How Does a Self-Cleaning Oven Work? |
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How Does a Self-Cleaning Oven Work?

Oven with Illuminated InteriorShort answer: Heat, and lots of it!

Slightly longer answer: An oven's self-cleaning function uses extremely hot temperatures to disintegrate the food debris that's dirtying up the interior, saving you the trouble of tedious scrubbing with harsh chemical cleaners. This function usually takes several hours from start to finish, with the oven door automatically locked for safety the entire time. While self-cleaning ovens are incredibly convenient and can save plenty of time and effort, there are some important points to be aware of to maximize safe operation. Here are some key tips for using a self-cleaning oven!


How Often Should I Use My Oven's Self-Cleaning Function?

Your oven's self-cleaning sessions should be few and far between. The extreme temperatures used during self-cleaning can reach excesses of 900 degrees Fahrenheit, and having the heating element reach this temperature too often can result in it completely burning out. For routine cleaning, we recommend using water and a mild detergent or baking soda.

What Are the Most Important Self-Cleaning Oven Instructions?

First and foremost, don't leave your oven unattended during self-cleaning. You should plan to be in your home for the entire duration of the cleaning cycle to keep an eye on it and make sure everything is operating as planned. The next most important rules for oven self-cleaning involve ventilation. The extreme heat of the self-cleaning cycle creates fumes and some smoke, so be sure to turn on your kitchen's vent hood and open your kitchen windows as wide as weather permits. If you have pets, be mindful that their sense of smell is probably much stronger than yours, and make sure they have access to fresh air while the cleaning cycle is happening. This is especially true if you have pet birds – be sure to keep them in a separate room with good ventilation while your oven is self-cleaning.

Cleaning Oven Interior with SoapCan You Use Oven Cleaner on a Self-Cleaning Oven?

Bad idea! Traditional oven cleaners can be extremely dangerous to use inside a self-cleaning oven. These types of cleaners are extremely abrasive, and any lingering residue inside your oven can create dangerous fumes when you do use the self-cleaning function in the future. Cleaning your oven the old-fashioned way should involve nothing more than a soft cloth, water, and mild dish soap or baking soda. There are also special oven cleaners that are formulated specifically for use in self-cleaning ovens. We advise against using scouring pads or wire brushes due to the potential for permanent damage to the oven's finish.

Can You Leave the Oven Racks in During Self-Cleaning?

Oven racks should definitely be removed before beginning a self-cleaning cycle. Nothing catastrophic will happen if you do forget to remove them, but the exposure to extreme heat for such a long period of time will do major damage to the racks' finish. Oven racks that are ceramic or porcelain-coated will fare much better in a self-cleaning cycle, but you should make it a point to clean any residue off of them as soon as the self-cleaning cycle is complete.

Is There a Chance of a Self-Cleaning Oven Fire?

Since the objective of self-cleaning is to burn off food debris, it's normal to see some small flames here and there inside of your oven. However, if an oven is excessively soiled, it is possible for a larger fire to break out. This can be prevented by cleaning up any excessive grime in the oven's interior before doing a self-cleaning cycle.

The oven's door lock engages during the self-cleaning cycle, which ensures safe containment in the event of flare-ups, so that usually will keep any larger fire contained. If any flames reach outside the oven, cut the power to the oven as quickly as possible, and have baking soda or a fire extinguisher at the ready. Again, self-cleaning oven dangers are significantly lessened if your oven is not heavily soiled.

What to Do After a Self-Cleaning Oven is Done

Be sure to let the oven cool down completely before you do anything! As we said earlier, self-cleaning cycles can reach temperatures of 900 degrees Fahrenheit, so be patient as it may take a while for the oven to completely cool down. Once it's cool, use a damp cloth to wipe up any ash left behind. Again, we advise against using scouring pads or wire brushes due to the potential for damage to your oven's finish.


If you're in the market for a self-cleaning oven, P.C. Richard & Son is the place to find one! Our self-cleaning oven inventory includes gas, electric, and dual-fuel models in a variety of sizes, colors, and price ranges from today's hottest appliance brand names. For the best self-cleaning ovens at the guaranteed lowest prices, shop P.C. Richard & Son now!

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