Commercial oven cleaners are effective in the oven but are toxic and can damage other kitchen surfaces that may come into contact.
The ovens get dirty. If you must use an oven cleaner, limit to the oven.
Commercial oven cleaners (https://goodhomeids.com) are a mixture of toxic and aggressive chemicals – they need to be, to have the desired effect on dripping the bottom of your oven. Because they are acidic and alkaline, these chemicals not only work together to soften cooked foods but also interact with oven components to improve oven cleaning properties.
** Sodium hydroxide **, for example, also known as caustic soda, is strongly alkaline and can cause chemical burns to human skin. When caustic soda comes in contact with fatty triglyceride molecules – fat – it saponifies, creating a raw form of soap.
** Monoethanolamine **, also a common ingredient in oven cleaners, neutralizes some of the fatty acids in the oven and converts others to solvents. Monoethanolamine is a carcinogen.
Another carcinogen, ** methylene chloride **, a solvent often found in paint strippers, is also a common ingredient in oven cleaners.
In other words, chemicals in oven cleaners are dangerous to the same properties that make them effective in cleaning your oven.
Its effect on your countertops
The harsh chemicals in oven cleaners also attack the finish of many countertop materials, resulting in permanent damage or the need for extensive restoration.
** Granite and marble countertops ** are apparently waterproof, but natural stone is porous and requires periodic sealing to remain non-porous and stain-resistant. The oven cleaner will attack the surface sealant, allowing toxic chemicals to penetrate the stone.
** Quartz ** and other designed stones are crushed natural stones, glued with resin and usually colored with dyes. [Oven cleaner compromises the resin] and the dye, spoiling the surface of the counter and discoloring it.
The surface can be polished, but there is no practical cure for discoloration.
** Solid Surface ** Countertops, such as Corian and Avonite, are acrylic with mineral compounds and added dyes. Oven cleaners will attack the surface finish and, like the projected stone, can also cause permanent discoloration.
The finish can be repaired, but the discoloration is forever.
** Wooden ** Countertops are sealed and varnished. Oven cleaner chemicals soften and deface the varnish and possibly allow toxic compounds to enter the wood.
The countertops, once damaged, will need to be removed and revitalized.
** Stainless steel countertops ** are protected against corrosion by an invisible layer of chromium oxide. When scratched, the chrome in stainless steel reacts with oxygen to “cure” the scratch.
The acids and alkalis of the oven cleaner are very caustic for the chrome oxide protective layer to recover. Once chromium oxide is compromised, discoloration and corrosion can set in, requiring extensive retouching.
** Laminate countertops **, such as Formica, are sensitive to cleaning agents that contain hard acids or alkalis. The oven cleaner may discolor and etch the surface, causing permanent damage. Replacing the damaged surface is the only solution ** Tile countertops ** are especially vulnerable to porous mortar between tiles, but some oven cleaners can also damage tile finish.
Individual parts can be cut and replaced, but it is best not to incur damage first.
A better solution
Although effective, oven cleaners can be risky to use. They are harmful to the home environment and destructive when moving away from the oven.
A greener approach is to physically remove as much of the baked material as possible (a metal spatula works well for it) and then apply a baking soda paste and water to the bottom of the oven. Leave the paste for several hours, periodically spraying it with water to keep it moist.
Sponge the paste and the residue.
If you prefer to use a commercially formulated oven cleaner, Arm & Hammer makes one with a baking soda base.