Remarkable Uses for Oven Cleaner

We bet you never knew you could do this with oven cleaner!

Put the style back in your curling iron

Is your curling iron buried under a layer of caked-on styling gel or conditioner? Before the next time you use it, spray on a light coating of oven cleaner. Let it sit for one hour, then wipe it off with a damp rag, and dry with a clean cloth. Warning: Do not use iron until it is thoroughly dry.

Wipe away bathtub ring

Got a stubborn stain or ring around your white porcelain tub that refuses to come clean? Call out the big guns by spraying it with oven cleaner. Let it sit for a few hours, then give it a thorough rinsing. Warning: Do not apply oven cleaner to colored porcelain tubs; it could cause fading. And be careful not to get the oven cleaner on your shower curtain; it can ruin both plastic and fabric.

Clean grimy tile grout lines

Ready for an all-out attack on grout grunge? First, make sure you have plenty of ventilation — it’s a good idea to use your exhaust fan to suck air out of a small bathroom. Put on your rubber gloves and spray oven cleaner into the grout lines. Wipe the cleaner off with a sponge within five seconds. Rinse thoroughly with water to reveal sparkling grout lines.

Clean ovenproof glass cookware

You’ve tried everything to scrub those baked-on stains off your Pyrex or CorningWare cookware. Now try this: Put on rubber gloves and cover the cookware with oven cleaner. Then place the cookware in a heavy-duty garbage bag, close it tightly with twist ties, and leave overnight. Open the bag outdoors, keeping your face away from the dangerous fumes. Use rubber gloves to remove and wash the cookware.

Clean a cast-iron pot

If you need to clean and re-season that encrusted secondhand cast-iron skillet you found at a yard sale, start by giving it a good spraying with oven cleaner and placing it in a sealed plastic bag overnight. (This keeps the cleaner working by preventing it from drying.) The next day, remove the pot and scrub it with a stiff wire brush. Then, wash it thoroughly with soap and water, rinse well, and immediately dry it with a couple of clean, dry cloths. Note: This technique eliminates built-up gunk and grease, but not rust. For that, you’ll need to use vinegar. Don’t leave it on too long, though. Prolonged exposure to vinegar can damage your cast-iron utensil.

Remove stains from concrete

Get those unsightly grease, oil, and transmission fluid stains off your concrete driveway or garage floor. Spray them with oven cleaner. Let it settle for 5-10 minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush and rinse it off with your garden hose at its highest pressure. Severe stains may require a second application.

Strip paint or varnish

For an easy way to remove paint or varnish from wooden or metal furniture, try using a can of oven cleaner; it costs less than commercial paint strippers and is easier to apply (that is, if you spray rather than brush it on). After applying, scrub off the old paint with a wire brush. Neutralize the stripped surface by coating it with vinegar, and then wash it off with clean water. Allow the wood or metal to thoroughly dry before repainting. Don’t use oven cleaner to strip antiques or expensive furnishings; it can darken the wood or discolor the metal.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest