One thing: clean the oven

Last weekend I cooked a big lunch for 20 of us (mostly family and some friends) here for Daisy’s birthday. I did the slow cooked lamb which was AMAZING and delicious and as it was cooking, filled the house with the most amazing smells. The lamb did drizzle over into the base of the oven and a few days later when I went to cook dinner, all I could smell was lamb fat and dirty meat. Eeeeeew! Not good for a pregnant woman I can assure you. I managed to scrape out the offending bits from the bottom of the oven, but when I have used the oven, it’s just been gross and NOT OK for this preggo nose.

So, I thought it best to tackle just #onething. For those of you not playing along, #onething is where I do just ONE THING from my to-do list, but not your every day to-do list. Oh no, this is the list of non essential items that sort of kind of need to get done but it’s no biggie if they don’t get done until next week, or next month, or um, next year. Those things. Just one. Every week.

The last time I cleaned my oven (so my blog tells me) is November 2013. Yep, we’re looking at 15 months here. That’s a whole lot of birthdays, dinners, lunches, Christmases in between. And the massive roast of last weekend which tipped us over the edge from I must do that to DEAR GOD I NEED TO CLEAN THIS NOW. Am I nesting?!

Here’s what we were looking at. I might be tidy but there is filth everywhere round here:

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It’s not pretty, I’m not going to lie. It smelt worse. Earlier this week I had seen on the inter webs these organised blogs showing Mums how to do stuff around the house with just bi-carb, in particular the cleaning of the oven. Many a post (Martha included) showed me to just whip up a paste, apply to a warmish oven, leave for 2 hours and then come back to wipe clean. I CAN DO THAT I thought! Better in my current state too. The house was quiet, this was going to happen!

I made up the paste as I was told to do and turned the oven on low for a few minutes so it was warm.

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Then I applied that stuff on everywhere. I iced that oven like it was nobodies business, practically suffocating on my own smugness levels because a) I was cleaning the oven and b) not using chemicals!

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I was it a bit of a rub in with a scourer, wedged some paper towel into the gap where the door closes and shut it up and went about my domestic duties. Two hours later it looked like this:

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That shit was EVERYWHERE. All dried up and EVERYWHERE. I started to wipe it off, and give it a scrub with the scourer and sure, it loosened up the grease, and sure if I was patient I could have sat there scrubbing in small circles for an hour, but I am neither of those things, so I went and got my trusty kitchen spray. Nothing too harsh (just the Method Kitchen spray) and added a bit of that to it and THEN I was cooking! Chemicals, I know, I’m sorry, but I don’t have time for circular scrubbing on a Sunday, I just don’t.

I also threw the racks into a big old sink of hot water and detergent and gave them a scrub with the scourer. The grease did come off easily enough, I’m sure that bi-crab did most of the handy work for me.

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And then? Well, it was done. Not the best job, not to the levels of my oven man that came all those months ago (and has since retired DAMN IT) but it’s done. And the smell of lamb fat has diminished by at least 23%.

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And now when I bake I will hopefully just smell the wonderful aromas, rather than old grease. That would be a start. And the verdict on this non chemical way of cleaning? Ho hum. It certainly got things moving but it’s bullshit if you think you can get this done quickly in this method. It also makes a shitload of mess. But hey! No chemicals right?

When was the last time you cleaned your oven?
What was your one thing this week?
Go choose something, right now, just have a look around and there will be something waiting…


  1. Every time I’m kicked out of a rental

  2. I’m feeling so lazy in response to your inspiring one thing a week. I need to start – there are Soooo many things on my list.

    For oven cleaning – I also use the services of the laundry trough when cleaning the racks and exhaust fan thing – I like the extra space for soaking etc.

  3. Prior to moving into our new place I hadn’t cleaned the oven for the entirety of it’s life (approx. 7 years) and the day I decided to tackle it, it shit itself. So I never touched that bastard again.
    HOWEVER, we have beautiful new whopper now that I love and I’m determined to keep it respectably clean. A friend told me to put a big tray of water in with a few lemons cut into quarters, turn the oven on low & leave until the inside was all steamy & the gunk could be wiped off. While I haven’t actually tried it, I think she’s onto something. A few weeks ago I cooked a shepherd’s pie late one night, turned the oven off & went to bed (was too hot to put in the fridge). The next morning the pie had done the job re: steaming & the oven was so easy to clean! No chemicals at all from memory.

