The global kitchen appliances market had an estimated value of US $237.3 billion (£163 billion) in 2019. By 2027, markets experts project that to grow by almost a third to reach $377.7 billion (£269 billion).
One of the primary reasons behind that forecasted growth is the rise in home renovations. In the UK alone, over 80% of new kitchen appliance purchases are for replacements. Ovens, in turn, account for many of these new purchases.
Whether you have a new or an older oven, it pays to know the best and safest oven cleaning techniques. For starters, proper oven maintenance can help lengthen the appliance's lifespan. Most importantly, it can prevent health and safety hazards.
That's right: dirty ovens can harbour microorganisms that can cause diseases. We'll cover everything you need to know about these germs and how to keep your oven free of them, so be sure to read on.
What Exactly Is Lurking in Your Oven?
Food is a vector of more than 200 known diseases that can affect humans and animals. These include Campylobacteriosis, Escherichia coli infection, and Salmonellosis, to name a few. They can cause symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, pain, and dehydration.
Those pathogens can spread from contaminated food onto surfaces, including your hands. From there, you can transfer the germs onto various parts of your oven, such as the handle, glass, and racks.
Granted, those pathogens die when exposed to a heat level of 70° Celsius. That's also the safe internal temperature standard for cooking meats.
However, that heat usually doesn't penetrate the external surfaces of your oven. As such, the germs that might have spread onto your oven's handles and outside glass surface may not die at all. If you touch these dirty oven parts, you can transfer the pathogens to your food.
In addition, accumulated oven grime and grease can impair the air cycle within the oven. This can then result in the uneven and incomplete cooking of your food. Those undercooked areas can still harbour disease-causing pathogens.
A Hiding Place for Pests and Vermin
Like dirty mattresses, carpets, and upholstery, an unclean oven can also attract pests. These include multi-legged critters, such as roaches, flies, and ants. Rodents, like rats and mice, can also make their way into filthy cooking appliances.
Experts even say that rats are so prevalent in the UK you're always near one just 50 metres away.
In any case, household pests are more than an annoyance, as they can also cause diseases. That's why cleaning your oven should be one of your primary priorities.
Dirty Ovens and Indoor Air Pollutants
The British Lung Foundation warns that cooking can generate two kinds of pollutants. These include particulate matter (PM) and dangerous gases. Chronic exposure to these can result in heart and lung problems.
PM consists of minuscule particles of dust and dirt that get released into the air. It's pretty much the same types of particle pollutants embedded in dirty carpets.
Harmful gases include carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and sulphur dioxide (SO2).
Dirty cooking equipment, including ovens, can produce even more of these air contaminants. For one, oven grease and grime build-up can burn as you use the appliance. This results in the production of combustion gases, such as CO, NOx, and SO2.
The burnt-up food residue can also disintegrate into tinier particles. These can then mix with the air and get suspended there until you breathe it in.
Filthy Ovens Can Trigger Kitchen Fires
In the UK, an estimated 7,000 people sustain injuries caused by kitchen fires each year. In turn, almost two in every three domestic fires result from cooking activities. Dirty ovens, hobs, and grills are a common cause of such incidents, as fats and food debris can be enough to spark a fire.
Top Oven Cleaning Techniques
The simplest way to keep your oven free of germs and hazards is to clean it after every use once it's cool enough. However, avoid using oven cleaning products containing chemicals like sodium hydroxide. If you clean your oven right away, you may only have to use warm, soapy water to get rid of grease, grime, and spills.
If you haven't cleaned your oven for a while now, here are some tactics to get rid of stubborn dirt or crusty build-up.
Baking Soda for Baked-On Grease and Grime
Fun fact: 100 tonnes of sodium bicarbonate went into the 1986 restoration of the US Statue of Liberty. This material allowed the restoration team to clean the statue without damaging it.
An even more fun fact: Sodium bicarbonate is likely in your cupboard, in the form of baking soda.
