Ovens see a lot of use, including occasional spills that can burn surfaces, making a charred mess. These baked-on messes can lead to bad odors and smoke coming from the oven if they're not removed periodically, either with the oven's self-cleaning feature or with oven cleaners. Easy-Off is a well-known oven cleaner brand that many people use to remove oven messes. Follow the label directions carefully to prevent problems with smoking and odor after use. If your oven does smoke after cleaning, make sure that you've rinsed and cleaned the oven well. Both leftover cleaning product and any missed food residue can cause smoking.
About Easy-Off Oven Cleaner
The knowledge that Easy-Off can remove burnt-on food and charred residue may prompt you to wonder what, exactly, is in the stuff. And wonder you should. The chemicals in Easy-Off work well, but all are potentially hazardous. Wear gloves when applying Easy-Off, and make sure that the room is properly ventilated. Avoid breathing in the fumes from this product.
Easy-Off uses butane, a powerful petroleum-based solvent, to dissolve charred food at the atomic level by attacking carbon atoms. Monoethanolamine is hard to pronounce. It also breaks down the fatty acids in baked-on food and turns some of them into grease-cutting solvents. Diethylene glycol monobutyl ether, also a mouthful, delays the evaporation of monoethanolamine so it can work longer and dissolve all of the material. Sodium hydroxide, a strong base chemical, eats through the burnt material after the other chemicals have softened it up. These chemicals are all great for dirty ovens but bad for you, so exercise caution when using them.
Oven Smoking Problems
Oven smoke generally comes from the baked-on foods that continue to cook after they have hardened. This produces a strong, unpleasant-smelling smoke that can fill the house and leave a bad odor for some time. Continuing to use a dirty oven is like burning already burnt food again and again. Cleaners can also leave behind residues that create smoke. Given the potentially toxic nature of these chemicals, heating them and inhaling the smoke is definitely something you want to avoid. If your oven is still smoking after you've cleaned it, you either missed a spot or failed to rinse away all of the cleaning chemicals.
Ovens have a variety of crevices and corners where food can hide. Sauces that boil over, grease splatters and burnt food particles can lodge in these areas and create problems even after the use of an oven cleaner. Take note of hard-to-see areas like the underside of rack holders, corners and seams in the oven door when cleaning. If you suspect these areas of harboring hidden dirt after you've cleaned, spray the oven with Easy-Off a second time. Clean the oven again, this time specifically targeting problem areas.
Unless they're completely rinsed from the oven interior, the strong chemicals in oven cleaners can continue to evaporate when you turn on the oven and try to use it. Rinse the Easy-Off oven cleaner from the oven thoroughly, reaching into all corners, nooks and crannies. Use a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water to remove all chemical residue. Next, turn on the oven and allow it to warm for 15 minutes to evaporate any remaining odor before use.
Preventing Oven Smoking Problems
To prevent oven smoking and accompanying odors, clean up spills as soon as they occur. Use oven cleaner to remove burnt-on foods and grease regularly to prevent heavy buildup. The more gunk in your oven, the more likely smoking becomes. Rinse oven cleaners from all oven surfaces thoroughly before using the oven after cleaning.
J. Lang Wood
J. Lang Wood's stories, essays and articles have been seen in journals across the country and online. She is a published short story and essay writer who specializes in travel topics, pets, medical subjects, Florida history, environmental issues, political and business topics. She is the author of the novel "Strays" and holds an Associate of Arts in chemistry from College of DuPage.