How Does A Self-Cleaning Oven Work?

Self-cleaning ovens can save you time from long hours of laboring over a dirty, grimy oven. Check out these tips to learn how to use this feature.

Dirty oven

Cleaning a greasy, grimy oven has to be one of the most tedious and least popular kitchen tasks. Oven cleaning products often have chemicals that release unpleasant fumes and that can irritate skin. The nooks and crannies of oven interiors can be difficult to reach, and baked-on food particles can be hard to remove. It can be a messy, exhausting process. 

In comparison, ovens with a self-cleaning feature seem to work like magic. You simply close the oven door, turn on the self-cleaning cycle, and wait. With no grease, no grime, no chemicals, and very little mess, a self-cleaning oven can be both a time- and labor-saver in the kitchen.

You may have wondered how self-cleaning ovens work. Most use extremely high heat, around 900 degrees Fahrenheit, to burn off the dirt that accumulates in your oven during the cooking process. That’s why you’ll often see some gray, ash-like matter in the bottom of the oven after you’ve run a self-cleaning cycle. (You can simply wipe away the ashes with a damp cloth.)

Here are some do’s and don’ts from Merry Maids for operating your self-cleaning oven:

  • Do read your manufacturer’s instructions before running a cleaning cycle and follow the directions word-for-word. If you can’t locate your manual, a quick internet search on your oven model should turn up some information.
  • Do remove any oven racks, pots, pans, utensils and foil liner that are in the oven before cleaning.
  • Do clean only the parts of the oven that are listed in your manual.
  • Don’t clean the oven door gasket, as you can damage the oven’s seal.
  • Don’t use commercial oven cleaners or oven coaters in a self-cleaning oven.
  • Don’t touch the oven or let children near it during the self-cleaning cycle, as it gets hot enough to burn human skin.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to stay in the house when you’re using the self-cleaning cycle in case any smoke or steam escapes the oven and you need to turn on your kitchen’s exhaust fan for ventilation, or you need to open a window.

The time it takes for a self-cleaning cycle to complete varies, but it is usually around three or four hours, plus additional time for the oven to cool down before the door lock mechanism releases. Be sure to plan ahead and allow enough time if you need to clean your oven before mealtime or a special occasion. 

Remember, like all appliances, ovens can eventually break down from normal wear and tear, whether or not they have a self-cleaning feature. An American Home Shield Home Warranty Combo Plan, Appliance Plan, or Build Your Own Plan includes coverage for oven malfunctions from normal wear and tear and other circumstances included in the service contract. The plans also provide valuable coverage for many other major home systems and appliances that inevitably break down. Take some of the heat off yourself and your budget. Check into sensible, affordable home warranty coverage today.

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