Once upon a time, not so very long ago, women had to clean their ovens using their own hands. It’s true. We’ve seen old print adverts that show a female clad up to her elbows in heavy-duty rubber gloves using a paint-brush full of goo to cover dirty oven walls. It looked like a messy, smelly process. Our research confirms that the “goo” was very caustic and was known to ruin manicures while it softened burnt-on grease. At some point, a very wise inventor managed to make the oven clean itself, and women everywhere lived happily ever after.

Well. The oven cleaned itself except the part about the glass in the oven door. That just kept getting dirtier and dirtier and the women kept ignoring it. (The real estate stylist assures us that this is a global phenomenon. Don’t feel badly if you no longer install a light in your oven because you couldn’t see through the window if your life depended on it. You’re not alone.)

A self-cleaning oven does not always do its job perfectly. A beautifully clean home – the kind you list for sale and hope to sell for a hefty price – deserves a nice clean oven window. So, how do you do this? And what about the dirt that lives between the two panes of glass? Read on.

First, clean your oven as usual by pushing the appropriate button. (This process requires that you spend at least fifteen minutes wondering why the inside oven glass doesn’t seem to succumb to the high temperatures of self-cleaning like the walls and racks inside do. We’re sure in time scientists will study this phenomenon fully and let us know. In the interim, follow these step by step instructions to finish the job.)

Step 1: If you are not lucky enough to have an oven door that simply lifts up and off, remove the bottom drawer of the oven and spread newspapers on the floor to catch drips.
Step 2: Make a thin paste of ½ cup baking soda and warm water. It should be thinner than pancake batter or toothpaste since you want to spread it all over the glass. Pay special attention to getting the paste right up to the edges of the glass where it meets the oven door.

Step 3: Set the oven timer for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how dirty the glass has become.
Step 4: Using a soft bristled brush – like a toothbrush – give the glass a little scrub. Wipe the grime away with a clean cloth or sponge.

Baking soda is a wonderful nonabrasive cleaner with super powers. Nevertheless, you might still see spots of burned-on grease left on the glass. Use a razor blade to scrape the dirt away.
If, when you’re finished, you still see streaks you cannot seem to remove, you probably have dirt between the two panes of oven glass. Here’s how you clean that mess.

At the bottom edge of your oven door, you will find access points that are meant specifically for this task. Create a cleaning tool by straightening out a wire clothes hanger. Using a rubber band, attach a wad of soft cloth to the top of your cleaning wand. Saturate the cloth with window cleaner. Insert the wand into the access holes and clean between the two panes of glass with an up and down scrubbing motion. Voila.

The fact is, when people look at a home that’s for sale, they have high expectations. They want it to look and smell clean. They don’t want to see crusty mineral build-up on or around taps and showerheads and they certainly don’t expect to see a dirty oven door. We know at least one home stager who is militant about such things. The real estate stylist instructs her clients that the only way to clean a kitchen range is with a toothbrush followed by glass wax and a chamois cloth. Shine matters in a big way.

If preparing a home for sale sounds like a big job, rest assured. It is. Only you know if you have the time to clean every surface in your house with a toothbrush. If your time can be better spent at your job, attending parent/teacher conferences and/or soccer practices, you might be better off asking the real estate stylist to bring in a professional cleaning crew. Getting it done right is important. Part of being a shrewd real estate marketer is to delegate. Let us help.

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