by Emilie Williamson: Savvy Cleaning Company
Red light after red light, I'm going to be late now it's an assurance. We have a big job today , the realtor said it was a rough one.
Upon arriving, I was glad to find the door to the townhome had been left unlocked. I get straight to work, we are burning daylight and by the state of the front door and living room, this clean will be a struggle. I walk into the kitchen and start prepping for the clean. I grab my bottle of degreaser and spray down the refrigerator shelves as I pull them out one by one. Dried and mildewy crumbs fall to the floor and brown stickiness starts to melt. The smell of old milk and cumin is overwhelming, as I remove one of the vegetable crisper drawers. I move on to the oven, as I drag it away from the wall a loud bang and a flash of light scare me half to death.
I have to catch my breath before I realize that the commotion came from behind the oven I was pulling. I carefully lean over to investigate and notice a large burnt mark on the wall near the stove’s outlet. It must've been short circuited.
I got lucky!
I sweep up the rat and roach feces hidden under there. Some of the crud is really stuck on the tile floors so I soak it up with some heavy duty degreaser and use my razor blade to peel the brown and black residue. I push the oven back in place, and open the door.
You would have thought I discovered a new black hole in the galaxy for all the burnt residue that this oven contained. The racks have started to rust on the edge and were crumbling apart in small pieces as I removed them. I apply a generous coating of oven cleaner to the interior, knowing full well that it is a hopeless cause. I take my pumice stone and start scrapping the top layer of incinerated food and grease. I can discern the remains of a pizza crust, is that pepperoni on it? Oh and look, a fry!
Scrub, scrape, grind, my pumice stone is getting smaller and smaller as it disintegrates from the friction. The oven is a dark, wet mess and I am no closer to seeing its true color. I exchange the pumice for the steel wool, and start attacking the sides and curves at the back. Suddenly, pain comes shooting through my palm. I rip my gloves off, but I can’t see where the pain is coming from. It appears that the dirt from the oven made its way inside my glove. Steel wool can sometimes cause little cuts, but this feels like more than that, as I hypothesize on what could’ve caused this onset of pain, I see blood slowly pooling up in my palm and then everything goes black.
The power is out!
The utilities company must’ve shut it off, sometimes they do when a property is vacant for a while. I scramble through my caddy and find my headlight. Things just got a lot trickier. I walk over to the kitchen sink, and run cold water to wash off the dirt and blood from my hand. Right below my thumb is a quarter inch gash, pulsing blood to the rhythm of my heartbeats.
What could’ve caused this?
I peer inside the oven and my light catches on a small shiny piece of glass stuck in black muck at the back of the oven. As I inspect the rest of the oven, it becomes clear that a glass dish shattered in here. I will have to change my approach to clean this oven but first I have to clean and protect my injured hand. Using my razor blade, I slowly scrape the gunk and glass from back to front, dumping it directly into a doubled up trash bag.
Finally, I start to see the actual bottom of the oven. A few more scrapes and I finish it off with a nice wipe of the rag and it shines like new.