Tuesday, March 18, 2014

77 Monthly Clean Home Challenge: Clean Oven

Welcome back to the Monthly Clean Home Challenge daily task!  I am on a quest to maintain a clean and organized home in less time and the goal is simple; four daily tasks, four weekly tasks and one additional quick task each week day. 

In no particular order, here are the individual tasks I am tackling each day this month:
  1. Make cleaning supplies
  2. Cycle clean appliances
  3. Clean out cars
  4. Clean out microwave
  5. Wipe down cabinets/appliances
  6. Wipe down trim/doors
  7. Clean out one drawer
  8. Clean out fridge
  9. Clean out freezer
  10. Vacuum under furniture
  11. Vacuum mattresses
  12. Clean oven
  13. Clean out one closet
  14. Wash out garbage can/recycle bin
  15. Wash windows
  16. Scrub grout
  17. Clean out one cabinet
  18. File paper piles
  19. Purge bathroom toiletries
  20. Clean out pantry

Today I am chatting about the extra task:  Clean Oven

Oh boy, today's task is a doozy!  I learned a lot of lessons as I explored my oven closer than I ever have before.

Our oven is 12 years old, and I would say it looks pretty good considering I knew little about how to clean an oven or that I should even be cleaning an oven for about the first 5-6 years that I owned it {let's just say I was young and really just didn't know better}.  Plus, this appliance gets used all. the. time.  Especially for all of that Wisconsin winter comfort food we prepare!


After the first time I cleaned the oven and realized just how gross it had become, I got A LOT better about it.  In fact, I typically try and wipe it down every couple of months and have tested a few different methods over the years {including using the oven's self cleaning cycle, which I later read is ultimately not good for your oven}.  Last year, I found a natural solution that has worked really well for cutting the grime and grease that builds up on the inside.  And the timing was so good for this challenge, because the inside of our stove was ready for its scrubbing.


I always start by vacuuming the inside with the hose attachment of our vacuum.  Now for the magical solution...  It is one I have been using throughout the entire challenge already!  Pretty fantastic how one combo can do so much right?:
  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 1 tbsp castile soap
  • 10 drops tea tree or lemon essential oil

I start by giving the entire oven a good spray down and let it sit for a good 5-10 minutes.  Then, I give it another light mist and sprinkle baking soda on both the bottom of the oven and door {I went a little overboard with the baking soda in the photo below}.


I wipe down the walls first, then go to the door and interior of the oven scrubbing in a circular motion.  Because the bottom and door get the dirtiest, the baking soda seems to add a little scouring power. 


I rinse the sponge and repeat until the baking soda is gone.  Then, I use the half distilled water/half vinegar spray to spray everything down one last time and wipe up with a clean, dry microfiber cloth.  The vinegar helps get rid of the white film that is caused by the baking soda scrub and leaves the interior shining.

This entire process takes about 15 minutes, give or take.  I could have totally stopped there, my oven was looking good!

But then the spring cleaning mode kicked in.  And I realized there was a part of the oven that hadn't been touched in a very long time.  I was beyond scared to even know how bad it was.... are you ready?  Have you ever lifted your stove-top to reveal the area below your burners?

Oh. My. Gosh.


We must really favor the left side of our stove....  moving on.

I decided to use the same method on the top that I used on the interior.

Vacuum.....


Spray....


Soak, baking soda sprinkle and scrub!


A little literal elbow grease and I couldn't believe how quickly it was all coming up.


And the fabulous end result of the added love....


Oh!  But I was not going to stop there!  This was starting to feel really good!  What more could I clean?  A little puppy dog pouty lip face to my hubby and I was able to convince him to take apart the oven door.  This is something we had never done before, but something I always wanted to try because I couldn't stand that for years I would clean the inside and outside of the oven door, and was always left with these weird drips showing through.


Oh!  That would be why!  They were in-between the stove glass!  Seriously, amazed how they even get there.


My hubby recommends being really cautious during this process.  Our guess is that all ovens are different, but ours required us to remove seven screws in total to separate the glass from the door enough for a good cleaning.  Same steps were followed to clean every last crack and crevasse and then it was re-assembled.

While the drawer was out, I wiped that out and vacuumed/mopped under the oven as well.  What was initially going to be a quick 15 minute task, ended up turning into a good two hours of oven cleaning. 


But I am SO glad I took the time to just do it all, and do it all right.  Don't you just love that fire that the onset of spring puts inside of us to deep clean? 

