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Cleaning crud     

Posted by Katherine Putnam on April 4th, 2012

“Come and roll your sleeves up so that we can pitch in, cleaning crud up in the kitchen as we sing along.”

And now for something completely different.

So you all know that I’m obsessed with Young House Love. You also know that I’m a bit enamored with cleaning and organizing. So when I stumbled upon this post of homemade cleaner recipes, you better believe that my interest was piqued.

I’ll admit that I wasn’t 100% comfortable experimenting with natural cleaners, mostly because a) I don’t know much about them and b) I’m lazy. Luckily the post was simple and easy to read (not to mention the folks at YHL are big on: doing their research, saving money, only recommending things they’ve tried and tested, and explaining things in crystal clear details). So I sent Chris out for a giant jug of vinegar and more baking soda than I could imagine needing and went to town.

I opted to start with just the baking soda and/or vinegar recipes as they felt more accessible to me (and I didn’t have to try too hard to acquire the ingredients). I tried the microwave cleaning recipe and enjoyed the results. Fortunately or unfortunately, our microwave was not very dirty to begin with, so that experiment didn’t lend itself to before and after pictures.

The Great Oven Cleaning Experiment, on the other hand, definitely made for distinct before and after pictures.

Let me stress that we live in an apartment. I am not sure how old this oven is. I am sure that we did little to nothing to contribute to the look it’s sporting in these before pictures:


Kind of gross, right? Who am I kidding? Majorly gross. How did it get to that point? What poor, alien creature did they allow to explode in there? And why, why did they just continue to bake its remains until they crusted?

So I rolled up my sleeves (metaphorically because I think I wore a tank top that day) and applied (randomly threw on) a liberal coating of baking soda and water (thanks, tiny spray bottle that came with our clipper set!) to the oven.


After making baking-soda-water paste as best I could, I let it sit for a half hour or so and then attacked it with a scrub brush. After that I used far too many paper towels trying to get rid of the (now) brown goopy mess that remained. Once I succeeded in the goo removal the oven looked something like this:

Not bad, but not as good as I expected. As our oven had an inordinate amount of grime crusted on its every surface, I figured the baking soda method deserved a second chance. I mean, if it removed a fair amount of goo on the first go, perhaps a second round would yield results beyond my wildest dreams.

So I threw on some more baking soda and water, and let it sit for even longer.

Even MORE vigorous scrubbing ensued and when the goo finally cleared I was left with this:



Isn’t it beautiful? The results defied my wildest dreams. Now, being a perfectionist, I’m slightly disappointed that there are a few stubborn spots that have yet to taste defeat at my mighty, baking soda covered hands. A few patches look like the coating (paint? the visible layer of that which we call “oven?”) has merely been scraped off. A few more are obviously still stained. I may try to tame them sometime in the future, but for now I’m content to look back at the before picture of the oven and then skip gleefully over to the kitchen to bask in the spoils of my victory.

I hope to continue my experiments with natural cleaners. I’m not sure how often I’ll post about it (if at all), mostly because I don’t currently have a project with the potential to yield such drastic results.

Anywho. Excuse me while I go look at the oven again.


Katherine Elyse

One Response to “Cleaning crud”     

  • aliza says:

    Ahh!Truly beautiful and I love the naturl part. Cleaning the refrigerator is also an amazingly satisfying project. It requires considerably less energy and product than the oven.
    Aunt Sherry

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