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Common household remedies request

What's the lazy man's way to clean an oven? One that doesn't involve a lot of really bad chemicals?

I just ran across an old paperback: Phyllis Diller's Housekeeping Hints. Boy, was she ahead of her time!

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a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

Sprinkle all over, then spray with water from a spray bottle until well dampened (thin paste). Leave for a few hours. It really works.

Also, use one of those green Scotchbrite scrubber pads or the equivalent. They get everything off and do not scratch the surface. (You can also use them places the baking soda cannot go, and with more elbow grease.)

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

should stick... I've never had a dirty topside though. (From only cooking vegetarian food?)

Worse come to worst, you can scrub with steel wool or one of those steel scrubbers with a handle but it tends to erode the enamel.

Submitted by lambert on

And I want the lazy man's way!

Plus, I don't want to risk the enamel. This stove is 40 years old, and since they could build in those days, I'd like to keep it good for another 40.

Submitted by Elliott Lake on

To get it to stay damp longer and stay in place, maybe mix it with some liquid soap.

The Peg Bracken books were pretty good, too ;)

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

The standard extreme cure is lye (sodium hydroxide), a strong base. Baking soda is a somewhat weaker, but adequate to most situations, base. Adding vinegar would just neutralize it.

I've removed stubborn baked-on grot from pots with baking soda paste and time. You should physically scrape off as much as you can (respecting the surface) before treatment, but really, it's amazing. I was told of this first by a professional baker. And I was skeptical...

Dario's picture
Submitted by Dario on

Trisodium Phosphate might be just what you are looking for to clean an oven. TSP is strong enough to do the job if you need a cleaning agent that's stronger than baking soda. I recommend you wear gloves and maybe leave it on the oven surface for a few hours or overnight, wipe it clean with a mild water and vinegar solution. I can't tell you how much TSP powder per quart of water to use, because it depends on how dirty the oven is. I buy TSP in bulk from the hardware store. From the Wikipedia:


The major use for trisodium phosphate is in cleaning agents. The pH of a 1% solution is 12, and the solution is sufficiently alkaline to saponify grease and oils. In combination with surfactants, TSP is an excellent agent for cleaning everything from laundry to concrete driveways. This versatility, coupled with lack of toxicity and low manufacturing price, made TSP the preferred basis for a plethora of cleaning products sold in the mid-20th century. TSP is still sold, and used, as a cleaning agent, but during the late 1960s in the United States, overuse led to a series of ecological problems.

koan's picture
Submitted by koan on

ok for walls, not for food areas.

TSP is soda ash and phosphoric acid -- the TSP you are getting for cleaner is *not* likely to be a 'food grade' source of soda ash.

Better to stick with baking soda.

bungalowkitchens's picture
Submitted by bungalowkitchens on

I use Citra-solv- it's made from orange peels. Of course it makes the oven smell like oranges for a while, but I don't find that to be a bad thing.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

do you have one of those little bottle butane torches? (not the cute ones Emeril uses to crust over a flan. the ones a plumber uses to braze fittings.)

You can turn most of the crap in the oven to ash with one, which will then just brush out with a damp dishrag. You do need to PAY ATTENTION as you go, though.

You don't say if it's electric or gas. If you have a cast iron pan you trust,
you can fill same with water and put in a 500-degree-Fahrenheit oven for an hour or so. Open it carefully, and you should find the crud steamed loose.

You did ask for the lazy way.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

the ways my Mother showed me to do things still work.

I have used a similar method (pie pan 3/4 full of water) to steam out some of the nastiest microwaves in the known universe. This method makes all that burnt-on crud on the ceiling come loose.