Oh!  And for those wondering about the oven racks.  Every few months when we clean the interior of the oven, we soak the racks in hot water in the tub with a little dishwasher powder or laundry detergent sprinkled in.  The next morning, I use an abrasive sponge to wipe off the grates.  Very little scrubbing is required due to the good soaking.


So, for those following along, if you are anything like me and don't give your stove frequent cleaning attention, you may want to give yourself a few extra minutes, or even hours.  It will be worth it, I promise!



Looking for something?  Check out my favorite cleaning products below:


These are all cleaners/products that work for us and our current home finishes.  It is important to research the cleaners prior to using them on your specific counter and flooring selections.

77 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this post! I've been looking for good (non-chemically) ways to clean our oven, but most of the tutorials I could find seemed to be for ovens that don't have the electric heating element on the bottom. Cleaning around that always scared me. Quick question - is the tea tree/lemon essential oil necessary, or is it just to make it smell good?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I personally think it adds a little oomph in the grease cutting/cleaning, but I know it also kills germs and smells great. There are a few benefits to using the essential oils. :)

      xo!

      Delete
  2. Hi Jen! This is great info on how to naturally clean your stove without using all those chemicals that can damage our appliances and our health as well! The photos have helped a lot as well. Also I absolutely love the fact that you have a list of the products you use so that we know what to look for our cleaning. Love it and will definitely try it out! Thank you xx

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  3. Hi Jen! Totally LOVING this series and you're inspiring me to get my spring cleaning butt in gear! Just wanted to tell you that I have lined the bottom of my oven with foil for years. I have no heating elements on the bottom of the oven, but it has worked beautifully to keep my oven floor clean. However, I have never taken my door apart...anxious to do that and see what I find. From one mother of three boys to another...keep up the good work! You're awesome!

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  4. Oh, you always inspire me so much! I've got the evening to myself this evening (my Mr doesn't like me doing housework when he's home) and I think cleaning the oven needs to be done (I'm still mostly in that 'too-young-and-foolish-to-clean-the-oven' phase, so it make take the entire evening! Wish me luck!

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  5. Hi Jen,

    I am really enjoying this series. I am always on the hunt for new, safer with a terrific result ways to clean my house. I was wondering if you have ever used any other smell based Castile soaps? I am personally not a huge fan of the Lemon smell. I like Peppermint, and Orange. I currently am using a couple of Method products with those smells and love them. I was wondering have you made other cleaners with the different smelling Castile soaps? Could you offer any advice?
    Thanks so much?
    Kelly

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kelly!

      I once used an odorless, extra gentle version {years ago}, and I don't think there was any difference cleaning wise, both are ultra concentrated and do an endless variety of tasks. I would think that the other smells could be a fine substitute, in fact, many recipes I find don't specify a scent, they just mention castile soap in general.

      xoxo!

      Delete
  6. Just what I have been looking for! Can't wait to try this!

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  7. I love this. How come I didn't see this before... I have the urge to go home and clean now :). Bit late but may have to start... Thank you x

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  8. The in-between part of the door drives me crazy! I feel like appliance makers should make it impossible for it that to happen. Was it difficult to take apart the door? I am relieved to know I am not the only person that gets the inside part dirty and happy to know it can be cleaned!

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    Replies
    1. It wasn't necessarily hard, it was just important to be sure to keep track of the specific screws for each part of the door, and be really careful handling the glass. There were a few different pieces that came off, like the edges and handle, so we washed all of them and had to re-assemble it. My hubby definitely said it helped having both sets of hands.

      We could have un-screwed just two screws and separated the glass just enough to clean some of the drips, but upon doing that we noticed that the entire thing really needed to be cleaned so we just went for it. If you are nervous to take it all apart, maybe look into alternative ways to just separate it enough to stick your rag/cleaner inside to wipe up those drips.

      xo!

      Delete
  9. Those drips on the glass between the oven door drive me nuts. But I don't know if I'm brave enough to take the door apart. Hmmm . . . will have the think about this.

    Loving this series Jen! Thanks.
    Sheila

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    Replies
    1. You should be able to get the drips on the glass without taking apart the entire door {stove make/model depending}. We just noticed very quickly that there were areas that we wouldn't be able to get cleaned without just taking the entire door apart.

      xo!

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  10. Loving this series you are doing! And it's great having the links to the products at the end of the post.

