Today’s post is going to amaze you, and at the same time probably gross you out a little. You’ve been forewarned. It all started with a burnt out light bulb. I was making a grilled cheese sandwich for my youngest on the stove when the light above the stove went out. Since I have this thing about needing to see what it is I’m cooking, I had to put the cheese sandwich on hold while I went in search of a new bulb.
As I was changing the bulb I unfortunately noticed the condition of the underside of the hood above my stove. YUCK! Kinda wish I hadn’t done that. Normally all I see is front of the stove hood, which I manage to keep pretty clean. Well don’t let that fool you, underneath lurks a beast!
A beast in the form of the oven vent filter! I must have looked at that thing a hundred times and not even thought twice about how dirty it must be – until today that is. So slight change of plans for the afternoon. I finished the grilled cheese sandwich and went to consult with my friend Google. It didn’t take long for me to find an incredibly helpful and informative website called The Manly Housekeeper where the (manly) Mark did a post about this very subject!
I immediately decided the idea had merit…so I was off and running with it. Little did I know what I was getting myself in to.
Mark’s “How-To” on cleaning greasy oven vent filters is simple. Haul out your biggest pot, fill it with water and bring it to a boil. Then add 1/2 cup of baking soda, very slowly! Literally, you have to add it about a tablespoon at a time because it immediately fizzes up quite alarmingly! (The fizz goes right away.) Then take your caked-with-grease filter and submerge it in the pot. (Well, 1/2 of it anyway.)
For the first few minutes I watched in fascination as the boiling water went to work on the grease. You could see it just melting off. But my fascination soon turned to disgust as I continue to watch my filter “cook” in the water. I think the pictures tell the story…
I couldn’t believe how much grease just kept bubbling up to the surface! I finally decided that I should empty this pot o’ sludge, and give the vent another treatment with a clean pot of water and more baking soda. So I took out the vent, and dumped the grease slick out in the backyard (I wasn’t about to dump it down my sink!) When I got back in I decided to try rinsing the vent with really hot water out of the tap before boiling it again, but it turned out that’s all it took to get the rest of the grease out. I kept rinsing until the water ran clear, and that was that.
After letting the vent dry for the rest of the day propped up on top of the stove, I returned it to it’s home and it was a pretty great feeling knowing it was now a grease-free zone.
All-in-all it really was a simple fix – one that could have been a lot worse had it involved hand-to-hand combat with the grease. Come to think of it, the only time my hands touched grease was taking the filter out in the first place. Thanks Manly Mark! I owe you one! :-)