Cleaning an oven this weekend? Avoid these dangerous cleaning methods

From dodging harmful fumes to exploding spray bottles, cleaning an oven can be risky. These are the common cleaning hazards to avoid

Cleaning an oven
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

It's beginning to smell a lot like... dirty ovens? For many of us, late October signals the time of year when we begin tidying up our homes, bit by bit, in the lead up to the festive season. No special brownies for guessing which cleaning task is the most hated. No, not cleaning the toilet. Cleaning the oven is our most hated chore by quite some way, with many of us leaving it as long as six months before tackling the oven. Which explains, of course, why the task is so onerous when we do decide to finally clean it.

But, before you douse your oven in every cleaning product there is in your cupboard, be aware of the hazards* of being over-enthusiastic when mixing different chemicals commonly used for cleaning. 

In particular, be careful when cleaning your oven with bleach. Hydrogen peroxide can irritate the respiratory system and the eyes, and should be used carefully. The fumes from a solution of just three per cent can cause irritation. If you are using bleach, or products containing it, to clean your oven, never stick your head in while you're doing it.

And what about the time honoured DIY cleaning ingredients such as vinegar and baking soda? Both of these are very useful for cleaning ovens, but they foam when mixed together, which can lead the a spray bottle or container they're mixed in to explode. Needless to say, if this mixture gets into your eyes, the effect will be very unpleasant. If this does happen, rinse your eyes with plenty of water.

Having said all of this, a dirty oven is actually more of a health hazard than your cleaning products. Not only can a very dirty oven prevent your food from cooking thoroughly (yes, really), but it's a major fire risk (the Office for National Statistics report that one in five household fires are caused by kitchen appliances). Ever seen a grease fire? We have, and now we clean our ovens all the time. 

*Tips provided by oven valeting service Ovenu