Allow me to veer off, just for today, into Desperate Housewives territory…
About a year ago, we finally ditched the last bottle of our traditional brand name cleaning products. We’re Whole Foods suckers – going for Seventh Generation anything, Ecover and – most recently – Vancouver’s own, most fantastic Sapadilla brand dishwashing liquid. (One of these days I’ll actually eat it).
With a combination of baking soda, vinegar, Borax, Sapodilla suds, Dr. Bronners and a micro fiber cloth – there isn’t anything I can’t keep sparking clean. (Of superb help is Young House Love’s list of cleaning recipes). Sure, there’s the occasional bleach-bath after raw chicken visits the kitchen – but that’s about as chemically laden as we get.
Am I dreaming? The longer I spend apart from the nasty chemical stuff, the more it seems to bother me.
- A walk down a drug store’s cleaning product aisle has my throat burning.
- Sleeping in bed sheets washed in normal laundry detergent stinks of chemicals.
- (Check out David Suzuki’s article on fragrances – terrifying)
Can I stop caring for a day?
For our last apartment’s final clean-out, I decided I didn’t really care. I wanted it cleaned – and quickly. So I went to the store for some oven cleaner. And immediately changed my mind. I couldn’t help it – ever read the back of that can? Ahmadinejad’s worst has nothing on commercial oven cleaner. No way was that shit coming within a mile of my mucous membranes. Why seek out organic food to undo it all in a toxic oven? Nuh uh. I got good and Googley.
Home-made oven cleaner?
Well, duh. Baking soda. (Thanks One Project Closer!) The helpful team @ OPC told me to coat the oven’s innards with a baking soda paste. A blizzard of bicarb. I just filled an empty spray bottle with water and baking soda, shook well, and sprayed the hell out of the oven.
Over & over & over. It got adorably compulsive.
Living that week on a strict diet of toast and popsicles (hey – it was summer!), I didn’t need to cook. So I just left the door open and within a few hours it’d dried to leave white powder caked across the oven’s interior.
“Spray more, spray more!”
Have to admit, I had little faith in the result but was enjoying the grade school science fair experience. I sprayed the crap out of the oven for probably 3 days straight. It was a snowstorm in there – pure white.
Then I just shut the door and ignored it for a solid week. The spraying had been fun but scrubbing? Not so much. You won’t sell me on that any day. Like any chronic procrastinator I left the grotty chore until the last minute: cleaning-then-hand-in-the-keys day.
I only had a blue & white J-cloth. I sudsed it up with trusty Sapadilla, then got to work.
Holy mother of hell.
It wiped clean. No scrubbing. It just came off, clean as anything. 5 minutes later – I had a new oven. Well, the new tenant did. (Well, the new tenant when the landlord finds one). What I had was a totally black, disgusting J-Cloth headed straight to its burial.
Never buy oven cleaner again. Never use oven cleaner again. If you’ve got it – throw it away.
Baking soda. Make friends.