Toxic Oven Cleaners — How Do You Avoid Them and Still Keep Your Oven Clean?

Is There Such a Thing as a Fast, Effective Green Oven Cleaner?

It’s easy to find a green cleaner for moping floors and wiping down the cabinets.   But cleaning the oven is another matter. When it comes to cleaning weeks’ worth of baked-on grime, we have traditionally turned to those harsh but highly-effective products used by our mothers: Easy-Off or Mr. Muscle.  A quick peek at the material safety data sheet reads: DANGER. CORROSIVE. CAUSES EYE AND SKIN BURNS.  HARMFUL OR FATAL IF SWALLOWED.  Not even riding on the same train as green!  Is there an eco-friendly alternative?

Although I now have a self-cleaning oven, I once had a vintage 1950s range with an enamel interior, which required a heavy-duty cleaning product, along with a fair amount of elbow grease.  While cleaning my vintage oven one day, I noticed that when I accidentally dripped the oven cleaner onto the oven-warmer drawer handle, it instantly pitted and discolored the finish.  I was never able to repair the damage, but it got me wondering about the toxicity of the product I was using around food, my family, and myself.  “What kind of  ingredients pitted metal and “ate” linoleum tiles?” I wondered.  What was I breathing. . . as I stuck my head in the oven for a good, long scrub-fest?  What was I absorbing through my skin when I got the cleaner on my arms, beyond my rubber gloves?  Honestly, I don’t ever want to ask questions like that, let alone be using such products in my home.

Using harsh oven cleaners had become as issue for us at Maid to Clean, as well.  We have always used gentle, eco-friendly products like vinegar and baking soda.  The tough baked-on grime of our clients’ ovens, however, presented a problem.  Typically, we have only two or three hours to clean when we visit a client’s home — not enough time to leave a baking soda paste on an oven overnight.  Thus, the question was this:  where can we find a product strong enough to clean oven grease and grime in an hour, but gentle enough for homes with babies, pets, and family members with delicate respiratory systems (like allergy sufferers and asthmatics)?

We decided it was time for us to go on a mission:  to test-drive some products, and find a green cleaner powerful enough to do the job, but gentle enough to be considered eco-friendly.  To kick-start the mission, I sat down and searched the internet — exhaustively — reading product safety sheets, talking to consumer hotlines, and gathering data.  While there are a good number of products that advertise themselves as green oven cleaners, we encountered some problems:

  • Was the product truly green, or did it just make the claim?
  • If the product was eco-friendly, was it strong enough to clean an oven in an hour?
  • Who stocks the product?  How do I get my hands on it?

The test drive started with ordering two ostensibly impressive products directly from the distributor.  Others we ordered from a central source at  (Ace Hardware stocked a product, but the other box stores offered nothing green specifically for ovens.)  As the products arrived, we distributed them to our cleaning supervisors with instructions to evaluate and report back.  These are the products that we tested:

  • 1st Enviro Safety Inc’s Organic Cleaner/Degreaser (
  • Natural Grill and Oven Cleaner by Restore the Earth (
  • Carbona Clean It! Oven Cleaner (
  • Earth Friendly Products Orange Plus Complete Oven & Grill Cleaner
  • Natural Grill and Oven Cleaner (Acehardwareoutlet/Amazon)
  • Sunshine Makers 60014 Simple Green BBQ Grill and Microwave Cleaner (Geroy’s/Amazon).

Stay tuned to view our results.  You’ll be surprised.  We were.

Maid to Clean a Gold Sponsor for Capital Area GL Chamber Gala

Held on April 9th, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in DC, CAGLCC’s 20th Annual Gala was a fabulous success.  Attended by business people from the DC metro area, the event was a great opportunity for networking and socializing.  Maid to Clean was proud to be a sponsor and a silent auction contributor.

10 Dirtiest Hotels in the US

At Maid to Clean® we’re always interested in dirt.  Mostly in how to get rid of it, but sometime we just like to share “the dirt” on dirt.  For armchair travelers who are ready to be grossed out, here is a list of the 10 dirtiest hotels in the US.

For those of us in the DC metro area, we are pleased to note that three of the 10 dirtiest US hotels are within driving distance:  Stroudsburg, PA, and Virginia Beach, VA.  Here’s a freebie for folks in Virginia Beach:  for maid service in your area, we recommend our friends at Custom Maid.  (If only they cleaned hotel rooms!)

Happy travels, everyone.  And don’t forget your disinfectant spray.

Maid to Clean® “Green Cleaning” Featured in Bethesda Magazine

Green cleaning maid service management team at Maid to Clean

Maid to Clean Owners Cindi and Merced Bermudez

With spring around the corner, our thoughts are turning to — what else? — spring cleaning.  And with that in mind, we’re pleased to be featured in the spring issue of Bethesda Magazine‘s “All Things Green.”  For our newer clientele in Bethesda, Silver Spring, Rockville, Takoma Park, Kensington, and Chevy Chase, the profile is a great opportunity to get to know us a little better.

