What Is The Effect Of Oven Cleaner On Kitchen Countertops
While a multi-purpose cleaner can be a real labor-saver when it comes to keeping your home day-to-day clean, in some cases, it is essential to use the right product for a specific job. And none more so than when it comes to cleaning your oven. Unlike more general cleaning products, oven cleaners are formulated to do one job and are chemically created to do it well. But while the ingredients in your oven cleaner are super-effective when it comes to cutting through all that oven-baked dirt and grease, they can be damaging and even dangerous if used on other surfaces such as countertops in your kitchen. We take a look at when to use an oven cleaner and when you need to look for an alternative.
Oven Cleaner and Its Uses
With all that hot fat, food particles, grease, and juices, our hardworking oven can quickly become gunked up. And, unless you wipe down your oven after every use, the heat can also harden the built-up grime, making it a real chore to keep clean. To loosen and swipe away stubborn and oven-hardened grease and food grime, you need a special cleaner for the job.
The basis for most oven cleaners is sodium hydroxide, which can be a harsh chemical if used in the wrong way – or on the wrong surfaces. Other oven cleaner ingredients can include ethanol, ammonia, and turpentine, as well as fragrances and foaming agents, to create the right cleaning formulation that can cut through all the dirt and grease. Oven cleaner typically comes in a spray foam for easy application and, when left to work for the required period of time, will soften grease and dissolve food particles. The result means you can then easily wipe or scrape away the dirt to leave your oven sparkling clean.
With all those super-cleaning powers, it can seem a good idea to use your oven cleaner on other areas of your kitchen where stubborn and dried-on dirt can collect and build up. However, the chemical composition of an oven cleaner means it should only ever be used on your oven.
What About Kitchen Countertops?
With such an effective outcome, you could be tempted to use an oven cleaner on your kitchen worktops, especially if they are looking grimy or covered in grease. However, using an oven cleaner on a work surface can actually do more harm than good.
It’s the chemical reaction in an oven cleaner that makes it so effective in softening and cutting through all that baked-on dirt. When an oven cleaner comes into contact with the oil and grease it bubbles up in response, eating through the grime. Unfortunately, this reaction isn’t going to do your kitchen countertop any favors, and here are the main reasons why:
- It is toxic: The chemicals in oven cleaner are harsh and can be bad for your health so using the cleaner on a work surface you prepare food on is not a good idea.
- It can cause damage to the surface: The materials commonly used for kitchen countertops such as granite, wood, marble, and stone as well as synthetic alternatives are particularly susceptible to the chemicals found in oven cleaners. This means that using an oven cleaner on these surfaces can cause discoloration and distortion as well as damage any protective layer such as varnish the surface has. Oven cleaner can also cause damage to any grout or sealant.
- The chemicals can be absorbed into the work surface: Many kitchen worktops have a protective surface layer that can be penetrated by the chemicals in an oven cleaner, posing an ongoing risk in the prep of food, even if you have wiped the surface clean.
- It can permanently damage an aluminum countertop: Some chemicals in oven cleaner, particularly sodium hydroxide, will react with aluminum, causing it to be permanently discolored.
Always Use the Right Cleaner for the Right Job
When it comes to kicking greasy and dirty kitchen countertops to the curb, there are other ways to power through the grime, without damaging the surface. Always look for a store-bought cleaner that is specifically formulated for the type of surface you want to clean or opt for an all-round general kitchen cleaner. You want to choose a cleaning product that has the power to cut through grease and grime without the harsh chemicals found in a cleaner specifically created to clean an oven. Then there is safety to consider as you will be using the countersurface to prep, serve or pack food for your family, so look for food-safe cleaners that have minimal chemicals or a natural formula.
Here is our quick guide to choosing the right cleaner for your kitchen countertop:
Never use an oven cleaner: Even if you are short of options, leave the oven cleaner in the cleaning cupboard, and use soap, water, and some elbow grease. Your countertop will thank you for it!
Check the label: It is important to ensure the ingredients of the cleaner are safe to use on the type of kitchen worktop you have. Some may not be safe to use on a wooden surface or may discolor an aluminum counter. If in any doubt, opt for a multi-surface cleaner – this way you may be able to save money too as the cleaner can safely multi-task.
Make your own: If you would prefer to cut down on the chemicals in your cleaning products altogether, then making your own all-purpose kitchen surface cleaner is easier – and cheaper – than you may think. You can make an effective cleaner that cuts through countertop grime with the following, everyday ingredients:
- Pour into a spray bottle four parts water to one-part white vinegar
- Now add a few drops of ordinary dishwashing soap
- Replace the cap onto the bottle and swish around gently, but don’t shake.
- Spray the solution directly onto your worktop and wipe clean, using a soft, microfiber cloth
Make up a batch of our homemade kitchen surface cleaner and keep it on hand for fresh and clean kitchen countertops – and leave the oven cleaner for what it does best.
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