Sadly, cheap oven cleaning solutions do not always end up saving you time and money. In the past it was common for people to line the base of their oven with tin foil to help keep the bottom of the oven clean and free from the results of food spills. That was a good idea, the problem is, we do not use tin foil anymore, we use aluminium foil which has a much lower tolerance for heat and poses more than one threat to your oven:
- Some ovens have a hidden heating element in their base. If you put aluminium foil directly on top of that element you trap heat between the oven base and the foil, the heat cannot escape and builds. Eventually the heat can become so intense the foil melts and the base of your oven can warp. At that point, the problem is beyond simple oven cleaning, you will need an engineer.
- If grease and food debris get caught between the oven base and the foil it can melt and act like glue. The foil will stick to the oven and you have made the job of oven cleaning much, much tougher not easier.
- Aluminium foil is flammable, putting it on the base of a gas oven is a fire risk
- Ovens are designed to reach and maintain specific temperatures, lining the base of the oven with foil may interfere with the operation of the oven as heat is unexpectedly reflected back onto the ovens heating elements
Manufacturers are aware of the risks to your oven and most specifically warn you against putting aluminium foil on the base of your oven. However, you will have to read your oven manual in full to find that warning. If you have not done that and are faced with melted aluminium in your oven you may find the cost of any repair is not covered under you warranty.
Oven Cleaning Process to Remove Melted Aluminium
If you have had a disaster and are trying to remove melted aluminium we recommend the following process:
- Let the oven cool completely
- Use a bladed oven scraper to remove as much of the foil as possible
- Make sure your kitchen is well ventilated
- Apply an oven cleaner that contains sodium hydroxide, commonly called caustic soda. It will be a cleaner that warns you not to put it on aluminium because it can melt it, but in the case of aluminium stuck to an oven floor that is exactly what you want to happen.
- Leave the cleaner for 20 minutes then wipe off
- Repeat until all the aluminium spots are gone and your oven is clean.
Seymours Oven Cleaning Team