The self-cleaning option in the oven comes handy if you need to clean the oven after cooking a large number of homemade meals. Cause let’s be real, most of you don’t clean their oven as often as they should.

You should deep clean your oven every three months and remove spills as soon as they happen. Luckily, for your convenience, most of the modern ovens have a self-cleaning option that will remove cleaning the oven from the endless chore list.


Table of Contents:


How does self-cleaning oven actually work?

A self-cleaning or pyrolytic oven uses high temperature to turn food residue from inside the oven into ashes. When you turn on the function, the oven can heat to 500°C. 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. The outside of the oven can get really hot as well.

The cleaning cycle can last from thirty minutes to three hours, depending on the condition of the oven. If there’s more solid burned out residue inside, you may need to use the cycle for a longer time. Depending on the oven model, the racks and trays may need to be removed during the cycle, so make sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions before using the cycle.


Step-by-step cleaning process

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. It’s recommended not to leave the oven unattended, especially if you do this for the first time.

Step1: Prepare the oven for the self-cleaning cycle

First, you need to take out everything removable from the oven – oven racks, trays, grills, especially if they’re made of aluminium. If the racks are made of cast iron, you can leave them inside, but they can still get damaged during the cleaning process. If you wonder how you can clean your oven racks, check out our how you can do it with aluminium foil. 🙂

Remove any detachable plastic handles and knobs from the oven, as the oven will get really hot from the outside as well. You don’t want them to melt…

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

Step 2: Turn on the self-cleaning cycle

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.

Step 3: After cleaning

Leave the oven to cool down naturally for a couple of hours. Use a damp fibre cloth to wipe out all the ashes from the inside of 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 prior to the cleaning. Put back the racks and trays.


You can take advantage of the self-cleaning and put the greasy BBQ racks in the oven while you run the cycle. The high heat will burn out every residue and save you a lot of time scrubbing. The BBQ racks are usually made from cast iron so it is safe to do that. If the racks are old, they may lose their colour during the process.


Steam self-cleaning oven

The steam self-cleaning option is different than the traditional one. Most of the new oven models have both cleaning options. The steam cleaning cycle uses a lower temperature and the cycle lasts around 30 minutes. Its energy-efficient and it can be used for cleaning of minor spills and stains, as well as for deep cleaning.

How to use the steam self-cleaning cycle

Step 1: Prepare the oven 

The temperature is not as high during the steam cleaning cycle. That’s why you can leave trays and racks inside the oven if you want to. Make sure that the oven is cool. Poor 1 cup of water into the bottom of the oven.

While steam cleaning you can use natural or commercial oven cleaner. Make sure to read to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Step 2: Turn on the steam cleaning option

Select the steam cleaning option and close the door. This cleaning method does not emit toxic fumes, but it’s recommended to ventilate the area. The cycle will last from 30 minutes to an hour.

Step 3. After cleaning

Leave the oven to cool down naturally. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe out the moisture and loosen food residue from the inside of the oven.

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Things you need to know before self-cleaning your oven

The self-cleaning cycle is rather new addition to the modern ovens and most of the homeowners don’t know how to use 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 I 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 temperature which consumes a lot of energy.

Deep clean the oven every 3-6 months. If you cook a lot and your oven gets dirty faster, use the cycle more frequently. 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 type of preparation and cleaning method.

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.

Image source: Shutterstock/Vogtguy

  • Last update: April 16, 2020

Posted in All Articles, Cleaning Guides

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