Cleaning Guides

How to Clean a Self-Cleaning Oven

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Self-cleaning ovens are a godsend for people who don’t have the time or desire to clean an oven. It’s a tedious process task that no one likes, but luckily, it can be avoided. If you’re one of the people, who invested in a self-cleaning oven but are still not convinced to use the self-cleaning cycle, this article is just for you.

Let’s be honest, most of us don’t clean our ovens as often as we should. Deep cleaning an oven every three months is highly beneficial, and so is the removal of spills as soon as they happen.

Some people are scared of cleaning their self-cleaning oven as it can get so hot (approximately 932 °F (500 °C)) and are afraid of a fire hazards. Others worry about all the smoke that comes out and whether it’ll linger in the home. You can get more comfortable after you read the manual about the oven. If you can’t find where you put it, odds are you can find it on Google.

Some people who have self-cleaning ovens ask themselves if they can clean them manually. We don’t advise that. Not only because you already spent on this investment but also because you might accidentally remove or scratch the pyrolitic coating, which makes this type of oven what it is.

So without further ado, here’s how to clean a self-cleaning oven.

Table of Contents:

What to do and what to avoid

It’s alright to clean your oven in-between self-cleaning cycles, just use a soft sponge and mild soap.

Don’t use the following because you’re risking removing the pyrolitic coating:

  • Abrasive cleanser
  • Steel wool pad
  • Razorblade
You can use a non-scratching scraper to remove food residue.

How to clean your self-cleaning oven

The cycle may be called “self-cleaned”, but sadly, the oven won’t take care of everything itself. You’ll have to do a bit of cleaning yourself. Avoid leaving the oven unattended is recommended, especially if you are doing this for the first time.

Do not spay with any type of oven cleaner – commercial or handmade in the oven if you’re planning to use the self-cleaning cycle.

  1. Open the windows, turn on the overhead fan.

    The smoke can set off the fire alarm, it also can linger for a long time in your kitchen and make the walls and cabinets sticky. So be sure to ventilate the space properly.

  2. Move all pets out of the room.

    Move all pets out of the room. We all know animals are sensitive to smells. If you have birds, the smoke can be lethal to them.

  3. Empty the warming drawer and remove any detachable plastic handles and knobs from the oven.

    The oven will get really hot from the outside as well. You don’t want them to melt in your appliance!

  4. Remove the oven racks and trays.

    You can clean them yourself in the sink. If you leave them in the oven during the self-cleaning cycle, their coating can become dull. If you wonder how to clean your oven racks, check out our oven shelves cleaning guide here.

  5. Remove food residue from the bottom and walls of the oven.

    This is done to reduce the amount of smoke from the oven. Even though some spills and bits are not going to cause a problem, if you have piles or big chunks of food, they might be a fire hazard. Remove them by hand with a rag or scrape them off gently using a non-scratching scraper.

  6. Turn on the self-cleaning cycle.

    During it, the oven will heat up to 932 °F (500 °C) and turn food residue into light grey ashes. The oven has extra thermodynamic regulators to enable it to reach a higher temperature. If the self-cleaning cycle is on, the oven door will automatically lock, and it won’t be unlocked until the temperature drops to a safer level. Most ovens will lock automatically, but if yours doesn’t, make sure to lock or fasten the door and under no circumstances try to open it during the cycle. The outside of the oven can get really hot as well. After you’re done with the preparation, set a time for the cycle. The average cleaning period takes three hours. If your oven is not that greasy, we suggest setting the cycle for one or two hours. However, you should use the self-cleaning option for mainly deep cleaning. Avoid turning it on for every little spill that happens while you cook.

  7. Wipe the ashes off.

    Leave the oven to cool down naturally for a couple of hours. Use a damp fibre cloth to wipe out all the ashes inside the oven. Pay extra attention to the corners and the oven door to remove all of the debris left. Attach the knobs and any other items you removed before the cleaning. Put back the racks and trays.

The whole procedure might take about 3-4 hours, depending on the oven’s condition. If there’s more solid burned-out residue inside, you may need to use the cycle for a longer time.

Don’t start the self-cleaning cycle if a seal is broken, the door doesn’t close properly, or if there’s too much food residue inside. That would be a fire hazard.

What might need special attention from you is the glass door, as the self-cleaning cycle not always manages to take care of it. What you can do is:

  1. Make a cleaning paste by mixing baking soda and water.
  2. Cover the glass with the mixture, but don’t scrub!
  3. Let it sit for over an hour, you might even want to leave it to sit overnight.
  4. Wipe the baking soda from the glass using a soft cloth. Try not to rub too much.

How to use the steam self-cleaning cycle

The steam cleaning cycle uses a lower temperature. It’s energy-efficient, and it can be used for cleaning minor spills and stains, as well as for deep cleaning. The steam self-cleaning option is relatively faster and might take less than an hour.

To steam-clean the oven, you need to pour water (around a cup) on the bottom of the oven while it’s cool. Then you have to close the door and push the button to clean. The temperature is not as high during the steam cleaning cycle and that’s why you can leave trays and racks inside the oven if you want to.

Remember always to follow the manufacturer’s instructions

Things to know before using the self-cleaning cycle of your oven

The self-cleaning cycle is a rather new addition to modern ovens, and most homeowners don’t feel confident on using them safely. Here are some important things to have in mind before turning on the self-cleaning cycle for the first time.

How often should you self-clean the oven?

How often to clean the oven depends on how frequently you use it. It’s recommended to use the self-cleaning cycle only for deep cleaning. The cycle lasts 3 hours and uses high temperatures which consumes a lot of energy.

Deep clean the oven every 3-6 months. Use the cycle more frequently if you cook a lot and your oven gets dirty faster. Don’t leave dirt and grimes built up in the oven. Cooking in a dirty oven may change the taste of the food, not to mention the build-up debris can release some toxic fumes in your food.

Know the type of the self-cleaning oven

As you already know, they are two types of self-cleaning ovens – traditional using high temperature and steam cleaning using water. Read the manufacturer’s instructions and learn more about the type of cycle your oven have. As we explained above, the different types of self-cleaning require a different types of preparation and cleaning methods.

High-temperature self-cleaning can produce toxic odours.

Keep your children and pets away from the kitchen while you use the cycle because the emitted fumes can be dangerous. During the process, the high temperature produces carbon monoxide, which may cause health hazards. So always use the cycle with caution and open all the windows in the kitchen to ventilate the area.

No 'Self-Cleaning' function on your oven? 🤔

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