Oven cleaning is a necessary but tedious task. It involves scrubbing, wiping, mumbling curses under your nose and trying to get rid of that last bit of oven cleaner residue all the way at the back. And when it comes to detergents and cleaning products, they often carry a stigma that they are extremely toxic and do more harm than good. Is that really true?

Table of Contents:

What Are Oven Cleaning Products Made Of?

Most commercially sold oven cleaners contain chemicals that help break down and clean grease and dirt build ups inside your stove. They often have a health hazard warning and it clearly says on the label that you should handle them carefully. So what do such cleaning products actually contain?

  • Lye – The active ingredient in almost all oven cleaners. It’s often called a base, or caustic alkali. When concentrated, it’s highly corrosive to organic materials (such as us, humans and any organic matter). However, it’s highly successful at dissolving stubborn buildups and grease deposits. If you don’t want it to damage your skin, you should never handle it with bare hands! Always wear protective gloves and rinse well with warm water afterwards.
  • Caustic soda – Just like lye, it’s a caustic base which has the power to dissolve grease, oil and fats. It’s often used in oven cleaners, drain openers and industrial cleaning products. It should be handled with caution and you should always wear protective gear.
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate – This is a surfactant often found in all types of cleaning products. You’ll see it listed in the ingredients of toothpaste, shampoos, soaps and bubble baths. It’s what causes the product to bubble and foam.

Are Oven Cleaner Fumes Dangerous?

Just like any product containing chemicals, oven cleaners should be handled with caution. Fumes may be toxic, but they are mostly caustic. In order for them to cause damage, they have to be in direct contact with your skin. Once you wipe the detergent with warm water and sponge, it’s gone along with the any harmful effect it may have.
Completely rinse off the oven cleaner from every corner and part of your stove. This way you’ll avoid any potential food poisoning or fumes when you turn on the oven.

How to Remove Oven Cleaner Residue

If you think that there’s oven cleaner residue left in your stove, you can easily remove it. All you have to do is:

  1. Use a wet cloth or a sponge and wipe as much of the product as possible.
  2. Mix 3 parts of warm water with 2 parts of vinegar.
  3. Soak the cloth or sponge in the mixture and wipe the inside of the oven thoroughly. Once should do the trick, but you can repeat it if you want.

How to remove a dried up oven cleaning product

Sometimes when you decide to clean the oven and you spray the detergent, you might leave it on too long at it dries up. It can be hard to remove it with water only so it’s better to “re-activate” it.

  1. Apply a new layer of oven cleaner over the dried up spot. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Use a wet sponge to scrub the dried up product. Rinse the sponge and repeat the scrubbing until all of the detergent is removed.
  3. Soak the sponge in a dish with equal parts water and vinegar and wipe the spot where the dried up oven cleaner was.
  4. Finish by wiping with a wet dishcloth and drying with paper towels.

Oven Cleaner Poisoning Symptoms and How to Prevent It

Oven cleaner poisoning is actually pretty common but fatal cases are a rarity. It occurs due to lack of attention, not using gloves and mask when cleaning or simply by a mistake.
The symptoms include:

  • Irritation of the eyes
  • Burning feeling on the skin and rashes
  • Trouble breathing
  • Swelling of the throat and tongue

What to do in case of oven cleaner poisoning?

  • If the product comes in contact with your skin or eyes, wipe thoroughly with warm water. If the irritation doesn’t go away, immediately call your local emergency centre.
  • Provide health care professionals with information about the product that caused the irritation and any other symptoms that may occur.
  • Follow their instructions.
  • Don’t induce vomiting unless instructed by the health care professionals.
  • Go to your nearest ER room if you don’t feel any signs of improving your condition.

How to prevent oven cleaner poisoning

  • It’s important to follow the directions written on the product’s label to the letter. Even if you’ve used it countless times, never avoid safety measures.
  • Always read the label and follow the instructions.
  • Wear protective gloves and a mask.
  • Keep cleaning products out of children and pets’ reach.

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Do leave a comment below if you have experience on the topic or you need more answers.

  • Last update: April 17, 2019

Posted in Cleaning Guides

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