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  11. Looks great! I just want to pass on a tip for others who want to clean the inside glass of their oven door. For our oven, I was able to clean it without unscrewing the door. There are some vents at the bottom of our oven door. I duct taped an old sock to a unbent wire hanger, put some clean (such as Windex) on the sock, poked it up through the vents and moved it around to clean out the splatters. This idea was not original to me, but something I found elsewhere on the internet. When I had researched cleaning the inside of the door, I saw a lot of people comment that they were unable to get the door back together after they unscrewed it, so I tried the other method and it worked for me.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I haven't tried this myself, but I did think of this article I found on Pinterest which offers step by step instructions on how to clean between oven glass without unscrewing the door.

      http://askannamoseley.com/2013/01/how-to-clean-between-oven-glass/

      Delete
  12. holy crap im impressed!
    XO
    Ellen
    Www.askawayblog.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. You made my day! I was wanting to do my oven today before company comes this weekend and here it was on the blog! Love this series! Thanks so much for sharing! Looking forward to having a clean oven to go along with my clean microwave, dishwasher, trash cans.... :)P

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  14. I am in love with your blog (and I am sure hubby is getting sick of hearing it)!!! The monthly challenge was perfectly timed as that was something I was really trying to work on in our home and your system has been working great for us!!! Thank you for sharing, it is very much appreciated!!! Also, where did you get the green pot on your stove? It is gorgeous, you have impeccable taste as always!!!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! I have had it for a few years now, can't recall exactly where I found it but the brand is Gourmet Living.

      xo!

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    2. BHAHHAHAHA yes I talk to my husband like "oh well Jen did..... Today I think I will try it. What do you think". He looks at me like oh you have a new friend. "Oh ya she rights this cool blog". I think he wants me to get out more. Lol.

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    3. I could hug you sweet gals!! And tell your hubbies that I am sorry ;)

      Delete
  15. I really need to clean my oven. It's sooooo gross. I want to get in the spring cleaning mode, but it's been a struggle -- too cold here. Hopefully when it warms up I can start cleaning like crazy!

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    Replies
    1. I agree about the cold! The only thing that helps me just a little is that it is lighter for longer. Hoping the rest of spring shows up very soon!

      Delete
  16. I'm loving all of these Spring Cleaning Post. It motivated me to make a cleaning schedule with monthly deep cleaning task that works for our family. I had been using something I purchased that worked pretty good but not perfect for our family. This is week one of my new schedule and so far so good!

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  17. Thanks for the motivation! Sadly my oven cleaning took an hour and a half and required an SOS pad 0.0 The baked on stuff was laughing at my soap/water mixture. And its still not spotless, but its 95% better!

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  18. You are amazing. I wonder how gas stoves work with cleaning the top? I'm scared to touch it thinking it's going to blow up. I've always had electric until this house (we moved in in December). Thanks for the inspiration!

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  19. Great trick :) I will do the same for my oven!

    www.outofstandards.blogspot.fr

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  20. I have a question. How do you clean the thingy that the burner sits in? Mine get so crusty and black and I can't seem to get it off. I've tried letting them soak in soapy water and then scrubbing with bar keepers friend, to no avail. Do you have advice?

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    Replies
    1. We wipe down the top of our stove daily and try and clean the drip pans with our dishes after cooking. This keeps them in fairly good condition. If they are really caked, try mixing baking soda and dishsoap to create a paste. Cover the drip pans in the mixture and pop them in a Ziploc bag overnight. Wash them in the morning and that should help remove some of that built-up gunk. xo!

      Delete
  21. I subscribed to your blog because I could use a little help in the organizing/cleaning dept. I now realize you are a little (?) obsessive....and I mean that in the nicest possible way. I am going to clean my oven today....by pressing the "clean" button, then vacuuming out the ashes. To each his own!

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  22. WOWZA! Looks amazing!! We're supposed to have some rain this weekend (I think) & this would be the perfect Sunday afternoon job!!

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  23. I never knew it wasn't good for your oven to use the self cleaning. I usually use that. My racks, I soak in hot water and vinegar, in the kids tub and then scrub them. I have taken the glass out of the front (or I should say my hubby has). I have him pull the stove out so I can wipe down the sides too. We have a glass top, so no more burners to clean.

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  24. This is such a great series - thank you!

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  25. I have been loving this series so far, but this is my favorite post to date for two reasons - one, figuring out how to get those drips off the door, and two, the list of products. Thank you so much!

