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Where There’s Smoke

Reading Time: 3 minutes

My confession: my kitchen gets really flippin’ filthy every weekend. Cleaning up is the hardest part of the meal-prep lifestyle. 

I can’t even pretend to be nearly disciplined enough to deep clean the kitchen after every session. A surface clean is usually my best offering. Maybe one day I will be a Stepford Wife, but today is not that day. Probably won’t be tomorrow either. 

After an incident with a shepherds pie this weekend, I accepted the fact that it was indeed time for some serious cleaning. 

Now, I’ve seen a lot of oven cleaning hacks on Pinterest in my day. They mostly involve a vinegar-and-baking-soda scrubbing solution, but I thought surely there’s an even easier way! 

And there is!* 

The asterisk means I’m full of <bleep>. Read on for the full story. 

Easy Things Should Be Easy

Or have I missed the plot completely?

Most ovens these days come with a self cleaning function. Simply empty your oven, select “clean,” set the timer, and hit start. 

Doesn’t get much easier than that, right?****

Notice all the <bleeping> asterisks. 

Here’s my first tip. Only use this method when your family and pets are out of the house, because the potential for emotional trauma is quite high. 

This process works by burning caked-on grease to ash so you can easily wipe it away. As you can imagine this gets very hot…

…and smoky.

Ten minutes into the three hour cleaning cycle, I saw smoke rising. Clever girl that I am, I cracked open the nearest windows, turned on a fan, and settled in for a nap. The moment I drifted off to sleep, the smoke alarm outside my door began to screech. 

‘Screech’ in this case is an egregious understatement. 

I have never heard anything that loud in my entire life. Props to SimpliSafe for creating such a determined piece of technology. Nobody in your zip code would be able to sleep through this alarm. Consider your life saved. 

I spent the next few minutes running through the house opening all the windows and doors – to no avail. The other smoke alarms across the house joined in the cacophony and in that pitiful moment I realized I did not know how to turn off a smoke alarm. Like, is there a secret false alarm procedure I should know about? Please enlighten me in the comments. 

I eventually had the bright idea to use a paper fan to clear the air directly beneath the kitchen alarm’s sensor. To my surprise, all the alarms went silent after a few minutes of fanning.

I breathed a sigh of relief a little too soon. When the ringing in my ears stopped, I heard what was unmistakably a fire truck turning onto my street. I was pretty sure that I was about to die of shame. 

I sprinted to the driveway to shoo the firemen away, but as I started to shout that there was no fire, the smoke alarms took up their performance again.  I gave the firemen my biggest smile and a thumbs up to let them know that this was a perfectly normal Saturday for me. 

I wish there was video of this exchange, but I honestly didn’t have enough wit about me to record anything. 

This video is a complete waste of your time. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I slinked back into the house to continue my fanning and just hoped for the best. Mind you, all of this excitement occurred just 30 minutes into the cleaning cycle. There was a lot more burning to go. 

I was so exhausted at the end of it all that I didn’t even wipe the ash away! 

I bet you thought you were going to learn something useful today, huh? 

Do let me know how it goes if you are brave enough to try your oven’s self cleaner, but here’s my pro tip: find a better tutorial on Pinterest. 

As always, have fun!


Hi, I'm Chioma Ikoku, a spirited explorer and a peace-loving homebody. I founded Casa Diem Life to help you combine the excitement of travel with the comfort of home, because I believe that adventure begins at home.

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