Self-Cleaning Oven: Mechanism, Hazards, and Top Brands

Self-cleaning ovens have a built-in feature that can make your life a whole lot easier if you do a lot of cooking at home. Instead of scrubbing down a greasy oven and creating a mess in the process, setting your oven to self-clean mode can make all the difference and free up some of your time.

So, how does an oven self clean? There are two ways it can do so – either by high temperature or steam.

Some homeowners find themselves feeling a little nervous about using their oven’s self-cleaning feature for various reasons like the fear of a self-cleaning oven fire or self-cleaning oven smoke. Knowing what to expect when performing this necessary task can help alleviate these concerns.

It’s best to clean your oven frequently to rid your over food spills. If you cook often, you may want to use the cleaning feature more.

How Does a Self Cleaning Oven Work?

Self-cleaning ovens use extreme heat that is higher than cooking temperatures to rid itself of food stains. During a cleaning cycle, self-cleaning oven temperatures rise to about 880 degrees Fahrenheit, or 471 Degrees Celsius. When the temperature rises to this degree, any food spills within the oven decompose and turn to ash, which can be easily be wiped off using a wet cloth.

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The duration of the cycle can be anywhere from one-and-a-half hours to three hours. This all depends on the amount of dirt that needs to be cleaned. So it’s important to clean your oven at a time when you know you will not need to use your self-cleaning oven for several hours. Some families choose to clean their oven after dinner or overnight. If you decide to use this feature while you remain in the home, be mindful of the fumes your oven may emit during the cleaning cycle.

The first few times you use the cleaning feature on your self-cleaning oven, you may be able to smell a slight odour. Many people opt to leave the home after beginning a cleaning cycle and return after the cycle is completed. This way, they can avoid breathing in the fumes. After several cycles, this smell typically subsides.

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Self-cleaning ovens also have a self-cleaning steam option which requires one to pour about 1 cup of distilled water into the floor cavity and then close the oven door and select the steam clean option. This cleaning cycle usually lasts about an hour to an hour-and-a-half, and the temperature inside the oven only rises to about 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

When an oven is self cleaning, there is no need to use any commercial oven cleaner in or around the oven. Doing so may affect the performance of your self-cleaning oven.

No other cleaning techniques like placing aluminum foil at the bottom of the oven to collect the debris should be used. Wiping off the dirt from the bottom of the oven is simple to do so there is no need to try to prevent a mess.

Typically, you may leave the self-clean racks in the oven, however, you will need to remove stainless steel racks.

Can Self Cleaning Ovens Catch on Fire?

As we mentioned earlier, many people are nervous about the self-cleaning oven dangers associated with the convenient feature. Due to the extremely high temperatures needed during an oven self-cleaning cycle, there is the possibility for a fire breaking out inside the oven. Although this is not very common, it is a possibility.

Self Cleaning Ovens Catch on Fire

There are a number of reasons why a self-cleaning oven may catch fire. Sometimes there is so much grease buildup inside the oven that when the high temperatures are reached in order to burn off any leftovers, it may cause a fire.

If you leave large particles of food inside the oven or a puddle of grease on the floor of your oven, you may end up with a grease fire inside the oven. Before cleaning your oven, removed large pieces of food or any large grease spills before beginning a self-cleaning cycle.

While the idea of a self-cleaning oven fire may seem scary, it’s important to remember that self-cleaning ovens do come with special features to minimize the risk of an oven fire. One of the safety features is the mechanical interlock. This is what keeps the oven door tightly closed and locked during a self-cleaning cycle, preventing a potentially dangerous scenario.

Is Self-Cleaning Oven Smoke Harmful?

Self-Cleaning Oven Smoke

When using the high-heat self-cleaning oven mode, the high temperatures will produce smoke as they burn off oil and other food leftovers in the oven. This is normal. The amount of smoke produced during a cycle depends on the amount of food and grease residue left in the oven before starting the process. Wiping off excessive food or grease from the oven can help reduce the amount of smoke emitted by your self-cleaning oven.

While cleaning your oven using the self-cleaning feature is extremely convenient, there are some drawbacks like the emission of carbon monoxide as a by-product. The fumes coming from the oven during a cleaning cycle are caused by the food particles being burned or steamed away and the enamel lining that coats the inside of the oven. The fumes that result can irritate people within the home. Good ventilation in the home is key. You can use your range hood fan, or open windows where possible to increase air circulation in your home.

Are all Self-Cleaning Ovens Created Equal?

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The self-cleaning feature is a standard feature on all modern ovens. While it is a common feature, not all ovens are created equal. There are some self-cleaning oven manufacturers who produce top of the line ovens. Some of the top brands on the market are Frigidaire Self Cleaning Oven, GE Self Cleaning Oven and Samsung Self Cleaning Oven. These ovens offer top of the line performance and features to consumers. If you are considering purchasing a new oven, be sure to compare and contrast the various features each offers and read some reviews before making your purchase.

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