Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

Don’t Try This at Home


A cautionary caustic tale

I’m no domestic goddess, and on this blog over the years I’ve brought you my domestic highs




and disasters


But this is a tale of a more serious  (and wordy) nature.

If you were to ask me what my epitaph of choice would be I’d jokingly say ‘Life is too short for a clean and tidy kitchen’ a jibe at the fact I can always find more interesting things to do than house work (Mr UHDD would tell you his would be ‘It’s not a big job, it won’t take long’ a reference to the fact every DIY job takes far longer  and is more complex than  he originally anticipated). So there is a mystery as to why, and irony in the outcome, that I decided to clean the electric oven one evening last week.

I used Mr Muscle oven cleaner, I donned heavy weight household gloves, kept my glasses on, so I could see both what I was doing and offer myself some eye protection; I thought I was being rather sensible and cautious. But it went awry, because of the thick and rather loose fitting gloves, I didn’t realise I hadn’t got my finger in the notch in the top of the nozzle on the spray can, so instead of spraying in the back of the oven as I intended, it squirted off the side of the oven, a little of the spray mist blew back at me and caught my breath, when I say caught my breath, it was like a thump in the chest, it winded me but only briefly.

( And if  you’ve found this post by searching for ‘Mr Muscle, I Can’t breath’ dial 999 Now it is all you need to know).

I thought to myself ‘ My, my what noxious stuff this is, I wouldn’t want to get a lung full’ I coughed and spluttered a bit then carried on with the job.

By bed time (day one) my throat was a bit sore, like I was starting with a cold or something. It was about the same the next morning (day two)  but it got worse as the day went on and strange as it seems now, it wasn’t actually till late that night that I wondered if there was a connection between my symptoms and the incident with Mr Muscle. By then it was very painful  just to swallow, getting water down was difficult and food was out of the question. Day three my mouth started to blister; off down to the Dr’s surgery I did go. where there was agreement I had burnt my mouth and throat; I was given self care advice and a ‘prescription’ for   ice-cream and told to not hesitate to get back to them if I felt worse.

Day four I slept most of the day and when I wasn’t asleep I had a vile headache, day five I still felt wretched although my throat was slightly less painful. Back to the Dr’s where I was declared ‘systemically unwell’ and given some rather punchy antibiotics. There was some debate about if I need to go off to Accident and Emergency, but it was decided I was ‘sensible enough’ to know if my condition was deteriorating (I did think if I was that sensible, I wouldn’t have got a mouthful of the stuff in the first place). Day six was the turning point and I started to feel a little better and can report I’m on the mend.


So what have I learnt from this painful tale? Reading the label on the tin of Mr Muscle again, I now note it says one should wear face protection, in a straw poll of friends and colleagues tell me they, like me,  know of no one who would put a face mask on to clean the oven


And if the manufactures put such an image on the can, what would it do to sales I wonder? One thing is for sure I can design a better/safer can nozzle for them. As for cleaning the oven in the future? It can have elbow grease or stay as it is (although my inbox is full of messages from friends with phone numbers for  ‘men that clean ovens’) life is too short.

Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

22 thoughts on “Don’t Try This at Home

  1. First?

    Crikey! Why don’t they have a Dislike button as well as a Like one? Pleased you are on the mend!

    A while back I bought an agricultural container of Roundup for weedkilling; much more potent than what you get from garden centres. Sometime later, I forgot what mix was required and googled it. Most of the links I found were about medical issues resulting from using it! Since then, I have always used a proper respiratory mask when weedkilling. However, I would never have thought of this for oven cleaning!

    Keep safe!

  2. What a horrible thing to happen. Fortunately my wife believes in the cleansing properties of bicarbonate of soda to clean ovens so we are not exposed to these substances.

  3. Poor you! Mr Ogg always says ‘housework makes you ugly’…now i can tell him its dangerous too although I don’t think i could get away with doing any less! Very glad to hear you’re on the mend now though.

  4. I sympathise, and it’s good to know that you’re on the mend. It really is such an easy thing to do, and it’s little wonder that there are so many accidents like this in the home.
    I’m sure that also you don’t need reminding that any pets should be well out the way in another room when using any sprays like that. xx

  5. Top Ten – woo hoo! Never thought that’d happend!

  6. Being asthmatic, I always wear a dust mask when I clean with aerosol anything, do dusting or hoovering, when I tend to the cat box, and when I go outside to work in the yard. I have neighbors who don’t recognize me without the mask . . .

  7. I’m wondering why this has never happened to me. Ah, yes, it’s not because I don’t like cleaning (which I sort of do) nor because I don’t like cooking (which I sort of don’t) but because our oven didn’t work for about three years! We now have a new one, so I suppose I’d better think about how I’m going to clean it when the time comes. That won’t be soon though, because as I said, I don’t like cooking.

  8. Holy cow Mrs UHDD. That stuff is lethal. I used it once (it did work well) but yes, I had no face mask, and I probably escaped your fate more by luck than good judgement. Says the lassie who found out the hard way why you’re not supposed to mix different cleaning agents in a small bathroom. Don’t ask.

    Glad to hear you’re on the mend.

  9. Yikes. That sounds awful. I’m so glad to hear you’re feeling better.

  10. So sorry to hear you had such a terrible experience…thanks also for the warning as it could easily happen to any of us. I guess it’s fortunate that the purple giraffes weren’t involved as imagine the ‘length’ of the sore throat in that case 😉 Glad to know you are on the mend at last.
    Sometimes nozzles get gummed up as well, and spray can splurt in any direction I’ve noticed…such as a paint spray can!

  11. GACK!! It’s just as I’ve always said, housework is hazardous to a person’s health. I’m glad you’re on the mend. Really, really glad. I believe I must make you a stay well card. I have just the thing.

  12. Nasty stuff. Glad you’re on the mend.

  13. oouch! i think you must follow the instructions used by herself – fetching food and fuel and associated activities are man’s work and best left to the fairer sex. herself is a feminist and therefore follows this mantra to the letter. when you couple her forensic legal mind with her antipathy to housework it leaves very little in the domestic realm that is not man’s work…

  14. I am sorry to hear this. I saw Gerrys “Stay well” card and hurried to see what had happened. What an awful experience you have had, are you well again? Oven cleaner or any chemical product which ask one to use a facemask does not belong in a ordinary household, in my opinion. I totally agree with you in waving goodbye to Mr. muscle, and use water and soap in the future. A clean oven looks nice, but the problem is that noone ever sees it. Or probably never does, at least that would be a bit of a surprise to meet anyone who had that interest. Best wishes.

  15. Sorry to hear about your unpleasant experience. There is a reason why a lot of us aren’t domestic goddesses. I agree with Gerry – housework is hazardous to one’s health.

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