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  26. Is distilled water same as bottled water ?

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  27. Hello!! :) How do you keep your range sooooo clean??? I have the same thing and it's so hard to clean them. Do you have a post on your tricks? Thank you!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We wipe down the top of our stove daily and try and clean the drip pans with our dishes after cooking. This keeps them in fairly good condition. If they are really caked, try mixing baking soda and dishsoap to create a paste. Cover the drip pans in the mixture and pop them in a Ziploc bag overnight. Wash them in the morning and that should help remove some of that built-up gunk. xo!

      Delete
  28. If you had said that had only taken 10 minutes yet again, I would have felt like a complete failure!!

    I've been enjoying this series and have been taking notes. Thanks!

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  29. Jen,
    Your clean oven is making mine jealous and screaming at me to get moving and get her clean! I was wondering if you love your Dyson stick vac? I see that you use it a lot and I have been wanting one, but I was wondering if they have as much power as the regular plug in Dyson (which we have and love)? Also, do you use a steam mom to clean your wood floors? I don't like the one I have, but it is so hard to do it on your hands and knees with a cloth. Please forgive me if you have answered these questions before :)
    Thanks for the inspiration, as always!

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  30. Two questions about recent posts: Are you buying distilled water? I feel opposed to buying water but even more opposed to completing the 97 step process that the internet gives me to distill my own. Think Brita water would be good enough?

    And do you have an indoor spray paint station? I'm patiently waiting for the MN winter to end so that I can spray in our yard or detached garage but curious what you do in the meantime? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mandy,

      We do purchase distilled water. I use it for our iron, my coffee maker and the cleaners we make. I am not sure filtered water is the same as distilled, that is something you may have to research if you are opposed to purchasing the distilled.

      I spray paint in our garage, we have a small heater that I can use when we are out there working on projects. For spray painting, I crack the windows and doors.

      xo!

      Delete
  31. At my last place I had an electric stove and to make cleaning super easy, I would line that area under the stovetop with aluminium foil. You cant see it when the top is down so it doesn't look tacky. When it was time to clean I would just swap it out with new foil and toss the old stuff in the recycle bin! Easy peasy!

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  32. I've been waiting for this post. The hubs has always been the one who cleans it and he uses a certain cleaner (I forgot which one). Today I am so motivated to do it myself. But I don't have the castile soap so I am just going to use the water and vinegar combo. I hope it'll work. Thanks! (",)

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  33. I've never tried the self-cleaning option on my stove (I guess I've always been afraid of having the heat set so high for so long), but what did you find out about it not being good for the oven?
    Luckily, my oven isn't too bad (as we mostly cook on the stovetop in our waterless cooking pans, aka "mini ovens") - so today's challenge shouldn't be too hard :-)

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    Replies
    1. I think it is probably OK to use occasionally, but I have read that the high heat trapped inside of the oven can damage the internal components. I have also heard that the extreme temperatures can release toxins into the air, as self cleaning ovens are typically lined with Teflon.

      xoxo!

      Delete
  34. When you make your oven cleaning solution in the spray bottle, how long can the solution sit in the bottle for or do you use up the bottle each time? I am curious if it can be stored and ready for the next cleaning.. I have never made homemade products but am interested, thanks!

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    Replies
    1. I always just store the contents in a room temp cabinet and use until gone, then whip up a new batch. I have never had issues, I don't believe the cleaners really "go bad", unless maybe you let them sit for very long periods of time un-used.

      xo!

      Delete
  35. Is there a particular reason to used distilled water vs. tap??? thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Carmen,

      From what I have read, the tap water contains minerals that can inhibit cleaning. I figure it also reduces the risk that my spray bottles will become clogged.

      xo!

      Delete
  36. Wonderful! Love it!
    I'm sorry if you've answered this before but can't seem to find it. Is distilled water necessary in this cleaning 'potion' or could you just use regular tap water??

    Thanks! Love this series!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Robyn!

      From what I have read, the tap water contains minerals that can inhibit cleaning. I figure it also reduces the risk that my spray bottles will become clogged.

      xo!

      Delete
  37. I haven't tried this myself, but I found this article on Pinterest that offers step by step instructions on how to clearn the oven glass without unscrewing the door. It's on my to-do list!

    http://askannamoseley.com/2013/01/how-to-clean-between-oven-glass/

    ReplyDelete
  38. I really love your post whit cleaningtips and tips. Your stove is now fabulouse! My is still in the todolist but I will use your formula with baking soda and citrus:)

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  39. I cleaned it with baking soda and water last time and I rememeber it being long until all the white cast was gone. So I'll try the vinegar tip next time ;) Thank you!

