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How to keep chemicals out of your oven

Oven cleaning chemicals – not good for you or the environment. Here’s how to ditch them.


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Planning on giving your home a spring-clean? Some jobs are worse than others.

Cleaning the oven is a chore that can be a real bore – both the time and effort of scrubbing, but also schlepping to the shops to buy specialist oven cleaning equipment.

And, of course, there’s the cost of buying all those cleaning chemicals. But did you know there’s an environmental cost too?

For example, some ingredients found in popular oven cleaners (like Diethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether and Monoethanolamine) are toxic to fish and other aquatic life. Many also contain Butane, a fossil fuel that can be damaging to the environment.

So, how can you help the planet and ditch the oven cleaning chemicals once and for all?

Switch the chemicals for a store cupboard staple

If you’re not ready for a whole new oven, this might help. Baking soda (or Sodium Bicarbonate) is a naturally occurring mineral that also has some real cleaning power. It’s not toxic or bad for the environment – otherwise we wouldn’t use it to bake!

  • Stir together 3 parts baking soda to one-part warm water. This should give you a thick paste.

  • Once you’ve done that, coat the inside of your oven with the paste (not the door or any bare metal spots).

  • Leave it overnight.

  • Use a plastic scraper to get rid of the paste.

  • Get in there with a damp cloth and use water to help budge any crusted bits of baking soda.

You might need to use some elbow grease doing it, but that method will get your oven clean with zero nasty chemicals.

Or you can try a simpler way…

Pick a pyrolytic oven

You can now find a whole load of ovens that are easy clean. This all but completely cuts out the need for harsh oven cleaner solutions. And there are plenty of different types of easy clean – enamel linings, catalytic liners, steam cleaning.

But our favourite? Pyrolytic ovens. These are the most powerful type of easy clean ovens around. No scrubbing. No chemicals. No faff.

Pyrolytic ovens have a dedicated cleaning setting that lasts several hours. During this cycle, the oven reaches about 500¡C. Any grease, bits of food and general grime are completely incinerated.

Now that level of heat may seem a little scary, but it’s totally safe. Pyrolytic ovens have extra insulation inside the oven and the door. Plus, the door is automatically locked during the cycle. So there’s no need to worry about any of that heat escaping and doing damage.

Once it’s done, you simply wait for the oven to cool, open it up and wipe away any ash with a damp cloth. Simple as that.

And they’ll save you money too. One cycle will cost you under £1 – definitely less than your average oven cleaner.

AEG BPS356020M Electric Oven - Stainless Steel

As well as pyrolytic cleaning, this oven also has a Hot Air convection system. What does that mean? The oven heats up faster – no waiting around for ages waiting to pop your food in the oven.

But it also means you can cook more efficiently at lower temperatures. So not only are you ditching the chemicals, you’re saving energy too. Result!

Hoover H-OVEN 300 HOC3E3858IN Electric Oven - Stainless Steel

All the benefits of pyrolytic cleaning? Check. Energy efficient? Check.

This Hoover oven’s got an energy rating of A. Perfect if you want to keep your bills and your environmental impact down.

Bosch Serie 4 HBS573BS0B Electric Oven - Stainless Steel

Once again, keep the chemicals away because this pyro oven’s genuinely self-cleaning – getting rid of the dirt faster than you can say ‘bish bash Bosch’.

As an added bonus, it has 3D Hotair. 3D Hotair distributes heat evenly through the oven, so it doesn’t matter if your food’s on the bottom or the top shelf – all of it gets the same level of crispy goodness. And that might save you some energy too – since you can cook all your food at the same time! If you'd like to find out more about this awesome ove, check out our in-depth article: Get cooking with the Bosch Serie 4 electric oven.

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