No matter how hard we try to avoid it, we’ve all had something spill in the oven at some point in time. Whether it's cheese melting off a pizza, fat dripping from a roast chicken, or a lasagne oozing over the sides of a baking dish, the oven becomes a terrible mess. These types of spills also can create unwanted smells as the residues burn to a crisp.
Enter the “self-cleaning” oven: a convenient invention that helps save time and effort by cleaning itself without the need for chemicals or elbow grease. Most new ovens come with a self-cleaning cycle, although many inexpensive and professional models forgo this feature. Some brands offer a setting that steam cleans the oven, but generally, it isn’t as robust as the typical self-cleaning option.
What Is a Self-Cleaning Oven?
There are several types of self-cleaning ovens: the first and most common type uses high-temperature to clean an oven, and the second uses steam.
The typical self-cleaning method uses high temperatures to burn off leftover food debris. Ovens with this option require no chemical cleaning agents, relying solely on heat to burn food residue into ash.
These self-cleaning ovens clean using heat – to up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, any food residue inside the range turns into ash. Once the cycle is complete, you can easily wipe away the ash with a cloth.
The downside to this type of self-cleaning method is that the high heat can produce fumes and even smoke. The smells can be very unpleasant and fumes can be irritating, so it is best to open windows and turn on your range vent fan.
You also may also be asking yourself, how long does a self cleaning oven take to complete a cycle? The self-clean process can take several hours or more, depending on your oven.
Steam Cleaning Oven
An alternative to self-cleaning ovens is the steam clean oven. The steam cleaning feature works using heat and water that you add to make steam. Steam clean ovens clean faster than self-cleaning models: they typically take about 30 minutes to finish cleaning. Additionally, they only reach 250 degrees Fahrenheit and they won’t emit fumes or odors while they’re cleaning.
That said, while steam clean ovens clean at a lower temperature and for a shorter period, they are generally not as effective as self-cleaning ovens. Yes, they are faster. But, they can’t handle excessive amounts of food and grease. The steam clean feature is typically good at cleaning the bottom of the oven but is less effective on the sides.
You’ll have the most success if you use the steam clean feature right after small food spillages. All you have to do is add water, and you’re ready to begin the cleaning cycle.
How to Use a Self-Cleaning Oven
Before you set your oven to self-clean (or steam clean) mode and let it run a cleaning cycle, follow these tips:
- Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions before starting the cleaning cycle. If you can’t find your manual, you can find instructions by searching for the oven model on the internet.
- Remove everything from the oven before starting the self-cleaning process: oven racks, pots, pans, foil liners, utensils, and so on.
- Never use commercial oven cleaners or oven coaters in your self-cleaning oven.
- During the high-heat self-cleaning cycle, the oven gets hot enough to burn the skin. Don’t touch the oven or let any pets or children near it. Typically, most self-cleaning ovens have an auto-lock feature that prevents anyone from opening the oven during cleaning.
How to Clean a Self-Cleaning Oven
You should not use commercial or caustic oven cleaners on your self-cleaning oven. Also avoid trying to clean self-cleaning ovens by hand with abrasive products or chemicals, as these can wear away the pyrolytic coating. If you remove too much of the coating, the self-cleaning function becomes less effective.
Home Warranty Coverage for Your Kitchen Appliances
While keeping your oven maintained can help keep it working its best, it will eventually break. That’s where home warranty coverage can help. Home warranty plans from First American can cover your oven and many other important appliances and home systems. Get a free home warranty quote today to learn more about the items we can cover to help protect your budget from an unexpected repair or replacement costs.
The contents of this article are provided for general guidance only. First American Home Warranty does not assume any responsibility for losses or damages as a result of using this information.