If you’ve ever seen the effect of over cleaner on kitchen countertops, you’ve likely developed a healthy fear of re-purposing your oven cleaner. Oven cleaners are commonly made of pungent commercial ingredients that are known to be huge health hazards. One common ingredient found in many oven cleaners is Sodium Hydroxide, also known as Lye. This highly corrosive compound is also found in drain cleaners.


The effect of these chemicals is tremendous on the corrosive caking within ovens. Chemicals like Lye eat away at organic materials quickly, which can include some more natural materials like wood. If you are considering using oven cleaner to wipe down your countertop there are a few things you may want to mull over first. Take a stroll down the home cleaning aisle in the grocery store, and try not to be overwhelmed by the powerful aroma—you can’t. These smells often strike us as potent and have been known to irritate the sinus cavity and nasal passages. That’s our bodies’ way of saying: “hey, there are toxic materials around you!”

Toxic Free Kitchen Cleaners

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Natural Response to Toxins

Our bodies respond in such manner to foreign compounds that we are not familiar with. These powerful smells represent compounds that have been far-removed from their natural states and combined in un-natural fashions. In other words: things you won’t find in Nature. Any products that contain non-natural compounds should be scrutinized before use in the home (or other places for that matter!) Potent synthetic chemicals found in kitchen cleaners, especially in oven cleaners, are often corrosion to organic matter such as wood and skin. Think of it like this: if something is powerful enough to scrub metal clean it’s likely pretty nasty stuff!

Toxic Chemicals Can Embed in Your Counter

Your kitchen counter can absorb toxic chemicals depending on what material it’s made of. Materials like woods and butcher blocks are an easy guess, but other materials like marble can absorb things as well. If you are spraying toxic chemicals on your countertop, there’s a chance that they will be absorbed to some degree. This type of leeching could build up overtime, exposing more toxins than your might realize. If you are chopping or serving food, this could potentially lead to a toxic situation.

Your kitchen counter can absorb toxic chemicals depending on what material it’s made of

Any skin to counter contact could also potentially spread these toxins to you and your family members as well. The harmful ingredients found in many commercial oven cleaners are also capable of deteriorating many types of finishing and clear coatings place on kitchen countertops. There are quite a few healthy and environmentally friendly alternatives to toxic oven cleaners. By using eco-friendly products you are removing much of the need to rely on toxic alternatives.

Make Your Own Natural Oven Cleaner

Natural is amazing, and sometimes the simplest compounds are capable of miraculous things! Ovens accumulate much scum through spills, dropped food, and overflow accidents. To make matters worse, these accidents are usually ‘baked’ on by the extreme heat, making them harder to remove. What you often end up with are crusty splatters of meals past, constantly nagging at you to clean your oven. Rather than spraying toxic chemicals into your oven, or using them to clean your countertops, there is a simple home recipe for oven cleaner that can help you.

Baking Soda & Vinegar Oven Cleaner Recipe

  • In a mixing bowl, pour approximately 1 cup of baking soda
  • Mix in water slowly, until the baking soda becomes a thin paste. You don’t want this to be liquid, but you also don’t want it to be too thick. Feel free to add in more baking soda if you start getting it too thin.
  • Apply this mixture to the parts of your oven you are cleaning. You can spread it out however you find to be easiest, though an old paintbrush works wonders! You want to cover the entire inside of your oven with this mixture, and then you will let it dry. Often, it’s convenient to simply do this step before you go to bed, and let the paste dry over night.
  • After your baking soda solution has dried, you’ll want to wipe it down with a wet cloth. You don’t need to worry about removing all of the solutions. 
  • Once you have the majority of the baking soda removed, you will take a white vinegar solution and apply to the inside of the oven. This can be done with a towel, your old paintbrush again, or (our favorite way) by filling up a spray bottle with a vinegar/water solution. This will cause a bubbling reaction which will catalyze another round of deep cleaning on your oven’s surface.
  • After this process is complete you are pretty much done. Some find that wiping things down with a wet towel afterward can be useful, and help reduce the smell of vinegar—and remove any crud that was dissolved. At this point, your oven should be looking pretty darn clean. 

Final Considerations

Oven cleaners are nasty chemical products that are harmful to our health. Using these toxic chemicals to clean your oven is bad enough, but allowing them to make contact with other kitchen surfaces can be borderline reckless. You, your family, and any guests you have over will likely make direct contact with your kitchen counter. Many materials will absorb the harmful ingredients in oven cleaner, and they can leach into our bodies after hiding in the surfaces of kitchen counters. To help avoid this type of pitfall, you can opt to use a safe, all-natural oven cleaner such as the one listed in this article. Safe and natural ingredients aren’t always as effective as nasty chemicals, but they almost always safer.

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