All it takes is a few family meals to turn your once-sparkling stovetop and oven into a frightful mess. The easy solution—reaching for a commercial cleaner—is hardly the green solution, as those products often contain nasty chemicals. If you want to be both clean and green, reach for gentler solutions. Better yet, fashion your own homemade cleaner using items already on hand.
Green clean your stovetop
The problem: Baked-on stove gunk can be a real pain. But beware of “grease-cutting” cleaners that contain glycol ethers, solvents linked to health problems ranging from reproductive damage to eye and respiratory-tract irritation.
The solution: To prevent the gunk in the first place, get in the habit of cleaning your stovetop after every meal. For stubborn food bits and sauces, combine equal parts vinegar and baking soda, add some elbow grease, and scrub away.
Green clean your oven
The problem: Considering the warning labels affixed to some oven cleaners—wear gloves, avoid direct skin contact, don’t breathe vapors—it’s safe to assume there’s nasty stuff inside. There is, namely petroleum distillates, among others, which can cause headaches and respiratory ailments.
The solution: Coat interior surfaces with a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water. Allow the mixture to sit overnight before wiping off with a sponge. Feeling lazy? You can always seek out earth-friendly cleaners that rely on citrus oil and plant-based surfactants to get the job done.