Valdosta Fire Department Stresses the Importance of Cleaning Ovens
Over the weekend, the Valdosta Fire Department responded to several structure fires started by an oven in the kitchen. There are a lot of reasons to keep your kitchen clean. It discourages bugs, reduces the risk of cross contamination, and makes it less flammable. That fine layer of sticky vaporized grease coating poorly maintained cabinets and equipment can help a fire spread even faster than it might otherwise.
How to Clean Inside the Oven:
- Wipe down loose bits of food on the inside with a damp sponge or cloth.
- Clean oven racks by remove them from your oven. Wash the racks one at a time in warm, sudsy water. Scrub stubborn gunk and grime. Rinse the racks, let dry, and slide them back into place.
- The oven door can be cleaned the same way as the interior with warm, sudsy water and a sponge.
“We want to make sure that everyone follows manufacturer's recommendations for their specific oven. Although most ovens are very similar, they are all slightly different,” said Haynes.
The self-cleaning oven feature is a nice, labor saving feature, but it can be a huge fire hazard. Although the fire department does not recommend the use of the self-cleaning feature. If you must use it, please be careful and follow these tips:
- Ensure everything is out of the oven – any plastics or pans with plastic handles will burn
- Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for the self-clean cycle.
- Remove large food particles before using the self-cleaning feature.
- Never put the oven on self-clean and leave home or go to bed.
- Use caution. Even if you have removed all large food particles, you’ll likely have grease or cooking oil splatters and spills to burn off. With an inside temperature exceeding 500°, your leftover grease can start on fire.
“If by chance you do have a grease fire on the stove, you want to make sure you have a lid close by because you can use the lid to cover the fire and call the fire department for further help,” Lieutenant Marcus Haynes “You never want to use water when you have a grease fire. Water causes steam which can cause a steam burn or spread the fire.”
If your oven should catch fire, turn the power setting to "OFF." Usually, the fire will quickly burn itself out and stay contained inside your oven. If it seems to be growing and breaks the glass on your oven door, evacuate the home and call 911. Firefighters will quickly respond for extinguishment and assist with smoke removal.
“Fire extinguishers are good to keep close by in your kitchen. When using you want to remember the acronym PASS, which stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep,” said Haynes.
Quick Cooking Safety Tips:
- Never leave cooking unattended
- Assure bakeware can handle the temperature you've set.
- Keep children away from hot ovens.
- Assure working smoke alarms.
- Keep working fire extinguishers close.