February in Casa Dirty Boots is ‘waste less food‘ and ‘spring clean‘ month. I’ve kept the ‘spring clean stuff’ a secret so far as the house really was a trifle messy for public view!
I’m not one of nature’s domestic goddesses but every now and again I enjoy a big clean up and as its spring (sort of) I’m on a mission to make this place sparkle.
A great way of incorporating a massive clean-up operation into daily life is to pick a month (you guessed it, mine is February) or indeed a week in which to zap the grime. Then, and this is the clever bit, tell yourself to do at least one additional housekeeping chore a day.
It really works. I don’t feel under pressure to spring clean the whole house as I’m gradually doing it without too much impact on my time. Fridge one day, dog kennel the next, the system is really working well.
As you can probably guess from this post’s title, this week one of my ‘deep thorough cleaning’ jobs was to tackle the oven. And, it dawned on me, how do you clean your oven?
In my old life I used a hideous squirty foam which smelt horrendous, made my eyes water but worked on even the most charcoal encrusted oven. Now I clean with vinegar, bicarb (baking soda), soft soap and elbow grease. It dosn”t take much longer than our old chemicals would have done, but I do have to take a more active roll in the process!
Cleaning with vinegar and baking soda is not a self sufficient way to clean an oven, but it is effective and much cheaper than commercial cleaners. Reducing bills is one of the first steps towards sustainable living. The less we need to spend, the more we can survive on what we produce.
Of course many people will ditch the chemical cleaners in a bid to be more environmentally friendly and I admit that is a factor for us. Probably the initial motivator was just how unsafe commercial cleaners feel. It always unnerved me how awful and dangerous they smelt.
Whether you want to minimise your use of chemical cleaners for green, safety or frugal reasons there is one investment I suggest you make, and that is a book on eco cleaning. Mrs Beaton’s books on housekeeping are great for specific stain removal tips and so on. But I also found ‘Clean House Clean Planet‘ really helpful in getting me started on the journey of ‘chemical free cleaning’.
How I Clean My Oven
So back to the thread:
- I cleaned ours by sprinkling bicarb (baking soda) on the really dirty bits and squirting white wine vinegar on top. In the UK I’d use distilled malt vinegar but here white wine vinegar is much cheaper. The vinegar/bicarb mix sizzles and bubbles as it gets to work lifting the grime. This is very satisfying and makes the mix feel like its working.
- Once the bubbling is done it’s a matter of scraping the now softened goo off the base of the oven with something durable but non-abrasive. I find a wooden spatula works a treat.
- Once the really dirty area at the bottom of the oven has been dealt with I use a little bicarb and a squirt of soft soap to clean up the rest of the oven interior. Old tea-towels are my cloth of choice for this as the additional oven rub-down gets cloths so dirty. They can then go into the washing machine after a quick soak in fresh water and bicarb.
- The window gets a squirt of soft soap, a dab of bicarb and a rub over with a stainless steel non-abrasive scourer (which last for years for this type of job) then a micro-fibre cloth and water to bring up the sparkle factor.
- If you’ve got any soap residue left a squirt of vinegar and a wipe will neutralise it for you.
There – job done, cleaner oven no nasty chemical smells and a minor bicep workout into the bargain!
Please don’t think badly of us, we don’t only clean the oven in February. But February is time for us to really clean the whole house. And that includes the oven. Oh and MrDB does do cleaning too – he’s a dab hand with a duster. It’s just I get to have a system for cleaning and write about it!
Let me know how you deal with the spring cleaning regime? Do you clean with vinegar and baking soda too?
For a more self sufficient future