Ovens can catch fire when fat and grease splatters, people forget things are cooking in the oven or food on the bottom ignites. Then, the smoke alarm goes off, smoke is everywhere and you have to put out the fire. It can be pretty scary, and once you have put it out, you'll have a real mess on your hands that will stick around until you clean the oven after the fire. What is the best way to clean an oven and get rid of the smell?
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First, Put Out the Fire
You need to take specific steps when an oven catches fire, but most if not all experts agree that you should call 911 right away. With grease fires, you can quickly slide a pan lid over the flames, close the oven door, shut off the heat and leave the pan there until it cools. Do not carry it outside.
Do not use water or flour on cooking fires but you can douse other food fires with baking soda. Do not get too close to the flames or you could get seriously burned. If you are afraid to use baking soda or a pan lid, keep the oven door shut and turn off the heat. The fire should go out on its own.
To prevent oven fires, stay nearby while things are cooking, as this is the number one cause of cooking fires. If you have to leave the room, remember to return often to check the oven. Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing when cooking, as that could also catch fire, and keep children, pets, pot holders and other flammables away from your oven. Clean your oven regularly and make sure to have a fire extinguisher and smoke detector in or close to your kitchen.
How to Clean an Oven After a Fire
If you had to use a fire extinguisher to put out an oven fire, you should still be able to use the oven as long as you use a properly rated extinguisher and clean the oven after the fire the right way. Standard extinguishers leave chemical residues, so you'll want a cleaner that can handle this. The best oven cleaner spray brands include Amerex, Hausse and Kidde. Make sure to wear goggles, a mask and plastic gloves when you're cleaning your oven.
Protect the floor in front of the oven with old towels or a plastic tarp. Then, use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to suck up any leftover debris inside the oven. You can also use a brush and dustpan to get out the rest of the loose mess. Wet a sponge and wipe down the oven's inside and outside. Keep a bucket of water nearby since you'll need to keep rinsing out the sponge.
Getting Rid of the Smoke Smell
Ventilate the kitchen as soon as possible by opening windows and turning on fans. To clean an oven and eliminate the smoke smell, mix one part vinegar with two parts of water in a spray bottle and spritz it all over the oven's interior. This solution should get wiped down with paper towels or a clean, lint-free cloth. Next, mix baking soda and water until a thick paste forms. Spread this all over the surface, working it into any stains.
You can let this paste work overnight, and it will absorb the mess and that awful burnt smell. Then, spray clean water all over the surface and sponge it off. Keep working this way and do not pour water into the oven. If you want to make less work for yourself, though, skip the vinegar and baking soda and use an oven cleaner spray instead. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully.