What is A Self-Cleaning Oven

Unless you’ve mastered the clean-as-you-go approach to hosting, the aftermath of a dinner party can feel a lot like the hangover that comes with it — fond memories of a great time overshadowed by the stomach-churning odor of dirty dishes in your kitchen sink. And let’s not talk about that molten mess you left crystalizing behind your oven door.

Short of hiring help, there’s only one other way to handle this madness: By keeping that door shut and letting your oven clean itself.

But how does that self-cleaning mechanism work, anyway?

How exactly does the feature work?
Typically, this cycle uses high heat to burn off spills and spatters in the oven. An automatic safety lock on self-cleaning models prevents the oven door from being opened until the oven has cooled. Some models have a countdown display that shows the time left in the cycle.

Does it mean that you never have to scrub your oven again?

If you get one of our highly-rated models, yes. All you should need to do is wipe up some ash.

Are all self-cleaning features created equal? If not, how might they differ from one oven model to the next?
Sadly no. Some are much better than others at cleaning up messy, baked-on foods according to our tests. A few professional models may not have a self-cleaning feature.

How often is self-cleaning generally recommended?
It depends on your tolerance levels and how much you cook; check out the owners manual.

What are the biggest mistakes people make when using this feature?

  1. Not leaving enough time for the cycle, which can take 3-6 hours, because it takes time for the oven to heat up and to cool down once the cycle is finished.
  2. Not ventilating the kitchen while the cycle is running. Open the window a crack and turn on the range hood, otherwise it can get smelly.

Is there any new technology around self-cleaning ovens?
Some manufacturers offer lower-temperature self-cleaning cycles that use water and steam. They were faster, but really couldn’t handle big messes, especially grease on the oven walls and on the window in the oven door.

Self-Cleaning Oven Causing More Harm Than It Should

A self-cleaning oven uses temperatures as high as 900 degrees Fahrenheit to burn away any spilled food.

A self-cleaning oven sounds like a dream come true but is it more of a hassle than it is a convenience?

A self-cleaning ovens biggest plus is the convenience. You can relax and do other chores around the house while the oven cleans itself. Even though the oven reaches high temperatures, the thick insulation keeps the heat inside during the cleaning process, meaning the amount of energy used is reduced. Another advantage of a self-cleaning oven is you no longer need to buy expensive toxic oven cleaners. Using oven cleaners can leave a residue and when the oven is heated these fumes are released.

Of course, you also have your cons to a self-cleaning oven. Self-cleaning ovens can be very dangerous because the oven is left on an extended period and become hot to touch to children, pets, and adults. If you fail to remove heavy food debris before running the cycle, excessive smoke may fill your kitchen.

The self-cleaning oven also may cause mechanical failures. In new ovens you may find hidden heating elements underneath the oven floor and above the ceiling. These hidden heating elements makes it more difficult to vent heat and keep air circulating. With self-cleaning ovens getting as hot as they do it can lead to fuses popping and a burnt out control panel. Self-cleaning ovens have a special gasket that fits around the door of the oven.

After multiple uses of the self-cleaning feature, the gasket may break. When the gasket fails, it fills your kitchen with noxious fumes that are released from the oven cavity.