1. Remove oven racks. Add water to the baking soda, a little at a time, until it has the consistency of a thick paste. If your oven is extra dirty, mix coarse salt into the paste.
  2. Spread the paste all over the inside of the oven, including the inside of the door. Lightly spray some vinegar over the paste coated oven, it should start to fizz. Leave it for at least four hours but preferably overnight.
  3. Place the oven racks in a bathtub or sink, fill with hot water and vinegar (a rough ratio of 1:1 is fine) plus a squeeze of lemon juice, making sure the racks are completely submerged. Soak for at least 4 hours but again preferably leave overnight.
  4. After soaking, you should be able to wipe the oven clean with a damp cloth or paper towel. Use a vinegar/lemon juice spray on any remaining tough residue.

Using this recipe and leaving it overnight, left my oven sparkling! No scrubbing was required at all, just a wipe down with a damp cloth. Most importantly there was no damage to floorboards this time and no toxicity!

Chemical vs. Natural, which one is best?

I think this depends on what you want to achieve and what is important to you. In terms of ease of use and results, the chemical cleaner most definitely does the job. If you aren’t worried about toxicity and you’re not as clumsy as I am, then this would be an effective option. The natural DIY version was a little more laborious and the stench of vinegar was intense, however if you are concerned about chemical cleaners damaging your health (or floors!) it is definitely the more suitable solution.

After considering my options, I decided that for ease of use I would rather buy a ready-made product than make one. I would be nervous using the chemicals again, but the DIY option seems a little long winded.

This is when I stumbled upon an alternative option: Green Cleaners. They are free from toxic chemicals, use natural plant based extracts such as eucalyptus to combat grime and are ready made products widely on sale…… Shut up and take my money.

Has anyone tried Green Cleaners? Let me know what you think.

Ferg x

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