A self-cleaning oven is a convenient and easy way to keep your most used appliance performing at its best. It may seem like a simple solution to a chore that no one enjoys doing. Sometimes it feels like you just finished cleaning your oven, but in no time food residue and build-up appear again.

Before hitting that self-cleaning oven button, there are a few helpful tips to take into consideration to ensure that if you do choose to use this function, you are using it properly. It is also important to remember that sometimes a little elbow grease is the best way to keep your oven clean. Here are some helpful tips and suggestions to ensure you are using your self-clean over the right way.

What Is a Self-Cleaning Oven?

Self-cleaning ovens first came onto the market in the early 1960s as a solution to one of the most dreaded household tasks. Today, most ovens offer the self-cleaning oven feature with the simple push of a button. Popular brands like GE, LG, Electrolux, Frigidaire, Whirlpool, and Samsung all have self-cleaning features as a standard option on ovens. They also offer more efficient cooking performance since self-cleaning ovens have additional insulation.

They are designed to easily burn off internal cooking spills and burnt-on food residue in a matter of hours. Homeowners push the self-cleaning oven feature and let the oven take care of the rest.

How Does a Self-Cleaning Oven Work?

As we mentioned, self-cleaning ovens are designed to let you get on with the rest of your day while the cleaning process is happening.

The interior of the oven is coated with heat and acid-resistant porcelain enamel that allows food residue to burn off as the temperature of the oven rises. But before beginning the cleaning process there are a few things you must do first to ensure a thorough cleaning.

self-cleaning oven maintenance Toronto
  • Take Everything out Of the Oven – Many homeowners use their oven for storing pots and pans….or in the case of Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and The City, her sweaters. No matter what is stored in your oven, it is important to remove everything before turning on the self-cleaning oven feature. This will prevent damage to your kitchen accessories. You do not need to add any cleaner to the interior of the oven while it is going through the self-cleaning process. It is recommended to use this time to clean your oven racks using a non-abrasive cleaner and cooking oil to restore the metal.
  • Engaging Locking – Always check to make sure your oven is locked during the self-cleaning process. Most ovens will lock automatically, however, it is important to check that the mechanism has engaged. A self-cleaning oven temperature can reach more than 500F during self-cleaning which can cause serious burns.
  • Activate Self Cleaning Mode – When you have emptied your oven and ensured that the door is locked properly, you can activate the self-cleaning mode. You can expect your oven to go through the cleaning cycle in about 3 to 5 hours depending on the make. Do not open the door during the cleaning process and do not run your oven for any other reason, including using the burners or elements on top. It is recommended to open the windows slightly to prevent your home from getting too warm during the self-cleaning process. Homeowners may also want to run the exhaust fan above the oven to reduce any smoke or odours as food burns off.
  • Let the Oven Complete the Full Self-Cleaning Cycle – It may be tempting to peek inside the oven to see how the self-cleaning is going. Do not interrupt the self-cleaning process in any way until it is complete. If there is an emergency, disengage the self-cleaning oven function and wait until your oven cools down before opening the door. Most ovens will not release the lock until it has reached a safe temperature.

  • Do a Final Inspection and Wipe Down – Once the self-cleaning has been completed, your oven will begin a cool down. Once the oven lock is disengaged, you can crack the oven door an inch or two to allow excess heat to escape. Wait until the oven is cool again before returning anything to the oven. While you wait, it is recommended to wipe down the interior of the oven to remove any food residue that may not have burned off. Check all the seals and crevices of your oven to make sure no debris has got caught, as this could cause a fire. Hydrogen peroxide or water and vinegar are safe to use during the final wipe-down process.

How Often Should I Use the Self-Cleaning Function?

Follow your manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure you are cleaning your oven an appropriate number of times per year. Most manufacturers recommend no more than six times per year. If you use your oven on a more frequent basis or experience a large spill such as a pie or casserole spilling over, then it is safe to run your self-cleaning oven feature outside the recommended schedule. If you have any questions, contact your manufacturer directly for guidance.