Owners Cinderella and Merced Bermudez have been cleaning green since Maid to Clean®’s inception in 1996.  Part of Maid to Clean®’s knock-your-socks-off customer service philosophy is safety — for the client, the cleaning staff, and the environment.  Here is an example of how we “green” our customer service:  When the Maid to Clean® team has finished washing a floor with our green recipe of water and vinegar, it is immediately safe for the members of the family who are closer to the ground:  babies and pets.  No harsh fumes, no toxic chemicals — just simple, green, and clean.

So you can reproduce our safe and sparkling results in your home, here is our floor cleaning recipe:

Mop with a solution of ½ cup distilled white vinegar and 1 gallon warm water.

Stay tuned for more green cleaning tips, and follow us on Twitter for additional green buzz

Ecopreneurs in the New York Times

Younger generations have been at the green forefront for the last 30 years; and the Gen Ys who work in the offices of Green Spaces are blazing the trail.  In an innovative construct, young professionals are now plying their trades  in “co-working spaces,” where professionals from various industries not only share office space, but they also share their penchant for living green

To read more, see The New York Times“Green work spaces attract young professionals” article.

The Gift of Clean for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers.  I don’t know about you, but I always send my mother a card, and I send gifts to the romantically-unattached members of my posse (to take the sting out of being overlooked on the most ridiculously- and commercially-hyped day of the year.)

This February 14th, I’m skipping the candy/flowers/chocolates, and going right for the good stuff — gift cards for maid service.  Romantic?  Maybe more than you think.  Thoughtful?  You bet.

Here are a couple of scenarios to help you decide what to to purchase.

Big, busy home, with a new baby. Cathy and Jim have just given birth to their second child, and could use a hand keeping the house tidy.  They live – with Rover — in a 2000 square foot, three-level townhouse with two and a half bathrooms.  Cathy’s mother orders weekly cleaning service for three months to help out.  After the initial cleaning, the weekly rate would be between $130 and $195.

Small, tidy apartment. Temporarily laid-up with a full leg cast, Sharelle worries that scrubbing the tub is out of the question.  Her colleagues get together and order her a gift certificate for a one-time cleaning.  Sharelle lives by herself in an 800-square-foot efficiency, so the one-time cleaning would likely be $189.  If Sharelle wanted to follow up with bi-weekly service until her cast was removed, she would probably pay $87 per visit.

The gift of clean is the perfect gift for more than just Valentine’s Day:

  • A thoughtful “just-because” gift for a new mother, an elderly person, or someone recovering from surgery or illness.
  • Mother’s Day – show Mom how much you appreciate her.
  • The holidays – help the hostess get ready for the family’s arrival.
  • Weddings and showers – what bride couldn’t use a little help?

In the DC metro area,

Maid to Clean® Earns Coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award

Maid to Clean® Earns Coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award

Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service

Maid to Clean® has been awarded the prestigious 2009 Angie’s List Super Service Award!

The Super Service Award, now celebrating its 11th year, is reserved for companies who have achieved and maintained a superior service rating on Angie’s List – the nation’s leading provider of consumer ratings on local service companies – throughout the past year. Fewer than 5 percent of the companies on Angie’s List meet the eligibility requirements to be considered for the award.

“Our Super Service Award winners are the cream of the crop when it comes to providing the best customer service,” said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List.

“We’re extremely proud to have earned our second Super Service Award,” said Maid to Clean® Director of Special Projects, Barb Bindon.  “And we’re proud to be recognized, once again, for our outstanding customer service — the philosophy on which owners Cindi and Merced Bermudez have built their successful business.”

Congratulations, Maid to Clean!

DC VA MD Cleaning Service Maid to Clean

Merced Bermudez and Barb Bindon Accept the Award for Best Marketing Piece 2009

Maid to Clean was the proud winner of the award for Best Marketing Piece at the annual ARCSI/ISSA convention in Chicago this year.  Our unconventional marketing piece is a vintage Chevy truck, lovingly restored, and painted in MTC colors, complete with company logo.  One thing we love about our billboard on wheels is that, unlike door hangers or postcards, the truck is great visual advertising that never gets chucked into the recycle bin.  To see pictures of the truck, visit us on Facebook.

Hello from the ISSA/ARSCI Cleaning Convention in Chicago

I’m here in Chicago at the ARCSI convention, representing the DC/VA office of Maid to Clean, along with the handsome owner of the Maryland Maid to Clean office, Merced Bermudez.  There are residential and commercial cleaning companies from all over the US and Canada in attendance — a great group of folks.

Beyond the typical convention activities, we’re looking forward to the Awards Banquet tonight.  Maid to Clean is one of three finalists in the category of “Best Marketing Piece.”  No door hangers or chip clips for us.  Our marketing piece is a fully restored, 1956 Chevy pick-up.  We take it to parades, gala evenings, and community events.  It’s a real head-turner, with our logo featured prominently on both doors.  Wish us luck in capturing the award tonight!

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