For Those of Us Who Don’t Have Self-Cleaning Ovens..

A few nights ago, Beard and I made some homemade pizza.  It came out pretty tasty, but the baking process was less than pleasant.  Since we moved into our house, I’ve never cleaned the oven.  I’m not sure if the people who lived here before us cleaned the oven either because they weren’t here very long.  So I can safely assume that the reason our oven smoked and stank like death was because it hadn’t been cleaned in over two years.  Until this morning, that is.

For this job I rounded up my favorite cleaning products:  baking soda and distilled vinegar.  Consequently these two ingredients also make a nifty “volcano”. 😉

(I’m also very glad I threw the washcloth in this picture, because I was able to take a shot of that after cleaning.)

Here is what my oven looked like before I started:

Lovely, isn’t it?  There was also a chunk of charred stuff on the bottom that I couldn’t photograph properly, but I’m pretty sure that is what was causing my smoking, smelly mess.

To get started, I poured some straight vinegar in the spray bottle and sprayed the whole oven generously.  Then I grabbed a mug and sprinkled my baking soda over as much of the oven as I could.  Again, this was a generous sprinkling.  The baking soda and vinegar fizzled and made crazy bubbles, so I left it for about a half an hour to work it’s magic.

This is how it looked after that half hour:

The fizzing settled down, and the vinegar was able to loosen up some of the grimey stuff in my oven.

I filled a clean bucket part way with hot water and used my washcloth to scrub out as much nastiness as I could.  The baking soda really helped to scrape off some of the baked on stuff without scratching the surface of my oven.

This was my finished product:

Admittedly this is not perfectly clean, but in comparison to what it looked like before, this is beautiful!

But the easiest way for me to tell how much gunk I got out of my oven:

And that was my third bucket of water for this job!



The Best Kitchen Cleaner I’ve Ever Used

Do you ever find yourself wondering whether or not your refrigerator handles used to be white?  That happened to me this morning.  They appeared to be a lovely cream shade, and I thought to myself, “Self, weren’t these a different color a few weeks ago?”.  That, my friends, is how I know it’s time to bring out my secret weapon.  

Let’s just admit it:  no matter how much of a neat freak you are and no matter how clean you think you are in your kitchen, your counters, large appliances, and cabinets get just plain gross in a short period of time.  I think it’s all the cooking and eating that goes on in there.  

Anyway, a few months back when my mom was visiting, she showed me a great, cheap cleaner to use on my whole kitchen.  It doesn’t require any fancy-pants blending or measuring or anything, just a big ol’ bucket or your very own kitchen sink.

Kitchen Cleaner

About 1/4 – 1/2 cup Borax

About 1/4 – 1/2 cup distilled vinegar

About 1 -2 quarts of warm water

Mix the three ingredients in your bucket or sink.  


Yes, that is it.  I use a washcloth, but you could also use a sponge with this cleaner. You can literally wipe everything in your kitchen down with this cleaner; it isn’t too abrasive for kitchen surfaces.  I even use it to clean Bitsy Girl’s wooden high chair.

This cleaner makes sense to me when I break it down:  vinegar disinfects and dissolves most food goo, and Borax, well that’s just plain awesome.  It even says on the box that it has 20 mule team power.  Who can beat that?