I think I almost killed my apartment last night. In addition to packing, I’m also trying to make sure that the apartment is as clean as humanly possible when I leave so I can get my deposit back. I swept out the garage over the weekend. A couple of days ago, I cleaned the stove & the burners, as well as those little catch-sinks under the burners. Last night I thought I’d tackle the oven. I have a self-cleaning oven, but I’ve never used the self-cleaning feature. I like to think of myself as a reasonably intelligent person, and it seemed fairly logical to me, so I took the can of oven cleaner (which, btw, also cleans up that grimy stuff at the bottom of your bathtub really well — it eats through all kinds of gunk), sprayed the inside of the oven, then turned on the self-cleaner.
I noticed a couple of minutes later that there was a lot of smoke coming through the vent, so I turned on the fan over the stove and disconnected my smoke alarm, since I have the most sensitive smoke alarm in the world & it goes off if I have too many candles lit. Happy that my oven was now cleansing itself away, I went back to watching the episode of “Queer Eye” that I had taped the night before.
A few minutes passed, then I started coughing. I looked into the kitchen, and it was FILLED with smoke. As in, I could no longer see the cabinets and they were only maybe 20 feet away. And the smoke was rapidly filling the rest of the apartment. I ran into the kitchen, felt my way to the oven & turned it off. Then I opened my bedroom window, my front door, and the sliding glass door to let the place air out. That wasn’t really helping too much since the smoke was just hovering, so I grabbed a fan, rigged it up in the kitchen (choking & coughing the whole time) and aimed the fan toward the door so it would blow the smoke outside. I grabbed Teenie & my cell phone, and we sat out on the balcony (the only place I could breathe) while I called my mom to ask her what I should do. Mom, of course, has never had a self-cleaning oven, so she didn’t have a clue.
Since my mom was no help, I called Kris, who asked me “did you read the bottle of oven cleaner to see if you’re supposed to use it on self-cleaning ovens?” Umm… no. Duh. By this point, the apartment was clear even though it still smelled really bad, but I figured at least I wouldn’t die of smoke inhalation, so I went back in & looked at it. Turns out you’re supposed to spray the stuff, wait 2 hours, THEN turn on the self-cleaning feature. Oops.
A few hours later, I went at the goo inside the oven with a washcloth, and it wiped up pretty easily. So I guess it worked. But I’m not using my oven for the rest of my time in this place, because I’m afraid it’ll start smoking & smell weird again. And when I woke up today, I was all congested & could barely breathe. I guess inhaling toxic chemicals will have that effect.
Oh, and speaking of toxic chemicals, this story is fascinating, but it totally messed me up yesterday. I have been unable to get some of these images out of my head.