One of the more heavily used appliances in the home the oven (stove) is far more likely to need cleaning, repair and maintenance. It is not difficult to keep the oven in solid working order when just a few simple steps are taken to ensure it lives a long and functional life.
☼ I know I will sound like a broken record here but cleaning the oven is the best way to keep it in top shape! The outside and door seal can be wiped down with warm soapy water to remove grime. For those who have a window in the door and want a streak free view in, use white vinegar and wipe it down with newspaper. Yes seriously, it will be streak free and sparkling! This can be done on all glass -- mirrors, windows, car windows, etc.
☼ Try to clean up spills right away to avoid baking on.
☼ Some models have a self cleaning feature which basically incinerates anything spilled in the oven and it allows the residue to be wiped out with a damp sponge. It will utilize energy but no harmful chemicals are sprayed into the air or the cavity in which we all prepare our foods so this would be a serious trade off decision.
☼ For those who do not have this feature however (like me) I found a better solution than spray on foams which contain propellant and other chemicals. Mix up 4-5 tablespoons of baking soda, a few drops of dish soap and 3-4 tablespoons of white vinegar. Make a paste, spread all over the inside and let sit for fifteen to thirty minutes. Wipe down using plenty of warm water and use a green scrub sponge if necessary to remove more stubborn stains.
☼ If the oven is beyond what seems repairable mix equal parts salt, water and baking soda into a paste. Apply and heat the oven to approximately 500 degrees and cook the mixture on for about an hour. Once cool a damp sponge should take care of the incinerated cleaner. (I have not actually tried this one myself but may do so at my dad’s rental property, I’ll keep you informed how it goes!)
☼ Unless there are spills, it is only necessary to clean the inside of the oven a couple times a year. Always be sure to wipe the inside of the oven to dry after cleaning.
☼ Make sure the temperature you set is the one you get. Pick up an oven thermometer to ensure the oven’s thermostat is in solid working order. Center a rack and enter the thermometer on that rack then turn on the oven to the standard temperature you use to cook with for about fifteen minutes (about 350 is good). Some fluctuation is normal but for differences of fifteen to twenty five degrees either way the thermostat should be replaced.
☼ Be sure there are no electronic malfunctions as this could potentially lead to bigger problems. Call a qualified repairman to service the oven if anything malfunctions.
Please note that these tips do not include information for continuous cleaning ovens as I personally have had no experience with this style oven. While doing research however it appeared that 99% of the stuff that was safe for conventional and self cleaning models was not safe for a continuous clean oven. It is always best to check the owners manual or manufacturer website prior to doing any cleaning or maintenance on an appliance but with a little ingenuity we can keep our entire kitchen sparkling naturally!