There are few kitchen things nastier than an oven covered in gunk. Whether the caked-on goo is the result of the previous tenant, kids' experiments, or too many Pinterest fails, no one likes to clean the oven. Some of us would rather put up with the smoke detector going off every time we cook: "Oh, it'll burn off eventually," we say.
No, it won't. It actually must be cleaned. The problem is that chemical cleaners smell horrid and are bad for the environment, and self-cleaning ovens have been known to damage themselves during the self-cleaning process. So, unless you can hire someone to do it for you, you'll have to clean that oven yourself.
Fortunately, all it takes is baking soda and water. Really. Wendy Hanenburg of Awakening Willow demonstrates the technique in the video below. A liberal sprinkling of baking soda + water squirted from a bottle + overnight + wipedown with damp towel = clean oven. It really is as simple as that.
How is it possibly that simple? Sarah Aguirre, housekeeping expert at About.com, explains that dampening the baking soda with water makes a "thick, non-abrasive paste that absorbs odors and oils, all while gently scrubbing away burned-on food." Like Hanenburg, Aguirre advises letting the baking soda sit for a while to break up the baked-on bits.
What's your go-to kitchen-cleaning tip? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to share this article with your friends who have dirty ovens.