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14 Green Kitchen Cleaning Tips


Again, another household cleaning product no-no is the aerosol oven cleaner. It's so strong that the product's instructions practically scream, "Open all windows and doors, spray the stuff into your oven, grab the children, and run for your lives!"

Let's take that as a clue that perhaps you should use something different.

Self-cleaning ovens are a miracle of modern science -- if you have the technology, good for you. However, if you don't have an oven equipped with that feature (or yours has just given up), try not to reach for the can of spray-on oven cleaner.

To clean an oven manually, sprinkle about a 1/4-inch layer of baking soda over the entire bottom of the oven. Use a clean spray bottle to wet the baking soda with water. Over the next few hours, spray the baking soda every so often­ to keep it moist. Then let the baking soda mixture sit overnight. In the morning, scrape and scoop the dried baking soda and grime out of the oven with a damp sponge. Rinse the residue off.

As with your kitchen sink, the best way to tackle interior oven cleaning is with preventative maintenance. Keeping up with the grease and grime a little bit at a time will mean you don't have to do a big cleaning event very often. After you've done a major cleaning, finish the job by using a sponge to wipe down the entire surface with a mixture of half vinegar and half water. This will help prevent grease buildup. Be sure to give the entire interior a wipe once each week with a sponge soaked in pure vinegar.

Another preventative trick is to cover the bottom of your oven with aluminum foil when you're baking something that may overflow -- a blueberry pie, say, or perhaps an overstuffed lasagna. If something does accidentally spill inside and onto the unprotected bottom of the oven, as soon as it is safely possible (make sure the oven isn't hot!), cover the mess with salt and let it stand. It should become hard and crisp enough for you to lift off the surface of the cold oven with a plastic spatula or some other item that won't scratch the interior.

If you have vents above your oven, you should be checking them about every six months for grease buildup. To clean, wipe the vents with a sponge soaked in pure vinegar. Use an old toothbrush dipped in vinegar to get at the grime that may have built up in small crevices or other hard-to-reach places. If the filter is metal and removable, give it a soak in a vinegar solution.

Now that you've tackled some of the hardest jobs in your home, let's take a greener look at some more everyday kitchen cleanups.