Out, Out Damn Spot - The Fine Art of Oven Cleaning

This post comes a little late in the day because it's content took longer to create than I expected. I've been slowly cleaning up my new vintage Frigidaire Flair range.
Bit by bit, I've been stripping away the grime to reveal a little gem. Today, I tackled the oven cavity.
Having come from a home that had been rented to multiple tenants (none of whom seemed to have the slightest interest in domestic cleanliness) and, well, being almost 50 years old, it was quite a mess, as you can see - and this was after the initial attempt at cleaning it out with hot water and bleach cleaner, which picked up the majority of the crusty drips and spills.

I have a great way to make cleaning an electric oven quite a bit easier and I was excited to implement it on my new baby. I made sure I had everything I needed for the job on hand before I picked a day to start. This method entails filling a bowl with household ammonia and putting it on the top rack, over a pot of water that has just come off a rolling boil.
You then close the oven door and let it stand over night - or in my case, all afternoon (don't try this method on a gas oven - the fumes are flammable). After about 7 or 8 hours, I opened up the oven to begin the real work. In most cases you can just wipe away the spots and stains with a damp sponge. The ammonia fumes are very good at softening grime. In my case it wasn't quite so easy. I had to resort to a nylon scrubber dipped in the ammonia, mixed with dish washing detergent and water to remove the baked on splatters of melted hard candy or exploded batch of crystal meth or whatever it was that had so tenaciously adhered itself to the walls and floor of the oven. It took several hours of scrubbing, letting the ammonia mixture sit on the spots, then scrubbing again. In between times I worked on the racks in the sink. I eventually had to put the racks in a black plastic bag, pour undiluted ammonia over them, tie the bag and put it on the fire escape for several hours to soak off the crusty residue. It was quite an afternoon. My back and shoulders are sore - not to mention my hands. And my fingers are dry, even after being sheathed in fetching orange rubber gloves. However, it was worth it. I can now step back and admire a clean oven.
It's not perfect, but it's decidedly better than it was, and, once it's installed, I believe I'll feel comfortable making a roast or my coconut brownies in there now. Next, the stove top!

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