Should I Self Clean My Oven?

It’s finally that time of the year again. With family and friends soon to fill our homes, we may be wondering if now is the best time to run that self clean option in your oven. Some homeowners swear by the self-clean feature of many new oven models, while others aren’t sure how and when to use it. What is the best way to get and keep your oven clean? And should you use your self-clean oven feature?

How do self-cleaning ovens work?

In 1963, Thermador introduced the first self-clean feature for both gas and electric ovens solely to make cleaning easier. Once a high-end only option, it is now offered on almost all newer machines. The self-clean function works by blasting either high heat or steam throughout the oven interior to remove hardened food remains.

Though the exact timing of the self-clean function depends on your brand and type of oven, typically you can expect that the self-clean option will last a couple of hours. For specifics you should consult your manufacturer’s instructions.

What type of self-cleaning oven is best?

There are two main types of self-cleaning ovens: traditional high temperature and steam. You’ll want to make sure you know which type of self-clean feature your oven has as each type has it’s own method. Some newer models offer both options so you can choose which method you want to use.

  • With high heat cleaning, the oven door locks and the temperature rises to between 800 to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit to incinerate any food remains. Once the cycle is complete and the oven has cooled completely, the door automatically unlocks.
  • With steam based cleaning, after adding 1 cup of water to the floor of oven and closing the door, the oven rises to about 250 degrees Fahrenheit. The steam generated is hot enough to soften and loosen any food remains.

How often should you self-clean your oven?

This depends on how often you use your oven and what is being cooked. For most homeowners, a thorough self-clean should be done only when the oven is heavily soiled.

The better option, however, is keep your oven clean on a regular basis by wiping down the oven by hand with hot, soapy water and a plastic scrub pad when you notice a spill.

How to use your oven’s self clean feature

Prep the Oven: Before you use the self-cleaning feature it is important to remove heavy particles or food debris in the oven. You’ll also want to remove your oven racks while self-cleaning your range. If racks are left in during the self-clean cycle they can lose their sheen and even become distorted making them difficult to remove. Note: If you forgot to remove your oven racks before running the self-clean cycle and you discover that your racks are difficult to remove, try putting a little olive oil on a paper town and rubbing it down the rack sides to help them glide in and out again.

Turn on the Vent: Odors are common, especially when using ovens that use high heat to clean. For this reason, it’s wise to ventilate by opening windows or running the hood while using the self-clean option.

Wipe It Down: After the oven has completely cooled, take a damp cloth and clean up any lingering residue from the inner door glass, sidewalls, floor and ceiling.

Is the self-cleaning function safe to use?

Consider the trade-off. While it may be convenient to simply push a button, the amount of energy and money it takes to run the oven on a high heat level for an extended period of time is roughly the equivalent of a month’s use.

Both types of self-cleaning functions can emit unpleasant odors and fumes that can be strong and sometimes toxic to our pets, birds in particular.

Especially in regards to high-temperature self clean options, the self-clean function can be hard on oven components. It may cause some type of premature failure to occur. Excessive heat buildup in particular can short a thermal fuse or burn out a heating element. And on new ovens this could prove to be costly as they often have hidden heating elements underneath the oven floor and above the oven ceiling that makes it more difficult to replace when they fail. For this reason, in particular, we do not recommend using the self-clean option right before preparing a holiday or large meal.

Use as Safer Method

  • Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water to make a spreadable paste.
  • Spread the past all over the interior surfaces of your oven, steering clear of the heating elements.
  • All the basking soda mixture to rest overnight or for at least 12 hours.
  • After 12 hours or overnight, take a damp dish cloth and wipe out as much of the dried baking soda paste as you can .
  • Spray vinegar everywhere you see any remaining baking soda residue in your oven.
  • Do a final wipe down with your damp cloth.
  • If needed, repeat spraying the vinegar and wiping until all the baking soda residue is gone.

If you need oven repair in Portland or Vancouver, be sure to call PDQ Repair Services. We serve our customers from Longview to Woodburn and are ready to assist you with any of your appliance repair needs. Call us anytime 360-719-4810 to speak with on of our friendly schedulers today.

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