The cooker cleaning man pays a visit once a year to chisel off the caked-on crumbs and other fossilized artefacts which bond to the oven interior like a barnacle. Nothing within my cleaning arsenal can remove the nastiness. No matter how much I spray or scrub the range it still looks a bit grubby. There are times when only an expert can solve a problem and oven cleaning is up there along with carpet cleaning and pest control.
The oven cleaning man arrives with a basket of hardcore professional cleaning products. A steam cleaner simmers on the driveway. As he snaps on his rubber gloves I ask him if he’s encountered any nasty pest infestations. His eye light up, especially when I tell him I work for Rentokil. Encouraged by the common bond of hygiene and grime he leans closer and says,
“You wouldn’t believe the sights I’ve seen in some people’s kitchen’s. I get called out all over the place – from top hotels to grubby little bedsits, there’s nothing I haven’t seen. Last week I had to remove cockroach eggs from the top of a cooker. I was called in by a local estate agent who were managing the property and I said to them it’s not a cleaning company you need, it’s Rentokil. I moved the cooker back from the wall and the floor was moving. There were hundreds of cockroaches everywhere.
At another property I was called in to clean an Aga which hadn’t been used in donkey’s years and found a nest of mice inside. Nice and convenient for all the food stored in the kitchen, though doubt the mice wouldn’t have been too happy if the oven had actually worked. Baked mice ain’t nice but I’m sure I could have gotten rid of the mess,” he chuckled. “People don’t realise how many crumbs are accumulating down the sides of their cookers because they don’t see it.”
Even cleaning once a year will help keep infestations in check. A cockroach can dine off one crumb for weeks, and can survive without food or water for a month. Cockroaches in the kitchen are bad news because they can lead to the spread of diseases such as Salmonella (food poisoning) and Escherichia coli(Gastro-enteritis). If mice and cockroaches find access to food sources they will be encouraged to stay.
Within a couple of hours the dried on remnants of roast dinners and fish fingers in my oven were no longer a cleaning nightmare but a distant memory. Though the threat of a pest infestation was fresh in my mind.