How Does a Self-Cleaning Oven Work? |
Shop All Ranges

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!

Table of Contents

How Hot Does a Self-Cleaning Oven Get?

An oven's temperature in self-cleaning mode can exceed 900 °F – that's hotter than the surface of the planet Venus! This is why we recommend your oven's self-cleaning sessions be few and far between. The heating element inside your oven has to work extremely hard to reach the excessive temperatures needed for a self-cleaning cycle, and if you don't want it to completely burn out, getting it hot enough to melt lead shouldn't become a habit.

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

We'd recommend once every six months, but spacing them out further isn't a bad idea. You can clean your oven between self-cleaning sessions by using water and a mild detergent, or an oven cleaner that's specially formulated for use in a self-cleaning oven.

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!

Related Content
Range Installation Types

Range Installation Types

Let's take a look at different installation types that are available for ranges today.
Ranges: What To Consider When Purchasing

Ranges: What To Consider When Purchasing

From sizes to fuel types and installations, there are a few things you should keep in mind when selecting a new range.
Ovens: What to Look For

Ovens: What to Look For

There are many options when it comes to choosing an oven… which one is right for you? We’ll walk you through what to look for.
Close Navigation
just a moment...