Ok, so if there is a common thread of questioning among our customers, then it is for recommendations on what to clean their oven with or how to remove stains or marks that have emerged over the years of (sometimes, not so) careful usage. Of course, we go through the usual array of cleaning products that the customer has tried (usually unsuccessfully) and try to demonstrate why that particular product doesn't have a chance of meeting even half of the claims on the packaging. These questions arise so often that I'm in the process of creating a list of ingredients that you definitely don't want to put anywhere near your oven/hands/eyes/cat - not an easy task if we want to avoid the threat of legal action from the brands that peddle these so-called "easy clean" products. 
In the meantime, we can attack the problem from another angle - which oven should I buy in order to be able to clean it without resorting to using the harsh chemicals that household brands love so much? 
 
From my experience, in the last ten years there has been a significant lowering of standards concerning the materials used to make up the various surfaces of the modern oven. If you don't believe this then ask your parents if there were such a thing in "their day" as a professional oven cleaner - there wasn't, and the reason there are now is not because we have all suddenly become too lazy to clean our own kitchen appliances now and then; it's because the appliances themselves NEED cleaning much more than they did (along with sometimes questionable colour choices for areas that really should always be as dark as possible). Combine this with the aforementioned dubious quality of the average manufacturer's materials and you can start to see why many ovens can look tired and old after much less time than the amount spent would suggest it should. 
 
Even many 'premium' brands that charge an arm and a leg for the privilege of their name on the front have decided that these appliances, that feature as the centre-piece in your kitchen, only need to look good in the showroom before you've bought it; stainless steel that rusts, or traps drips of fat forevermore; knobs with a faux-metal coating that looks like foil from a KitKat; glass that is bonded together so you can't even take the door apart to clean in between. 
 
Now, of course, everybody is subject to various market and economic forces, but is there still anyone who has at least competed in this race to the bottom with even the slightest hesitancy? Yes. 
 
Obviously, this is only the opinion of a half dozen oven cleaners, together with their various associates of connected trades and opinionated oven owners, but if there is one manufacturer (two, technically) that we are glad to see when we arrive at a customer's house then it is a Bosch (or NEFF as yours may be branded). 
 
Nothing gives us as much confidence that we will be able to restore this warmer of food to it's former glory than the familiar square-edged frame of German engineered goodness. I sometimes find myself grinning slightly when I know that underneath the twenty four months of pork fat and Yorkshire pudding spillage is a surface that will sparkle just as much as the day the plug was first switched on. 
 
So, although this is by no means to convince you that the only option you have is to spend money you don't want to on a product that does nothing the others don't do - it does highlight that there certainly are differences between ovens that have been made purely to target a buyer with a particular budget and ones that the manufacturer has a good grasp on what goes to make a good oven. Having cleaned just about every make of oven and found there are a surprising number of "good" names that I wouldn't touch with a barge-pole, when the time comes to replace mine I'll choose a Bosch. 
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