How to Clean Large Kitchen Appliances

Cleaning Ovens

There are many strong cleaning products designed to clean standard ovens. However, many oven cleaners are dangerous when they come in contact with your skin or eyes. Wear rubber gloves, and protect your eyes while cleaning. Don't breathe the spray mist or the fumes. Avoid dripping the cleaner on any surfaces other than those it is intended to clean. Carefully read and follow the manufacturer's instructions when you use a commercial oven cleaner.

When you clean a traditional oven, protect the heating elements, oven wiring, and thermostat from commercial oven cleaners with strips of aluminum foil.

Many stoves are equipped with self-cleaning or continuous-cleaning ovens. A self-cleaning oven uses a pyrolytic, or high heat, system to incinerate oven grime, creating a powdery ash. A continuous-cleaning, or catalytic, system eliminates small spatters through the porcelain-enamel finish on the oven liner, which absorbs and spreads soil to promote cleaning at normal temperature settings. Large spills must be wiped up; they will burn and may permanently stain the oven surface. Dust continuous-cleaning ovens weekly and self-cleaning ovens after the cleaning cycle, using the dusting attachment of your vacuum to remove dried food particles or ash.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions when using the cleaning cycle of a self-cleaning oven, and follow the manufacturer's recommendations to care for a continuous-cleaning oven. Neither kind of oven should be cleaned with commercial oven cleaners. Continuous-cleaning ovens should never be scrubbed with abrasives or powdered cleansers; these products will damage the surface.

Oven racks that have stubborn baked-on blackened areas can be cleaned by "steaming" off the soot with ammonia vapors. Just lay the racks on old towels in your bathtub. Fill the tub with warm water and 1/2 cup ammonia, and let it sit 1/2 hour. Be sure the bathroom is well ventilated. Rinse.

If a pie or similar sugary items boils over in your oven, sprinkle the sticky spill with salt. Let it sit until the spilled area become crisp, then lift off with a spatula when the oven cools.

When cleaning your oven, finish by wiping the entire surface with a sponge using a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water. This will help prevent grease buildup.

Now that we've warmed up by reading about how to clean an oven, let's move onto the cooler side of things -- refrigerators.

A Homemade Oven Cleaner
You can make your own oven cleaner if you follow these directions:
  • Pour 1 cup ammonia in a glass or ceramic bowl, place it in a cold oven, and allow it to sit in the closed oven overnight.
  • The next morning, pour the ammonia into a pail of warm water and use this solution and a sponge to wipe away the loosened soil. Caution: Wear rubber gloves whenever you work with an ammonia solution. The fumes are strong at first, but they soon dissipate.