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  40. So, yeah, I decided to clean my oven Christmas and took the screws out to clean between the glass....your hubby is right..they shatter into a MILLION pieces of glass QUICKLY; I didn't even do anything. Glad yours worked better than mine...but yes, you can order a replacement. :)

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    Replies
    1. OH NO! I hope no one was hurt! Thank you for the warning, sorry to hear that yours broke, but happy to hear you were able to find a replacement piece. Yikes!

      Delete
  41. Jen I'm loving this series! One question though, do you have any tips on cleaning a gas oven? We just moved to a place with one and all I've ever had were electric stoves, and dealing with the gas while cleaning scares me, so any advice would be appreciated!

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    Replies
    1. I do not know much about gas ovens as I have never personally owned one. I find a lot of the recipes that I love by reading forums for natural cleaning methods and trying out the ones that seem to work the best with the least amount of effort. ;) xoxo!

      Delete
  42. I love this cleaning challenge! I am so excited to see what you are doing each day!! :) Melanie

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  43. Jennifer, thank you very much for posting this blog. I am very excited to get my oven cleaned. May I ask where you got your white tray where you keep your olive oils? Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! The tray was from West Elm last summer. xo!

      Delete
  44. Amazing job. My husband and I took apart out oven door the first time we cleaned it and it has never been the same!! As we put it back we discovered that the inside piece of glass an just slide straight out for easy cleaning. Obviously it will depend what type of oven you have but I would recommend all your readers check this option out before they start messing around with screws!

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  45. Jen!???? Where do you get your energy? Can you start selling THAT on etsy? Lol Thanks for keeping us motivated. My fiance will either be thrilled with my new cleaning and organizing projects,or leave me for buying everything including the Cameo! (I'll just blame it on you..k? ;) as always, an awesome project!

    Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Bahaha! Totally giggled out loud! If anyone could figure out how to bottle up natural energy and sell it, I would purchase it in bulk! Until then, I am a coffee girl. :)

      xo!

      Delete
  46. Do you ever clean the actual burner? How?
    Love all your posts. I'm a young mother who is not the "neatest" but I have been getting organized with your help! Thank you!!

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  47. I just love your blog!! Thanks for the tips...here's one maybe "silly" question...is it OK to spray the electric "wires" (or whatever it's called) in the bottom of the oven? I always wanted to try, but was scared to damage something.

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    Replies
    1. Hmmm? The heating element? I didn't spray it directly, but I always wipe it down. Definitely may want to check your appliance manual or google around if you are worried.

      xo!

      Delete
  48. I just cleaned an oven for the first time! I would like to say that I am young and don't know any better but, while I am young, I do know better. Up until now I have just taken the hit on the security deposit. Thank you for the inspiration to finally tackle this task! It needs another round of cleaning put it is looking so much better I can't believe it!

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  49. What an amazing post! I love your blog.

    www.verasawicki.com

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  50. I have my oven on my list for this week. Another thing to consider is to gently pull the oven out away from the counter tops (if you have an electric oven and the cord will allow you to pull it out). I did that last time I cleaned the oven and was both amazed/horrified at all the gunk that had spilled over the sides of the stove. Thank you for sharing your checklist -- it is so motivational!

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  51. I only just discovered that the top of our stove pops up to clean underneath. I had always just cleaned in there by reaching through the holes once the elements and everything had been removed. It was a freakin' revelation! Only took me til I was almost *40* to figure this out.

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    Replies
    1. High five Carolyn! Better late than never! :) Glad to know that your life just got easier! :)

      Delete
  52. This was a life-changing post. Thank you! :)

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  53. I just had my husband take apart our oven door so I could clean between the glass. I would like to consider it a testament to his love for me that, beside from an angry face and pithy remarks, he did it without a huge amount of complaining. I felt a little bit bad as we realized that ours was closer to twenty screws and six brackets and FOUR panes of glass. I struggle to feel bad now that it's put back together and up, though. It's SO CLEAN! LOOK, TIM! LOOK WHEN THE LIGHT IS ON!

    . . . He doesn't seem to appreciate it the same way I do. Oh well. :) Happy spring cleaning!

    ReplyDelete

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