Preoccupied with the problems of his kingdom, Peagood accidentally let the cakes burn.
November 16, 2011 6:23 PM   Subscribe

So, now that the oven fire is out, what do I do now?!

My oven was not sparkling clean, I'll admit it.

Something I was baking (Lunar Cakes, but with pears and cranberries instead of rhubarb) overflowed, and it wasn't much, so I just threw some tinfoil under them at the bottom of the oven and figured the little bit of dripping would burn off.

Then I saw it smoking, in black rolling clouds coming up through the vent, so I turned the oven off. And then the sugar and the grease and the I don't know what caught on fire! So I threw what I now know is the wrong thing on it (flour) and it worked, and the fire went out. (Thank goodness, and I only did that because I couldn't rip the top of the baking soda box off fast enough and I couldn't maneuver a wet towel under the racks, and I didn't even think of the extinguisher - so I just grabbed the open bag of flour, poured/threw a whole lot in and shut the oven door.)

The cakes are ruined, of course. But is my oven?

It's an old Frigidaire, gas oven with no bells and whistles - just four burners, a broiler and an oven. No clock even, and no self-cleaning features. I bought it "new", as an old store stock item from an appliance resale store. I have the manual, but this isn't covered in the manual.

I just spent an hour looking up what I could, but I'm not clear on a few things. Firemen? Appliance guys? People who've done this? Please tell me:

Do I really have to have an appliance repair person come to look at my oven before I use it again? What about the burners? I'm going to want my stovetop coffee tomorrow morning, but can do without if it's going to be a problem. What can I check tonight or tomorrow myself? What will the neighbourhood guy we'll use be looking for so I can be aware and feel secure?

I will sweep, and possibly use the shop vac, to get the flour out - all three or four pounds of it - but how can I clean the really burned bits on the oven bottom off beyond using some Easy Off? There's some burnt sugar on there that no homemade baking soda paste that I know of is going to take off. The interior is that speckled gray enamel-type stuff.

Now that the whole house has cleared itself of smoke, it doesn't smell so fresh around here. The windows have been opened, the fans were on - but it's bedtime soon and it's cold here and I'd like to do something tomorrow to get rid of the nasty "I burned something" smell that's lingering. Everything will get a wipe-down over the next few days, but is there an essential oil or household cleaner scent that specifically counter-acts the burnt odor? I have both Almond and Peppermint Dr. Bronner's, and a good supply of Eucalyptus and Tea Tree essential oils, but I don't want the house necessarily to smell of burnt mints.

Thanks, in anticipation of your help and for hopefully not reminding me that I have been a slovenly housekeeper who stupidly forgot the proper emergency response while I was panicking and and throwing flour on my lovely cakes with the scary flames under them.
posted by peagood to Grab Bag (4 answers total)
Smell: set out bowls of vinegar and that baking soda you didn't use? ;)

Oven: oh man, I HATE cleaning ovens. Our apartment building can arrange for one-off housekeeper visits to do "spring cleaning" which we book once every so often (aka when I decide that enough pizza grease has accumulated in the bottom of the oven or whatever!). So - call some places that do cleaning and ask them how much to come in and "spring clean" your kitchen, including your oven?
posted by lyra4 at 6:39 PM on November 16, 2011

I really like Odoban --the original formula smells like Eucalyptus.
posted by I'm Brian and so's my wife! at 7:35 PM on November 16, 2011

Ovens are pretty simple things and all of the few complicated bits are easy to buy and install. Even if you don't know anyone specifically handy who likes you enough to fix your oven, either you or someone who likes to tinker should be able to do it with the internet. If stuff got into the working bits then take it apart, clean everything, and put it back together again. See if it works.

To counteract the smell, you want something that will adsorb all of the small weird compounds that came with the incomplete combustion of your delicious cakes. Vinegar is a really good suggestion, baking soda or activated charcoal is better, but all of the above are better still. Wiping everything down will also likely help.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:03 PM on November 16, 2011

Scrape the burnt sugar off with a metal spatula and a lot of elbow grease. Then do a round of EasyOff.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:09 AM on November 17, 2011

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