  4. This us the one and only job that I pay someone else to do. It’s about time I booked my guy in again.

  5. Shauna McGregor says

    I found the best solution Iast time I cleaned my oven racks – sugar soap. I soaked the racks in the solution in my laundry sink and the grease and old food just fell off ! It was the best and easiest way to remove grease!! BTW – I do love a good clean with Bicarb but like you I like results quickly.

  6. I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t cleaned our oven since we moved here – 3 years ago. When we arrived we were only originally staying for 12 months – I thought I would clean it when I left. Once we decided to stay for ever we have been planning a renovation complete with new kitchen, so there was no point in cleaning it because we would be getting rid of it soon. Suddenly 3 years have past. The reno is on later this year so there is, once again, no point in cleaning it. But the oven is disgraceful, and I should probably suck it up and do it anyway. I will need the totally industrial chemicals to shift that grime!

  7. Pop those oven racks in the dishwasher, Beth. Best tip I got from my friend who has a cleaner. Put them on the bottom tray, whack it on intense wash and put the kettle on. Job done

  8. Shelley McLean says

    OMG! It’s like you read my mind! Soaking the racks over night in the laundry trough with bleach in it works a treat.

  9. Grab yourself some of those BBQ. If something bubbles over wipe it with them. Even when you give it a quick wipe out the next morning and then wipe out with soapy water you never have to do a big clean again.

  10. One thing I couldn’t stand the smell of when pregnant was lamb so you’ve done well. I’ll be moving in six months time and will be forced to clean my oven so thanks for the tips. Or… I could just replace it with a new one.

  11. I need to do this before our next house inspection. I tried a supposedly easy oven spray but I might try the lemons & water after the pizzas come out tonight

    • Somehow I remembered to put the tray of water and lemons into the oven last night after I’d used it, and it seemed to do the trick. Now have a paste of bicarb & vinegar hopefully working its magic on the door

  12. I cleaned my oven a month ago and it took me HOURS!!!! Hours I tell you!!! I barred the oven from use for three weeks after due to the mental and physical trauma involved. I tried the “green” method and ended up sending my husband out for nuclear strength chemicals. They worked a treat …One suggestion though which worked well is to put your racks (oven racks, just to clarify )in a warm bath with Naoussa and soak for a few hours. Really worked.

  13. Lisa mckenzie says

    not that long ago but it’s dirty again I hate cleaning the oven beth and the bicarbonate of soda too slow,I like chemicals too!

  14. Well done! My top tip is to line the bottom of the oven with foil. That way any cheesy pizza drips, meat drips etc is easy to whip out and bin. Only the racks to worry about then!

  15. I HATE cleaning the oven. I tend to do the roasts (that make the most mess eg pork) in the BBQ now in a disposable foil baking tray. Having said that, the new oven ( 5 years new ) has the pyrolytic liner. I haven’t had to use it yet.

    If I think something might overflow, I put a tray under it. I saw your banana cake instagram. I have had that happen to me.

  16. Bicarb is the messiest, most useless cleaner for the oven. The one time I tried it, it took ages to get the dried crap off. I use chemicals, cold oven spray, and the laundry sink for the racks. I hated the smell of lamb when pregnant and I still can’t cook it or eat it.

  17. I usually only clean it when we move house! Festy I know…but a couple of weeks ago I felt compelled to clean it. Tried the bicarb was useless! Had to use a few “light” chemicals and scrub it. What a crap job. I think next time will get the hubby to do it. Just about to put a lasagne in it…it had better not drip! 🙂

  18. I did the bicarb paste thing too but then wiped it out with half white vinegar, half water. It dissolves the bicarb and grease and helps wipe the gunk off.

  19. Are you insane? Find the new oven man!

    And please wear gloves- your poor hands.

    • I know! You know last night someone emailed me with Frank’s new contact details…he will be able to clean again! As for the hands, they aren’t worth saving (and look nothing as glamorous as yours) x

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