We baked something recently (probably that rhubarb pie) that means that every subsequent preheating of the oven results in clouds of smoke, bad enough that I swear that this time, this time, I will clean the oven thoroughly once it cools off. Then of course I forget until the next smoke bomb and dinner deadline. Today is perfect weather for sitting in front of the open oven and writing (what to do when you don’t have a fireplace), however, and I am about to embark upon a baking project with Elizabeth Able; time to deal with whatever is in the bottom of the oven.
And lo! I have a tool for this project: a bottle of oven cleaner bought at an Amway presentation I was dragged to many years ago. The label required my glasses to read, but since the instructions comprised about two sentences and the rest of the label was warnings, I decided these would double as safety goggles. I donned rubber gloves. I removed the lid—or tried—squeeze here, twist there, consider the various vise grips and X-Acto knives in the building, squeeze and twist, and bingo, we’re back in business.
I shook before using and a fine powder of dust was added to the junk at the bottom of the oven. I pressed the spray nozzle.
I realized that with the rubber gloves on, I couldn’t see where exactly the opening was on the bottle and carefully rotated things—by now I had read that the key ingredient in this elixir was lye—but now I couldn’t see what was where because a shaving-cream-like foam was oozing out all over my gloved hand.
I shook again and the foam stopped. I scraped this off and wiped it on the oven. I aimed the nozzle and pressed again. Nothing. I shook the can and more foam—now a different color—started oozing from the can.
Visions of Lucille Ball in the candy factory—this time with lye!—tripped through my head as I wiggled the nozzle with one hand and slathered foam over the insides of the oven with the other. I shook the can some more, snapped the nozzle off the can entirely—more foam—joggled it back on, and got the foaming to stop, although I was skeptical. I washed the can and put the lid on tight, and, since it still wasn’t foaming, put the can in the very back of a closed cupboard. Thirty minutes later, I’m wiping down to the original enameled surface, spritzing with vinegar as instructed, and ready to get back smoke-free work.
(P.S. The baking project will go online around May 1.)Tweet