Family and appreciating life are the things Thanksgiving is all about. Of course, food is also a protagonist, and the turkey is the king of the table. Along with this bird there are also pies and casseroles that are staples of this magnificent celebration. Once the family has gathered and shared many more moments to be thankful for, what’s left? A ton of memories and an indescribable mess in the kitchen… starting with the oven!

La Posada, in Santa Fe

As the person with the company in charge of the cleanliness of many vacation homes in Santa Fe, Ana Valenzuela has seen and heard it all the day after Thanksgiving. Today she wants to share her secrets with others, thanks to the many questions she gets after the owners of such homes see the impeccable results: shinny-looking ovens ready to be used for many more family dinners.   

Should I use the automatic cleaning function and call it a day?

Well, not really. Let’s start by saying that not all ovens come with that feature. Then, many of those which do, leave the house smelling so badly, you have to plan ahead and make sure no one is home during an entire day (yes, it takes a really long time) while the self-cleaning function is on. And last but not least, with all the activity the oven endures before Thanksgiving dinner, this automatic cleaning function won’t be enough. Even if you decide to choose it, it needs a professional hand to finish the task and leave the oven clean for real.

I don’t like using chemical products in the house. Do you know any natural ways to clean the oven?

Yes, there’s a great old recipe that works wonders. The best part is that we all have the ingredients in our pantries: baking soda and vinegar! These two, along with rubber gloves and a good scrubbing pad will leave your oven like new. In a bowl, mix a 1/2 cup of baking soda with about 2 or 3 tablespoons of water. You can adjust the quantities of both until the paste has a good, spreadable consistency. Take out all the racks, put on rubber gloves and coat all the (non-heating) interior surfaces of the oven. Wait a couple of minutes and then scrub around until you feel you’ve covered every corner. Let it sit overnight. The next day, use a damp dish cloth to remove as much paste as you can. Use vinegar to remove any baking soda residue and continue to wipe off any paste residue. You’ll start to see how clean and shiny the oven looks. Use a clean, wet cloth to finish the process, wiping every surface until the oven is free of residue.

I’ve heard ammonia is also used to clean ovens. Do you know the proper way to do it?

Although at Ana Valenzuela’s Home Cleaning Services we use professional grade cleaners, sometimes we have to use this trick to help ourselves. Many people add Thanksgiving food spillage to old residues and grime definitely piles up! Ammonia is used to help loosen this grime and make easier the cleaning and scrubbing process. And this is how you do it:

  • Use a pot to bring water to a boil while you heat up the oven to 150 degrees (Fahrenheit). Turn it off. Remember to turn off the gas and pilot light if you have a gas oven.
  • Place the boiling water in an oven-safe bowl and put it on the bottom rack. Use another heat-safe bowl on the top rack, and fill it with 1 cup of ammonia.
  • Close the oven door and leave it for at least 12 hours.
  • Remove both bowls along with the oven racks and leave the door of the oven open for at least 20 minutes. Put gloves on, and add warm water and liquid dish soap to the ammonia. Use this mix to clean and scrub, along with a heavy-duty scrubbing pad.
  • Wipe off all the residue with a clean, wet cloth rag. 

There you have it. Practical tips from an expert that will certainly give you some piece of mind when you think about the aftermath of this important family gathering.

Santa Fe has a little bit of everything, so it’s common to see tourists and visitors coming to enjoy the weather, art or natural attractions that surround the city at any given point throughout the year. Thanksgiving week is certainly a time of high activity, when those who live afar come to reunite with family while others precisely decide to make Santa Fe the ideal place to say thanks, together. Let Ana Valenzuela Cleaning Services take care of all your needs, so you can enjoy your family time so much more.


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