Is It Worth Having a Self-Cleaning Oven?

For many homeowners, having a self-cleaning oven takes the time and stress out of an otherwise frustrating chore. But there are several other advantages to using your self-cleaning oven to keep your oven clean and running efficiently.

  • Cost Savings – Did you know that a self-cleaning oven can save you money on your energy bill? According to Silicon Valley Power, cost savings from self-cleaning ovens far outweigh traditional ovens. A self-cleaning oven uses as little as 6kWh while running the cleaning function.

2.3 kWh per hour
$0.30 per hour

Oven: surface
1–1.5 kWh per hour
$0.13–$0.20 per hour

Oven: self-cleaning feature
6 kWh per hour cleaning
$0.78 per cleaning

If you run the self-cleaning function right after the oven has completed cooking, you can save even more as the oven doesn’t have to work as hard to heat up.

  • Convenience – Self-cleaning ovens were invented with convenience in mind. It can take several hours to clean an oven by hand as you wait for cleaning sprays to soak in so you can begin the arduous task of scrubbing. Self-cleaning ovens begin cleaning with the push of a button, allowing you to continue with your day and not have to worry about messy clean-up.

  • Cost – Self-cleaning ovens save you money in the long run since they offer more efficient cooking and require fewer cleaning products.
Self-cleaning oven newly installed by Fix-It Right Appliance Repair professionals

Self-Cleaning Oven Potential Hazards

Though self-cleaning ovens may seem like a more convenient and energy-efficient choice, several risk factors need to be taken into consideration before making the switch. Like traditional ovens, self-cleaning ovens can pose both a fire and carbon monoxide risk so it is important to carefully review the manufacturer’s instructions and talk to a professional oven installation expert to ensure you choose the right oven for your home.

Fix-It Right Appliance Repair technician installing new oven
  • Fire Hazard – As debris is cleaned from your oven, it can leave behind traces of residue. Not all food gets burned up during the self-cleaning process, so it is important to do a complete inspection once cleaning is done to ensure that all debris has been removed. In addition to food debris, the high temperatures a self-cleaning oven must reach to achieve a thorough and complete cleaning can pose a fire risk. Ovens usually have all wires and components hidden behind an insulated panel. Make sure you do regular checks of the exterior of your oven to ensure that there are no exposed wires that may cause a fire. Never attempt to put an oven fire out yourself. Call 911 immediately and leave your home.
  • Family Safety Hazard – During the self-cleaning process, your oven can reach extremely high temperatures. This causes a burn risk for kids and pets. Never leave a self-cleaning oven unattended and always open a window or run the exhaust fan while your oven is running the self-cleaning cycle. This can prevent a build-up of toxic fumes created when the Teflon coating in your woven breaks down. Remember exhaust fans will not be enough to keep toxic gasses from harming your family. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, leave your home immediately:
    • Trouble breathing
    • Coughing
    • Flu-like symptoms or vomiting
    • Dizziness or Chills

Remember to always keep pets and children away from the oven while it is self-cleaning.

  • Smoke, Odours, and Carbon Monoxide – Cleaning is a dirty job and running the self-cleaning function on your stove can create a build-up of smoke, odors, and carbon monoxide. If you have a self-cleaning oven, you should ensure you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. As food burns off, you may notice a smell of smoke or other food odors. This smoke can cause a build-up of carbon monoxide, a deadly gas that is odorless and tasteless. Always keep windows open during the self-cleaning process to prevent a build-up of these gasses in your home and test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly.

A self-cleaning oven is a perfect way to stay on top of household chores without the hassle of messy cleaning products and manual cleaning. If you have any doubts about your self-cleaning oven working properly Fix-It Right Appliance Repair can help you keep your self-cleaning oven maintained and performing at maximum efficiency. If you think your self-cleaning oven needs an inspection or repair, contact us for fast, professional, and friendly service. We are dedicated to complete customer satisfaction and ensuring your appliances are operating effectively.

Contact us today for a free estimate.