Tag Archives: Cleaning

How to ‘green clean’ your oven

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Oh, I tried chemical oven cleaner once. Never again.

Although I thought I’d rinsed the oven thoroughly, some oven cleaner residue was lurking still… and it nearly killed us ūüėĮ

So these days I use the natural method of oven cleaning, which requires nothing more than some bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar, and a bit of elbow grease!

For those who would also like to steer clear of dangerous chemicals and have a spotless oven, here’s a quick pictorial.

This is what my oven looked like beforehand. It’s not as bad as it could be, but still¬†speckled with¬†baked-on dirt. Yuck!

My oven before

My oven before

A closer look

A closer look

I don’t know about the rest of you, but¬†I only clean my oven roughly every six months (hey,¬†stop¬†judging me!).¬†It’s a lot of work and I doubt anyone enjoys the task, but it has to be done.

A last look at the dirt inside

A last look at the dirt inside

Cleaning the oven with bicarb and vinegar is a two-part process, because you need to leave it overnight (same as with some chemical oven cleaners).

Step 1: Liberally sprinkle bicarb in the oven

Step 1: Liberally sprinkle bicarb in the oven

For the first step, try to get the bicarb up on the top of the oven and in all the hard-to-reach corners too. You could also make a paste with bicarb and water to get it to stick if needed.

Step 2: Spray the bicarb with white vinegar

Step 2: Spray the bicarb with white vinegar

Be warned: Step 2 releases some caustic fumes, though nothing compared to the dangerous fumes from chemical cleaners. I spritz the vinegar onto the soda with a spray bottle, which helps to reach odd spots.

The bicarb and vinegar immediately react with a hiss

The bicarb and vinegar immediately react with a hiss

Now you can leave the mixture to¬†do¬†the hard work overnight while¬†you sleep ūüôā¬†I take out all the trays and racks and treat them separately and leave them¬†in the bath. Our oven’s door also detaches easily, which makes the job simpler.

Step 3: The overnight work

In the morning you should see that much of the mixture has dried. Often it will have turned brown in spots, which is how you know that it’s been eating away at the dirt on that surface.

Step 4: The hard work begins

Step 4: The hard work begins

Now it’s time to put on your gloves, grab a scouring pad and start scrubbing. If you did a thorough job on the first two steps, the mixture of bicarb and vinegar will have lifted off¬†a lot of dirt and grease that can just be wiped away. In the pic above you can see a circular area I’ve scrubbed clean without much effort.

A helpful tool: the partitioned bucket

I¬†recently bought a cleaning bucket with two separate sections for clean and dirty water. This was a¬†great help and is a worthwhile investment (although I can’t help wishing it came with wheels too).

Step 5: Scrubbing, rinsing and drying

Step 5: Scrubbing, rinsing and drying

There’s no secret to the rest of the job: it’s just¬†scrubbing, rinsing and drying. I lay newspaper on the floor to catch the inevitable spills, and wipe up the excess bicarb with paper towels. The roof of the oven is my least favourite part because of the awkward access, but with persistence it comes clean as well.

It’s a tedious job that took me just over an hour (maybe because of all the interruptions for photos?), but you can make good use of the time by listening to music or audio books in the background as you work. The great thing about using ‘green cleaners’ such as bicarb and vinegar is that if for some reason you don’t rinse them off properly, they won’t harm you or the food you cook in the oven afterwards.

And the results are just as¬†good as with¬†any chemical cleaner! ūüôā

Sparkling clean again

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The Host

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Well, I had a whole bunch of good intentions for starting off the week yesterday, but life isn’t always a straight line. The trick is learning to adapt to the curveballs instead of getting frustrated by them.

I started strong, kicking off my day with cleaning and grocery shopping. But around midday¬†our power and water were both cut off! I couldn’t do any more¬†of the washing, cooking or cleaning that I’d planned.

Rather than sit around doing some proverbial thumb-twiddling, I used the sudden gift of¬†free time to check off another goal on my 101 things in 1001 days list: Goal #89 ‚Äď Go to a movie by myself. At least they had electricity and running water at the mall!

I went to see The Host, and¬†enjoyed it… it was kind of like a girly romantic sci-fi. I’m not usually into sci-fi all that much, but Stephanie Meyer has a knack for making otherworldly plots appeal to gals too ūüėČ

Anyway, yesterday also showed me God’s grace and perfect timing in my life. For the first time ever, I decided to split up¬†my shopping. My plan was¬†to¬†first buy all the dry goods and¬†take them home, and then later go back to the shops to purchase all the perishable items such as frozen fish, meat and fresh veggies. My reasoning at the time was that if I could get these items straight from the shops into my cooler bag and into my fridge as quickly as possibly, I might avoid them going bad (I think bad frozen fish ‚Äď and not the Easter feast ‚Ästwas actually¬†what nailed me¬†with food poisoning¬†a couple of weeks ago).

So I did my dry-goods shopping at a normal pace and brought home all the goodies. After I’d finished unpacking the grocery bags, I took a breather for five minutes and¬†got ready to leave¬†to buy¬†the perishable items. Then, just as I was about to leave, the power and water were cut.

My first reaction was natural¬†frustration, but that quickly turned to amazement at the¬†divine timing of each event. If I’d bought all the shopping at once as usual¬†without coming home, or if I’d left five minutes sooner for the second round, I would have had hundreds of rands’ worth of perishable items sitting in a fridge that couldn’t stay cold. The¬†electricity and water¬†only came back five hours later ‚Äď that would have been long enough to defrost and ruin my frozen fish and other delicate items.

Many may see that as a lucky coincidence, but to me it shows clearly that I have a loving Father who’s involved in the smallest details of my life. As Proverbs 16:9 tells us, ‘A man’s heart¬†plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.’ I’m grateful the Lord directed me to do something out of the ordinary and mercifully¬†prevented me from wasting a lot of money and good food ūüôā

'Direction' © Sunshine Scrapbook

‘Direction’ ¬© Sunshine Scrapbook

Spring cleaning in autumn

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It’s been a couple of days since I’ve had the chance to post here… I’ve just¬†taken a long weekend away ūüôā¬†At least once or twice a year I try to take a few days’ break¬†in routine to visit my folks in my childhood home and to¬†get together with¬†my friends. Here’s a pic I took in my parents’ garden:

Leaf

Autumn leaf in a birdbath

It was¬†rewarding to get a little break and spend time with the people I love.¬†I even managed to cross off Goal #94 ‚Äď Have professional photos taken ‚Ästas my friends and I went for a mini professional photoshoot together :mrgreen:

Now that I’m back home, I’m expecting¬†the¬†week ahead to be filled¬†with major housework. I hope to get my home sorted out in preparation for¬†the following¬†week when I begin three months of office work. I have a long list of chores to get through, from defrosting the fridge to cleaning the oven (bleh).

But in an odd way, I’m actually looking forward to this. While many of my fellow bloggers from the northern hemisphere are spring cleaning as their weather gets warmer, I’m doing an autumn clean-out¬†before a long and busy winter.

This wave of housework coincides with changing my meal planner from the spring & summer one (packed with salads and summery dishes) to the autumn & winter one (full of soups and comfort foods). I also tend to do my bulk shopping every six months or so, and the time has now come to restock my cupboards with non-perishable items.

All of this also¬†happens to be at¬†the end of the month, when my cupboards are bare and my fridge is empty. I just love it when so many loose ends tie up around the same time! It feels like I’m neatly closing¬†off the past few months and getting ready for the next season of life.

So if you don’t hear too much from me this week, it’s because I’ll be up to my elbows in dirt and detergent.

But I’ll catch you on the flipside ūüėČ