Baking soda is as safe an oven cleaning material as it is for consumption. It's mild enough to be safe for most materials, such as glass, chrome, aluminium, steel, copper, and rubber. However, it has a slight abrasiveness that makes it a gentle yet effective scrubber.
To whip up a DIY baking soda cleaning paste, mix two parts baking soda with one part warm water. Apply a thin layer of the paste over the internal surfaces of the oven, except the heating element. You can also use the same solution to clean your oven racks and window glass.
Allow the paste to sit for about 15 to 20 minutes before wiping it away with a clean, damp rag. You can extend the sitting time to about an hour for more stubborn grease and grime build-up. The baking soda will also help deodorise your oven.
Make Your Oven Shine and Sparkle With Diluted Vinegar
Distilled white vinegar consists of approximately 5% acetic acid. This ingredient is responsible for vinegar's sour odour and acidity. It's also this component that gives vinegar a mild antibacterial property.
Vinegar is acidic enough to break down hardened oven dirt and crusty food splatters. However, you should still dilute it in water so that it won't damage oven components. You can make your own vinegar spray by mixing equal parts of distilled white vinegar and water.
Simply spray the diluted vinegar onto oven walls and floors and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Wipe away the solution and the broken-down food debris with a clean, damp microfibre towel. This DIY solution also works wonders on stainless steel oven exteriors.
Please use white vinegar, as the coloured ones, like apple cider or red wine vinegar, can cause stains. Besides, coloured types of vinegar are more expensive, so it's best to reserve them for your meals.
Use a Biodegradable and Eco-Friendly Cleaner
Did you know that seaweeds are such impressive cleaners they can treat wastewater? Some seaweed species can even remove heavy metals from industrial wastes. What's more, they occur in nature, unlike many harmful commercial household cleaning chemicals.
Because of their cleaning properties, seaweed derivatives are now in eco-friendly oven cleaners. They can cut through grease and grime and leave your oven smelling clean and fresh.
Aside from being biodegradable, seaweed oven cleaners are also non-caustic. This means they won't harm your skin, making them safe to use even with bare hands.
Have Your Oven and Entire Kitchen Cleaned by Pros
The strategies above are often enough to get rid of caked-on food debris, grease, and grime. However, the thicker the layers of residue, the more difficult they may be to remove. This is usually what happens to ovens that don't receive any deep cleaning for months.
In that case, it's time to consider investing in professional oven cleaning services. You can even request the pros to clean your whole kitchen, or if you want, even your carpets and upholstery! So long as you hire the right folks, you can expect them to use eco-, child-, and pet-friendly cleaning solutions.
Another advantage of hiring professional oven cleaners is their insurance. If you go with DIY methods, there's always the risk of breaking something by accident. If this happens, you'd have to pay for oven repairs using your own money.
Whereas fully insured cleaners have proper coverage to protect the involved from liabilities. In the rare event that an accident occurs, their insurance will kick in to cover the damages.
Moreover, professional cleaners will clean every inch of your oven. To do this, they have to take apart your oven, which means removing fasteners like nuts and bolts. Once they finish the job, they will put back everything together, down to the smallest screw.
Plus, oven cleaning experts will also notify you about potential oven component issues. These include defects on pipes, seals, gaskets, and heating elements, among others. You can then use this knowledge to get your oven looked at, and if needed, fixed before the problem worsens.
Bring the Shine and Sparkle Back to Your Oven
As you can see, some of the best yet easiest oven cleaning techniques rely on pantry staples such as baking soda. This, as well as vinegar, can cut through minor to moderate oven dirt build-up. Don't forget seaweed-based cleaners, which are eco-friendly and safe.
Does your oven need more than DIY cleaning, or you don't have time to give it a deep clean? If so, then please know we here at A Cleaning Service can take care of it for you. Get in touch with us now to learn more about our professional oven cleaning services!