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I have drippings that have caked on to the botton surface of my oven. Now, every time we use the oven, they start to smoke and set off the smoke detector.

What are some natural ways to clean the oven? There's probably some major scrubbing in my future. :)

(Note: Someone at DIY Stack exchange http://diy.stackexchange.com/a/1890/672 suggested that I cross post here)

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What do you define as toxic? Any strong alkaline will help, many of these are used in common baking. Otherwise elbow grease is your friend –  TFD Oct 8 '12 at 4:31
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Oven spray is toxic? What is the source of this claim? –  Aaronut Oct 8 '12 at 4:31
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@Aaronut Oven spray is very toxic if not used as directed, says so on the can! –  TFD Oct 8 '12 at 5:29
    
@TFD here's my definition of toxic => anything that gives off noxious fumes, is harmful to your skin, etc. (not a scientific definition by any means :) ) –  milesmeow Oct 8 '12 at 6:43

2 Answers 2

Most spray oven cleaners contain sodium hydroxide in a foam suspension. If used as directed they are quite safe. The foam is effectively a slow release agent for the sodium hydroxide so any minor spill or over-spray should not be damaging

By itself sodium hydroxide is a very dangerous alkaline, and will cause major skin loss and eye damage. Do not let children use it, or get near it

Sodium hydroxide is commonly used to made soap, pretzels, tortillas etc. So you are probably already have it in your house

In terms of noxious fumes, I would suspect heating chilli to be more toxic:-)

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I don't think many people actually have pure sodium hydroxide in their house... they just have products made with sodium hydroxide. –  Aaronut Oct 8 '12 at 20:10

Using a bicarbonate of Soda paste is a good way to clean the oven and does not involve any nasty chemicals.

Also, as you need to clean the base of the oven, it can help if you remove the door if it is a drop down door. This makes reaching inside much easier. Most doors are designed to be removed easily. Sometimes your manual will provide instructions on how to remove the door for cleaning.

Otherwise this video on removing oven door may help as it covers four different types of hinge.

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For our US friends--Bicarbonate of Soda = sodium bicarbonate = Baking Soda –  Ray Oct 8 '12 at 10:57
    
Never underestimate the power of baking soda. It's amazing how much stuff you can clean with it. To add to this comment, I'd say make a baking soda paste (just add with some water) to work in with the sponge. It's a great abrasive. –  lemontwist Oct 8 '12 at 12:25
    
Note: Any residual sodium bicarbonate will convert to sodium carbonate in a hot oven, a more toxic alkaline –  TFD Oct 8 '12 at 20:01
    
@lemontwist: It's a good abrasive but not a very good disinfectant. So feel free to use it as a degreaser, but don't rely on it to sanitize kitchen surfaces after handling raw meat or any other potentially-contaminated food. –  Aaronut Oct 8 '12 at 20:09
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@lemontwist: I hope you don't mean literally mixing them, since the Bronners themselves recommend against it - they have opposite pH and effectively cancel each other out when mixed, leaving you with inert oil and water. (Used separately, one after the other, wiped down in between, they're fine.) –  Aaronut Oct 8 '12 at 21:10

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