Saturday, January 25, 2014

Shameful Secret Saturday

Everyone has shameful little secrets. Even the best homemakers (which I am decidedly NOT) have messy closets, or mismatched socks, or dust bunnies behind the TV. It's time to come clean, I think, so I decided to start a new feature: Shameful Secret Saturday. Without further ado, here's my first dirty little secret. 

I've never cleaned the oven in our house. We bought the house in 2007. Do the math. In fact, I've never cleaned an oven at home. Now, I've cleaned more than my fair share of ovens at my various jobs, but never ever have I cleaned my home oven. Even before I switched to a more natural lifestyle, the smell of oven cleaner was enough to send me running. Unless I was punched in on a time clock, there's no way I was inhaling that stuff. And really, who has time (or the desire) to scrub an oven? I've attempted to use the self cleaning feature on our oven a few times, but it doesn't seem to work. The oven is older than me, and might be close to my mother's age. I'm surprised it still bakes, so I've never been too worried about the self cleaning feature.

So what made me break my streak after so long? A few weeks ago, I was seasoning one of my cast iron pans and I spilled bacon grease into the bottom of the oven. Then, like the extra special character I am, I went to bed that night without wiping it out. And, for good measure, completely forgot it happened. 

Until the next time I baked, that is. Until I was baking something and the smell of burned bacon filled my nose. Until Eamon looked at me and said, "Mama, why did you make it smoked in here?" 

I've filled our entire house with smoke about six times now, so I finally decided it's time to clean out the oven. We are having dinner guests this weekend, and I know enough about Emily Post to know it's not polite to smoke your guests out of your house before dinner.

I've seen several pins on Pinterest about cleaning your oven with baking soda and vinegar, both of which I always have on hand, so I decided today was the day. 

That's horrifying, right?
I actually thought it didn't look too bad, considering I haven't cleaned it in six years,
and I'm fairly certain it wasn't clean when we bought the house
My go-to cleaning products - baking soda, white vinegar, and original Dawn.
Mix baking soda and Dawn in a bowl, then slowly add vinegar.
Spread it all over the oven and let it sit for... some time.
It's not perfect, but it's a huge improvement. 
It took some elbow grease, for sure. Apparently if you don't bake your drippings into your oven for half a decade, this concoction works without using a scrubber, but I wore out a stainless steel scrubbing pad doing this. And for the first time ever, I can see through the window of my oven door.

Shameful secret 2: I slid those oven racks right back into the oven without cleaning them. That's a job for another day, thank you very much.

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