First, put the baby to sleep (and wait ten minutes to make sure she’s really asleep). Wish that the toddler would nap too, but realize it’s not going to happen and that oven won’t clean itself. Gather your supplies: paper towel, rubber gloves, natural oven cleaner.
Next, open oven, remove first oven rack and allow toddler to help remove second oven rack. Warn toddler to stand back and spray oven with cleaner. Repeat warning every thirty seconds as toddler advances. Close oven door and turn on oven fan. Read a story to toddler while waiting the required twenty minutes for oven cleaner to work.
Don yellow gloves, gather the paper towel, and open the door. Commence scrubbing oven door and only mentally saying nasty things about the stains that aren’t coming out despite being soaked in cleaner. Tell toddler to stay away from oven door. Repeat warning to toddler to stay away from oven door. Throw out first handfuls of paper towels. Toddler observes, “Dirty. Garbage.”
Commence scrubbing interior of oven. Try to tell toddler that she cannot lean on oven door (even though Mommy is practically doing that in her attempt to clean the oven.) Try to tell toddler she doesn’t need “mitts” even though mommy is wearing some. Repeat this three or four times as toddler says, “Mitts, peas.” Tell toddler not to touch oven door again.
Throw out more paper towels. Toddler wants a paper towel to scrub the oven door. Allow toddler to help unroll and hand Mommy paper towels, about as fast as Mommy needs them. Try not to break the light as you scrub the back of the oven.
Pour oven cleaner in bottom of oven on tough dirt spots. Remind yourself to add oven liner to the grocery list to make the oven easier to clean next time. Tell toddler to get off the door again. Tell toddler she doesn’t need “soap” for her “towel.” Scrub oven door again. Use wet paper towel to begin washing oven cleaner off the oven and decide that oven is clean enough—too bad for the stains that won’t come off (maybe they were there when you moved in).
Tell toddler that “mitts” are “dirty” and she cannot wear them. Scrub oven racks with a metal scrubby (at least they are easier to clean). Move over so that toddler can stand on chair watching you scrub oven racks. Wash toddler’s hands. Rinse oven racks, return to oven, close door and wash down outside of oven. Remind yourself that this job should be done semi-annually and not left until you move out of the next place in four years or so (try not to think about what an oven would look life if not cleaned for four years).
Tell toddler, “Oven done.” Toddler nods and repeats, “Oven done.” (Hurrah.)
Check to see what’s next on the list of spring cleaning tasks to do with a toddler…
More Tips for Cleaning an Oven with a Toddler
- use a natural cleaner such as Norwex, baking soda and vinegar or citrus peels and water
- find jobs your toddler can do nearby, such as passing you paper towels or wiping down the fronts of the cupboards
- clean your oven on a regular basis (monthly!) to make the job quicker and easier
- have your husband or a relative take the toddler out for an afternoon while you take care of the oven