When it comes to cleaning your oven, you have a lot of options, but they all involve major elbow grease, whether you’re using Bar Keepers Friend, a Scrub Daddy, or another product or tip. There is one way, however, to give your oven an excellent clean that won’t drain your energy. In fact, you can relax or do something else for the majority of the time.
What you need to clean your oven with ammonia
To pull off this minimal-effort, maximum-result hack on your own oven, here’s what you need:
- Some kind of baking dish with enough depth to hold liquid, like a cake dish
- An oven-safe bowl
- Boiling water
Later on, you’ll need some cleaning basics, like more water, dish soap, a heavy-duty sponge, and some gloves, but for now, let’s focus on the ammonia, which you’ll be putting in the baking dish and heating up. Before you do that, you need to know a few important safety tips: If you have a gas oven, extinguish the pilot light and turn the gas off before you do anything, as ammonia is flammable. If you’re unsure at all, don’t use this method; but if you have an electric stove, you can proceed. Don’t ever mix ammonia with anything, either. In general, never mix cleaning products and always use chemical cleaners in a well-ventilated area, preferably with your windows open.
How to clean your oven with ammonia
This method is well-known and demonstrated, from household blogs to the Today Show, and it doesn’t vary much between sources because it’s so simple. First, pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees; then, boil your water and put it in an oven-safe bowl on the bottom rack. Put a half a cup of ammonia in your other oven-safe vessel, and put it on the top rack. Once your oven hits 170, turn it off.
Leave the two pans in the oven for at least a few hours, or even over night. When you’re ready, remove them and let the oven air out for about 15 minutes. (If your racks need some cleaning, this is also when you should remove them.) While it’s airing out, add a few drops of dish soap and a little water to the ammonia, then use it to wipe down the inside of the oven using a sponge and wearing gloves. Any crusties or baked-on foods will easily come off after all those hours with the ammonia inside. Wipe it all off with a clean, wet cloth, and the job is done.
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