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Safe Oven Cleaning for the Holidays


Need to clean your oven before holiday season kicks into gear? Think again before reaching for a can of “heavy duty oven cleaner.” No doubt that stuff works fast on greasy baked-on grime, but unfortunately it can also work fast on your lungs! (Not to mention what it can do to the taste of your food cooked too soon after cleaning!)

Most oven cleaners contain sodium hydroxide (lye) which is extremely corrosive and causes lung and eye damage. Some cleaners also contain 2-butoxyethanol, a reproductive toxin, and monoethanolamine which has been linked to asthma. Not surprisingly, exposure to oven cleaners is a common reason for calls to poison control centers with over 2,500 calls a year nationwide. About 1 in 3 of those callers reported they needed medical care after their exposure!

What To Do Instead?

  • Plan ahead and clean your oven well before you need to use it.
  • Make a paste from ¾ cup baking soda, ¼ cup salt and ¼ cup water. Spread the paste in your oven and leave it overnight. In the morning, remove the paste and stuck-on grime with a spatula first, and then wipe clean with a wet sponge.
  • For any tough spots that remain, a little elbow grease and some steel wool can work wonders.

Your lungs will thank you and you can avoid serving your family “turkey a la cleaning fumes”!

Happy Holidays!