How ‘Self-Cleaning’ Ovens Work

Fred's Appliance
March 27, 2014

If you own an oven that was manufactured in the past 20 years, chances are it has a self-cleaning function. Rather than trying to scrub down the inside of your oven, you can simply flip the switch and wait for it to work its magic. It’s a convenient feature that makes cleaning your oven a breeze. But how exactly does this feature work? To learn more about self-cleaning ovens and how they operate, keep reading.

Self-cleaning ovens work by using high temperatures to burn food scraps and debris leftover from baking without any chemical-based products. A typical oven may reach temperatures of 500 degrees Celsius (900 degrees Fahrenheit) during this time, at which point any food remaining inside the oven turns to ash. When the self-cleaning function has finished, a hand-held brush and dustpan can be used to sweep the remaining ash.

The entire self-cleaning process usually takes about three hours. During this time, the oven door remains locked in place to prevent accidental burns. The door will unlock when the process has finished, allowing the owner to sweep out any ash or cooked debris. Of course, you should wait for the oven to cool before attempting to clean out the ash.

Don’t be alarmed if you notice smoke developing inside your oven. With temperatures reaching 900 degrees Fahrenheit, some smoke is to be expected, especially with dirty ovens. Opening windows and turning on a fan can help push the smoke outside.

Tips For Using a Self-Cleaning Oven

  •  Open some windows in your home to exhaust the hot air.
  • Don’t leave your home while the self-cleaning function is running.
  • If you have pet birds or parrots, move them to a friend or family member’s home until the self-cleaning process has finished (it may release fumes that are toxic to birds).
  • Use a paper towel to remove any large pieces of food debris from your oven before turning on the self-cleaner.
  • Consider baking immediately after using this function, as this saves energy.
  • If possible, remove the racks from your oven before using the self-cleaning function. The excessive heat may cause racks to warp.

The self-cleaning function is a convenient utility that many consumers overlook. The next time you get ready to perform some routine cleaning in the kitchen, perhaps you should try this feature. It may take a while, but it will take the burden of manually cleaning the oven off your shoulders.

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