Effects of Oven Cleaner on Kitchen Counter Tops

Posted On Monday, 24 August 2020 21:33

People love to save time and money. Oven cleaning solutions make that possible with their potent chemical formulations. You may be able to clean months of piled grease and fatty substances from your oven in a few minutes without having to call oven cleaning professionals. But problems start when the cleaners spill on your skin, on your countertops, and other unintended surfaces.

Why oven cleaners are effective?

Oven cleaning can be a dreadful task. After several weeks or months of daily cooking, the oils and carbonaceous materials build up on oven racks. They play hobs with the taste of your food and create a fire hazard. Many people thus turn to oven cleaners to help rid these materials fast and effectively.

And it works. Oven cleaners are laced with harsh chemicals that can eat through oven dirt and stain in no time. The caustic soda component found in oven cleaners is a strong alkali with a powerful effect against stains.

Because many people are too busy to wipe their ovens every day, most wait for weeks or months and then turn to oven cleaners. The chemicals in the off-shelf cleaners lead to intensive and thorough cleaning. They effectively break down grease and carbon build-up from your oven surfaces. 

Chemicals present in oven cleaner

Many people do not know that toxic chemicals are a dime a dozen in domestic oven cleaning products. The biggest and worst of them all is sodium hydroxide. Also known as caustic soda, this chemical is present in 99.9 % of all oven cleaning products sold at the store. 

So, you are probably wondering what makes caustic soda a dangerous oven cleaning chemical. Sodium hydroxide is extremely corrosive. For dirt and grease in your oven that's probably a good thing but no so for your hands, countertops, and other surfaces in the kitchen.

When cleaning with oven cleaners that contain caustic soda, the number one thing to protect should be your eyes. Because it is highly corrosive, if it ever falls into your eyes, you could run blind. Use gloves to stay safe from burns and consider covering your kitchen counters to keep off discoloring spills from the surfaces. 

The other notorious chemical ingredient in oven cleaners is monoethanolamine (MEA) which is a mixture of ammonia and ethanol. Your product may also contain soda ash or sodium carbonate, which is an equally corrosive substance. The solution could have foaming agents, fragrances, and emulsifiers with health and environmental safety concerns. 

Effects of oven cleaner on kitchen benchtops

Aside from personal safety, kitchen benchtops are the most at risk when you use chemical oven cleaners. The sodium hydroxide used in your oven cleaning products, has historically been used as a paint stripper, imagine then when that falls on your kitchen benchtop.

You can expect that the solution will destroy the beautiful finish of your benchtop. Various finishes, including varnish, polyurethane, and grout sealers are susceptible to sodium hydroxide damage. The extent of damage would depend on how fast you act to wipe the spill when it happens.

It's no doubt a bad idea to clean your kitchen benchtop with an oven cleaning solution. The chemicals in the cleaner will penetrate through the wood finish of your kitchen countertop and gradually break it down. The outcome will be a dreary, faded, and even homely kitchen counters that will require you to invest in refinishing.

You can expect identical results when it comes to aluminum countertops. Sodium hydroxide reacts with the metal to release hydrogen gas. That leads to intense discoloration of your aluminum benchtop. 

MEA is equally as bad as sodium hydroxide. MEA is a potent solvent that could cause severe discoloration of your vinyl and synthetic kitchen benchtop surfaces. The results are severe when you leave the spill on for hours on end.

Effects of oven cleaner on natural stone benchtops

Granite, marble, and other stone kitchen countertops are slightly resilient to the chemicals in oven cleaners. Even so, please don't use an oven cleaner on your natural stone kitchen countertops, it's unwise. Natural stone benchtops may be tougher to the corrosive properties of sodium hydroxide, but their beautiful finish isn't. Gradually the benchtops will lose their sheen. 

If you have been using an oven cleaner on your marble and granite countertop, odds are they are already rough and spotty. You can restore their shine by polishing them or refinishing them with a sealant. Otherwise, you will be exposing them to the risk of cracking and chipping.

Effects of oven cleaner on wooden benchtops

The corrosive substances in oven cleaners will penetrate the wood finish and make it gluey. The solution will eat away the protective finish of your wooden benchtop, leaving it susceptible to water damage. The wood may turn into an unattractive appearance or start to rot because of constant exposure to water. 

Instead of using coven cleaners to wipe your wooden benchtops, consider using just soap and water. If a spill occurs, move fast to wipe it with water and vinegar solution. The acidity of vinegar may help to neutralize the alkalinity of caustic soda. 

How to avoid oven cleaner spills on your kitchen benchtops

Switching to non-corrosive oven clean solutions is the first step in safeguarding your kitchen benchtops from oven cleaner spills. You would have nothing to worry about if you are using mild off-shelf products or homemade solutions. 

Clean your oven every day with warm soapy water so that you are never tempted to turn to sodium hydroxide solutions. If you need something stronger, make a solution of water and baking soda and use it to clean your oven. Let it stay overnight before you rinse. 

When it's time to clean your marble kitchen benchtop, use a similar non-toxic non-corrosive solution. Don't use your oven cleaner on your benchtops. Instead, wipe down your benchtops using soap and water. Consider covering your benchtops with a liner during an oven cleaning session. That should help keep your countertop surface safe from the risk of acid spills. If the spills happen, wipe them fast using vinegar or lemon juice. 

In a nutshell, don't use oven cleaners on kitchen benchtops. Oven cleaners contain corrosive chemicals that could lead to costly damages to your countertops.

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