August 23, 2017

How to ruin your electric wall oven for under a buck

No matter how high tech our ovens, ranges and other appliances get, we’re sometimes still driven to try old fashioned fixes. I’m sure that you hate when your food overflows and spills on the bottom of the oven. You know its just gonna burn off and smoke up the joint before its gone. So you quickly try mom’s old trick of lining the bottom of the oven with foil. Maybe not such a great idea with today’s high powered, but delicately balanced ovens. I found this piece in a Missouri paper called the News Leader.

You want to keep your oven sparkling clean so you protect it by putting aluminum foil on racks, under food as it cooks, and down on the oven floor where food drops and burns to a crisp. But instead of helping, you’re hurting your oven.
Foil placed on the oven floor reflects and intensifies heat, which can cause the bake element to burn out prematurely.

Foil placed under foods on the racks is bad because it traps heat in the bottom of the oven, keeping it from circulating and reaching the heat sensor near the top. Severe overheating is possible; besides damaging the bake element, that could also affect insulation in the oven wall and discolor or even crack oven-door glass.

By disrupting temperatures and air circulation, aluminum foil messes up cooking times, too.

A quickie clean just isn’t worth it.


  1. How do I get burned foil on the bottom of my oven off


    I’d always done it with my other ovens, but my new
    one, maybe it’s because it’s newer and gets hotter
    faster or it’s also a convenction, I don’t know, but I
    put aluminum foil on the bottom, used it ONCE, and it’s
    stuck on there. A friend suggested putting ketchup on
    it and leaving it overnight, so that’s what I’m trying
    but if you have any other hints….


  3. The Home Smithy says:

    The best solution is to carefully peel off what you can useing a single edged razor to lift the edges with. Once you get off as much as you can (this is a very tedious job and isnt a 15 minuet fix)you can then use some 900 grit wet and dry sand paper to begin to sand off the biggere oieces. Once you have it mostly off go to 1000 grit wet and dry sanding paper. Avoid sanding anywhere that doesnt have foil on it. Take your time and always keep the surface and the sanding paper wet. Wet is good. Dry ruins.
    Hope this helps.
    Best regards, THS
    For answers to your questions from a live expert please go to Experts are waiting to answer your question in live time.

  4. The Home Smithy says:

    Sorry that url should read

  5. angry wife says:

    I have owned my electric double-oven for less than six months and am now faced with a melted aluminum foil debacle because of one fateful night when I allowed my husband to cook pizza without my supervision. It appears to me that scrubbing or sanding isn’t a good idea because my husband obviously tried it and now my oven is missing a bit of enamel on the floor. Once the enamel lifts it seems to come off quite readily which isn’t good at all. The only likely fix I can imagine would be to melt off the aluminum. Many other websites have suggested the self-cleaning function with future posts stating it didn’t work so I think a chemical burn-off would be more appropriate. Salt (sodium chloride), vinegar, citric acid, and tomato paste have all been reported to pit aluminum but not dissolve it. Then I found an interesting comment…someone had covered a lasagne with foil and the tomato sauce had eaten through it! The reaction was explained further, saying it happened because the food was in a metal pan of different composition (probably stainless steel). The acid in the tomato sauce conducted electricity between the two metals facilitating the transfer of atoms away from the foil to the less reactive metal (steel), causing the foil to dissolve (over a period of a couple of days). So here’s my question: If I put ketchup or tomato sauce on the burned foil and cover it with a steel mixing bowl, will the electrical energy be enough to threaten the electronic components of my oven?

  6. angry wife says:

    Here’s an update on my ketchup & steel pan hypothesis: It seems to be working! I checked it yesterday and the part which was covered with ketchup and steel has disappeared without a trace. The rest wasn’t covered so I’m going to treat that area next. It has, however, taken longer than a couple of days to see the results. As far as the electronics, they’re fine.

  7. I love the homestyle science. You’ve made your own acid battery. By having the two metals connected by the acid your moving electrons and then atoms from one to the other. Its a similar process to the one used to silver plate spoons. You are in effect “aluminum plating” your cooking pot. Brilliant. Thanks for coming back and telling us about it.

  8. Needinghelp says:

    Did you have to heat the oven when applying the tomato sauce and stainless steel or was it a cold oven? If heated, what is a good temperature.

  9. angry wife says:

    I doubt heating the oven would make a difference other than to dry out the ketchup. I do wonder, however, if the heat friction would speed the transfer of electrons.

  10. A few questions to ‘angry wife’:

    –how burned on was the foil and how thick, and had it been reheated prior to your ketchup/steel experiment?

    –how much ketchup and how long did it sit (4 days?)?

    –has it all now come off?

    Really, I think that all manufacturers of self-clean/hidden element ovens should have a warning right inside the oven where you’d see it prior to laying down foil!!

  11. angry wife says:

    Here’s what I can answer of your questions, Foiled… The oven had not been used since the burned foil incident and I did the ketchup thing on a cool oven. I used a 1/4 inch thick layer of ketchup. Some of the foil was pretty thick, other parts were thin. It’s hard to measure the depth of the burned foil. After checking my project every 3-4 days for a couple of weeks I got tired of it and cleaned up the ketchup. Not all of the foil came off but it’s better than it was. Mine is a double oven so I still had the lower oven to use while the upper one was being treated. This would be a pain for anyone with a single oven. Well, that concludes my experiment. I guess I could say it sort of worked. Good luck with yours and let me know if you find a solution!!

  12. Does anyone know if the steam clean cycle on the oven will remove the baked on tin foil? Has anyone tried this? Ours is a new Samsung FTQ353 Series Electric Range.

  13. Oh and by the way, I am like the one women explained, I am the stupid husband who put the foil in the bottom of the oven. In my defense we have always done this and we both talked about doing it and wondering if we should, but I was the one who did it. We would have never thought this would happen; then again it is the first new Range we have gotten in about 20 years.