Kitchen fires are serious and they could cause heavy property damage, not to mention the health risks involved for you and your family. Often, those fires are in direct correlation with postponing or neglecting altogether the cleaning of the oven.
But how exactly can a dirty oven be the cause of a domestic fire? Is a smoking oven dangerous and what measure do you need to take? The answers to these and more questions you will find below!
What causes a smoking oven is likely the result of oil and grease buildup inside the oven. When different foods are exposed to the heat, especially those rich in fat, oil can splash the walls and ceiling of your appliance.
Considering also how frequently we spill or drop a piece of meat or another food to the floor of the oven, you can see how all parts of the appliance are exposed and can easily get dirty.
Once they’re heated again, oily stains and food pieces begin to boil and release carbon-based fumes as a result. Because the smoke itself has greasy components, it will stink everything it gets in contact with, giving you the impression that your whole house smells for days.
Spills and dirt inside your oven are mostly made of food. As we all know, food attracts different kinds of pests. While it’s less likely to attract a mice or a rat, one of the other downsides of a dirty oven is that it can be a magnet for cockroaches.
Is a smoking oven dangerous?
These rich in carbon fumes can be dangerous to us if we inhale them frequently or we are exposed to them for long periods of time. Fortunately, it is unlikely for them to cause long-term damage. However, those fumes can easily ruin a perfectly good meal.
Cooking in a dirty oven can certainly affect the food cooked inside in a negative way. If you’re into baking and love cooking sweet goodies, you’ll soon find that the baked food absorbs the fumes. The food ends up having a bad taste.
A lot of grease in the oven will also make it harder for the appliance to gain and maintain temperature. This will interfere with the cooking and it can result in a higher electricity bill.
Let’s also not forget that grease and oil are both flammable. Having a buildup of those substances in your oven can cause more inconveniences than just smoke coming out of the oven when cooking. They can also lead to malfunctions and possible need of oven repair in the more severe cases. While less likely, it is still possible for a fire to break out inside your kitchen, so do not leave your working electrical or gas appliance unattended.
How to stop the oven from smoking
Now that we’ve identified the most likely reason for the smoking oven problem, let’s see what you can do about it. Keep in mind that while grease buildup is the most common, it is definitely not the only cause for the unpleasant odour coming out of your appliance. If the oven is smoking, there is usually a good reason behind it, and it is essential to be certain what causes the problem before you move on to solving it.
Give your oven a deep clean
That’s an obvious and yet often neglected solution that can solve your smoking oven issue with just an hour or two of work. That’s the good news… The bad news is that a simple wiping with a damp cloth will not be sufficient. Burnt-on grease can be really tough to remove, but getting all those food remains will make your oven work with ease, not to mention how nice and shiny the whole thing will look.
We advise giving a natural oven cleaning blend a try if you haven’t done it before. As a non-chemical product, it is less aggressive on the surface, safer and does not leave a chemical residue on the treated areas.
We need to clarify that homemade cleaners may not be as effective on ovens with significant staining and layers of buildup grease. These may require a stronger chemical-based detergent that can break down the grime faster, saving you some heavy scrubbing, too.
A leftover cleaning agent can be also responsible for your smoky cooking appliance. Just like the oil, detergent residue can begin emitting fumes as it burns out. They are just as toxic, so opening a window as soon as you smell them is a must.
If you decide to stick to a commercial oven cleaner, though, we recommend you wipe every treated part with clean water after the cleaning. This increases the chance of lifting the chemical residue from the appliance’s walls and bottom before turning the oven on again.
However, it’s still a good practice to postpone using the oven for at least 30 min after cleaning with commercial detergent to allow the surface to dry completely before use.
This refers to turning on your newly purchased electric cooking appliance and leaving it to work empty for an hour on average. This is usually listed as recommended practice in the manual for most of the new oven models on the market, but not everyone is aware of it. Therefore, this could lead to panic and confusion when cooking with the appliance for the first time.
Letting it work like that guarantees that any protective oil coating applied by the manufacturer will burn out on its own instead of affecting your first ever cooked meal in the new oven. You may sense the distinctive smell of burning plastic or oil and in some cases, even some light smoke could appear.
This is normal and should gradually disappear as the appliance continues to work. If not, then it’s good to have someone to check on it, just to be on the safe side.
Service your cooking appliance frequently
Again, we need to emphasise that the previously mentioned burning plastic smell and light smoke are only in order when a brand new oven is involved. If you notice any of these on an old appliance, then some detailed inspection is in order.
The longer an oven is in service, the higher the chances are of a heating element wearing out or another part of the oven breaking down. The sooner you replace it, the better.
Since most oven repairs require taking the appliance apart, we do not recommend attempting to do this yourself unless you have experience and are completely sure you can put everything back together. It is safer and quicker to get a professional who can locate the faulty element and replace it without risk.
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