Keeping your oven clean is something you might want to do if you want to avoid the smelly self-cleaning function.
The dried up bits and pieces that stick to the walls of your oven should also be removed to avoid burn-off.
Those burnt, baked-on food bits can release carcinogens into to air as it continues to burn. As you breathe them in, you put yourself at risk of inhaling these toxic fumes.
In addition, commercial oven cleaners contain some of the most dangerous toxins that you can find.
So what to use instead?
Homemade oven cleaner!
Making your own oven cleaner is by far the safer solution. It’s cheap, works just as well if not better than commercial oven cleaners, and it’s easy to use.
Dangers of Commercial Oven Cleaners
Scrubbing oven residue is incredibly difficult, so it’s no wonder people opt for harsh commercial oven cleaners. They think the stronger, the better because they’ll remove all the grime with minimal effort.
But sacrificing a bit of elbow grease for a toxic chemical slew might not be the smartest option.
Any standard cleaning products, like air fresheners, are developed with hazardous chemicals that disrupt hormone, immune, and nervous system function.
However, according to Samara Geller, senior researcher for the Environmental Working Group, oven cleaners are “especially hazardous”. And it has to do with the ingredients used in oven cleaners.
“Those warnings [on the labels] give you a pretty strong indication that maybe there are some pretty serious chemicals in this product,” Geller said. “I might want to think twice about using it.”
Some warnings even go as far as recommending gloves and masks while using the product.
“These chemicals are very harsh and can be caustic and corrosive,” Geller said. “They can burn the skin and eyes, can blind, and can be corrosive to the respiratory tract. The vapors can irritate the lungs and can actually exacerbate or trigger an asthma attack. A lot of the chemicals used have been known to actually be capable of causing asthma.”
So what kind of chemicals in oven cleaners cause harm?
Butoxydiglycol is a solvent that is banned in the European Union at concentrations above 3 percent. It can irritate and inflame the lungs (2). Impurities associated with the chemical during processing, like 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide are known human carcinogens .
Diethanolamine (DEA) is a known human respiratory toxicant and labeled as a Group 2B Carcinogen by the World Health Organization (4). There is also potential developmental/reproductive toxicity. One animal study found that maternal exposure to DEA interferes with brain development, potentially altering memory function in offspring of mothers exposed to this ingredient .
Diethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether
Breathing in vapors of diethylene glycol mono butyl ether (DEGBE) while consuming alcohol can lead to liver and kidney problems. Possible adverse effects can also take place on blood and testicular tissue.
Ethanolamine is highly corrosive and can severely irritate the nose, throat, and lungs causing coughing, wheezing, and/or shortness of breath. This chemical may also damage the liver and kidneys and high exposure can negatively affect the nervous system (7).
Potassium hydroxide is particularly concerning, as not only does it irritate the lungs, but with higher exposure, it can cause a build-up of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) (8).
Sodium hydroxide is highly corrosive and can cause irritation to the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes, such as those lining the respiratory tract. Exposure to this chemical is particularly harmful to children. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, “Children exposed to the same levels of sodium hydroxide in the air as adults may receive a larger dose because they have greater lung surface area:body weight ratios and increased minute volumes:weight ratios. In addition, they may be exposed to higher levels than adults in the same location because of their short stature and the higher levels of sodium hydroxide in the air found nearer to the ground (9).”
So before you go purchasing that Easy-Off or Mr. Muscle oven and grill cleaner, keep in mind the harmful chemicals you may be exposing yourself to.
How to Make the Best Homemade Oven Cleaner
If you’re concerned about the health dangers of using commercial oven cleaners – don’t fret. You’ll soon learn how to make the best homemade oven cleaner around.
Many homemade oven cleaners often come with the addition of vinegar and baking soda together. You don’t want to do this, though, because the combination creates a reaction that cancels out the cleaning power of both ingredients.
If you’re going to use vinegar for cleaning the oven, use it as the final step. You can use the recipe below to scrub and get the grime off your oven, and then follow with vinegar to shine and de-grease. Then, wipe dry with a paper towel.
To make your own homemade oven cleaner, you’ll need the following:
- Glass bowl
- Scrub sponge
- Baking Soda
Remove the racks from your oven and clean them separately in your sink (you can do this by scrubbing them with baking soda).
Next, add your baking soda to the glass dish. Baking soda is a mildly abrasive cleaner that works great for removing the grime from ovens. It breaks up and removes caked-up particulate matter that get stuck to the oven surface without causing damage.
Then you’ll want to add your water to create a paste that you can easily spread over the surface of your oven.
Wait 20 minutes to one hour, and then wipe clean using a scrub sponge. Follow with a few spritz’s of vinegar and then dry with a paper towel to give it a nice shine.
Here is the recipe for how to make the best homemade oven cleaner:
The Best Homemade Oven Cleaner
- 3/4 cups baking soda
- 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp. water
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- In a glass bowl, add the baking soda and water to make a paste.
- Brush onto all surfaces of your oven until completely coated.
- Let sit for 20 minutes to one hour.
- Put on the gloves and using the scrub sponge, wipe clean.
- Follow with a few sprays of vinegar and wipe dry with a paper towel to leave your oven sparkling new.
How to Clean an Oven Quickly
Here are some oven cleaning tips to help you get the fastest (and best) results:
- Remove loose debris: wipe or vacuum up any loose food items from the bottom of the oven before applying your cleaner. This will loosen the dirt, making it easier to clean, and will also reduce the amount of time it takes for the cleaning action to work.
- Give the cleaner time to work: You’ll get better results if you let your baking soda mixture sit for a period of time before cleaning. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes to one hour before wiping to get rid of the built-up grime.
- Cleaning motion: the grime that builds up on your oven is quite literally baked on. So it will need a little bit of elbow grease to fully remove. Use a circular motion with your scrub brush to get rid of any spots that are particularly hard to remove.
- Finish off with vinegar: finish off the cleaning process with some vinegar spray and wipe off with a paper towel. This will also help get rid of any lingering spots that the baking soda didn’t quite remove. Your oven will look as good as new!
The Bottom Line
Commercial oven cleaners cause serious harm to the organs in our body. As a result, we’ll be left feeling sick, naseuous, dizzy and headache-prone after using such products.
To prevent the harms that commercial oven cleaners pose to our bodies, learning how to make your own homemade oven cleaner is highly recommended. Not only is it cheap and easy to make and use, but it works just as good if not better than standard oven cleaners.
Protect the health of you and your family by going chemical-free and cleaning your oven with two simple ingredients: baking soda and water.