Four ‘damaging’ oven cleaning mistakes to ‘avoid’ – causes ‘fire risk’

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The oven is probably one of the most used appliances in your home, cooking your family’s weekday dinners or whipping up a fabulous feast for guests. Regardless of the frequency of use, your oven deserves a deep cleaning at least once a month for longevity and to maintain proper daily operation. Fortunately, two cleaning experts have spoken exclusively to to share a few mistakes households should avoid when cleaning their oven.

1. Using tinfoil on the bottom of your oven

While the convenience aspect of putting tin foil at the bottom of the oven may make it seem like a good idea, it can actually be “damaging” according to experts.

Laura Mountford, also known as @lauracleanaholic on Instagram explained: “While this might sound like a great way to collect any grease and debris, placing foil at the bottom of your oven can be damaging to the heat element due to the heat reflecting off of the foil.”

Karl Huckerby, a cleaning expert from Spare And Square, agreed: “Many people use tinfoil at the bottom of the oven to ‘catch spills’ and prevent dirt from reaching the oven’s lower surface. The idea is that you then remove the tin foil after cooking, and therefore don’t have to clean the oven as rigorously.

“However, this can actually do more harm than good, as the tin foil has a reflective surface that blocks and reflects heat, which can lead to undercooked and unsafe food.

“As well as this, the foil is likely to melt, leaving melted foil all over the bottom of the oven that is almost impossible to get rid of (without the rigorous cleaning you’re trying to avoid in the first place!).”

Instead the expert advised: “If you’d still rather use a protective layer to prevent spills and drips from dirtying your oven, there are trays designed for this exact purpose which don’t cause any damage to your oven like tin foil does.”

Laura noted that a “fantastic alternative” is to use a silicone oven liner which is heat resistant, non-stick, reusable and makes cleaning “so much easier”.

2. Not cleaning the oven as often

According to Laura, the “biggest mistake” that people make is not cleaning the oven regularly enough and this “makes the job even worse”.

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She said: “If we clean our ovens little and often it won’t be such a daunting task, it will keep the oven working efficiently and even avoid a potential fire risk.”

Karl also agreed that this is the main issue when it comes to oven cleaning. He said: “This is a major problem as it causes a great build up of dirt that is incredibly hard to get rid of when the time finally comes to clean it.

“I recommend cleaning your oven once every two months to get rid of grease and build up, and always make sure to take each rack and tray out and wash them separately.

“Use an oven cleaner as well as a special hob cleaner to make sure that you don’t use the wrong chemicals and cleaning products.”

3. Not soaking and cleaning the racks

Your oven is a major kitchen appliance that comes with removable racks. There are so many convenient and time saving ways to clean the oven itself, but are you giving the racks the attention they deserve?

Food residue tends to break down the protective coating on racks, leading to exposed rust that could start a fire, according to Laura.

She said: “The oven racks get particularly greasy with burnt on food and should always be removed when cleaning it. Neglecting the racks can cause them to rust which could create a potential fire risk.”

Karl highlighted the importance of removing any areas of rust, not only on racks but in the entire oven. He said: “Rust in the oven is a big problem – not only because it can damage the trays you use, but because rust is more likely to catch fire.

“When you’re doing your regular oven clean, always check for rust patches and immediately use a scouring tool with a mixture of warm water and baking soda to clean away at it.

“It’s normal to get rust due to the excessive amounts of heat in the oven, however an oven with too much rust can be dangerous.”

4. Not ventilating the area 

Some oven cleaners can be quite strong so ensuring that the kitchen is well ventilated by opening windows and doors when cleaning your oven is “essential”, Claimed Laura. She added: “It is also best to keep children and pets away from the area when it is being cleaned.

“If you are lucky enough to have a self cleaning oven then using cleaning products on it can actually damage the enamel coating so it is always best to check your manual.”

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