What is your most hated household chore? I’m not going to lie, I dislike a lot of them, but my most hated is cleaning the oven. Ugh…how bad is cleaning the oven? When we moved into our new rental place, the oven was gross. It was so bad, the real estate agent actually apologised for the state of it. I wasn’t too concerned at the time, because it meant that at the end of lease, we wouldn’t have to clean it to the fanatical levels that real estate agents normally expect. As we continued to use it though, it was only getting worse and then it started smoking. Every time you opened the door when it was in use, smoke would plume out and then hover about in the kitchen. It was disgusting (and probably really unhealthy) and it was making it really unenjoyable to cook in the oven.
About a month ago, I pulled on my gloves as I knew what had to be done. It was time to clean the oven. I’m definitely more of a cook than a cleaner, but I had cleaned ovens before. I have never done an amazing job, but I’d done enough to get past a pesky end of lease clean. After a few hours of the awful-smelling oven cleaner soaking on all of the panels, Key really scrubbed at the oven door and it was a vast improvement. The charcoal-like burnt on crap (I can think of no less-vulgar word for it) was not budging from under the racks though and the back and roof of the oven still looked like where carcinogens had gone to die. We made an improvement, but it was still terrible and it still smoked, while now also reeking of oven cleaner.
I’d be embarrassed to show you these photos, but I swear it wasn’t us that got it to this point. We have only lived in the house for a few months and I assure you it was actually worse than this before we cleaned it. These ‘before’ photos were taken in the morning and the ‘after’ photos were taken the same afternoon.
Later that night, after our unsuccessful attempt, I decided to invest in professional oven cleaning. I figured if it was done properly once, then going forward, we’d only need to maintain it. I clearly love to cook and so does Key, so in our minds, paying for it to be done professionally would be worth our while.
The oven where carcinogens had gone to die.
I did a quick search online and only came across two places that professionally clean ovens in Canberra. I sent off an online request for a quote on both sites and Kerry from OvenU got back to me quickly with a $150 price (the other place never got back to me at all) Kerry assured me that the main oven components were taken apart, which was something that I was definitely looking for, as I could see through the back plate to the fan that was brown and covered in goop.
Burnt on stalactites of crusty I-don’t-know-what.
Yes, that’s right, it was actually worse than this before Key and I cleaned it!
Kerry from OvenU did an absolutely fantastic job, so I thought I’d share his details and some before and after pictures with you. Neither OvenU or Kerry had any idea I’d be posting about this and Key and I paid for this ourselves.
Kerry showed up on time (actually he was early) and got to work. The poor guy was here for 2½ hours and he said that there was no way that the oven had ever been cleaned properly before. I hate to think what he would have said if he had seen it before Key got the glass on the oven door clean.
Kerry took the door off, removed all of the racks, removed the back plate and the fan and placed all of these, along with the griller drip tray into a boiling tub of water in the back of his van. He said that he added some caustic cleaning solution to this too, but that it was mostly the heat that helped to lift off the gunk.
Next, he scraped off the crusty stuff in the oven (enough to fill a small brush and pan) and then cleaned the oven entirely with Clorox Gumption (I love the stuff) and a handheld steamer.
After about 45 minutes of cleaning the oven interior, he concentrated on the pieces that were soaking in his van. When everything was clean, he put the oven back together and ran it for a little while to burn off any excess moisture and smoke from the cleaning solution. At no point, did it smell like harsh oven cleaner. It did have a light cleaning product smell, but it was no more strong in scent than a multipurpose spray that you would use on your bench top.
He made sure that both Key and I checked it and were 100% happy with it before he left. He also initially laid down towels on the tiles so they remained cleaned throughout the process. We now have a lovely shiny and clean oven and the oven racks look brand new. The fan is no longer brown and the top of the oven no longer has tiny charcoal stalactites all over it.
This shows the only part of the oven that remains a bit gross. You can see that it would be almost impossible to get into that tiny area to clean though, so I’m more than fine with that.
If you love to cook, but hate cleaning the oven, you might enjoy professional oven cleaning as much as we did. Kerry from OvenU can be contacted for oven cleaning services in the Canberra area on 0420 638 165 and the OvenU website can be found here.