Whether it’s melty cheese from that pizza you just cooked, or juices from your favorite casserole that bubbled over the baking dish, your oven takes quite the beating. If you don’t want to clean your oven by hand, you might be able to use your oven’s self-cleaning feature if it has one. Keep reading to learn how self-cleaning ovens work, the differences between the various types of self-cleaning ovens, and helpful tips for keeping up with oven maintenance.
There are three main types of self-cleaning ovens: pyrolytic cleaning ovens, steam cleaning ovens, and continuous cleaning ovens.
A pyrolytic oven has a smooth enamel coating that makes it easy to remove the dirt and grime that’s accumulated in the oven over time. This oven will self-clean under a timed cycle of two to four hours on high heat. During this period, the oven temperature will reach 900 degrees Fahrenheit, turning any baked-on food into powder.
Steam cleaning ovens clean slightly differently than pyrolytic ovens. A steam oven has a proprietary enamel coating that releases dirt when the steam cleaner is activated. Unlike a pyrolytic oven, a steam oven’s self-cleaning system is much quicker and doesn’t require high temperatures.
Unlike the other two self-cleaning ovens, a continuous cleaning oven has a porous enamel finish that allows for grease and grime buildup to spread out and turn into ash over time under normal oven temperatures. While this is an efficient way to clean small splatters, it’s inefficient for larger spills.
Before diving into how to use the self-clean feature on your oven, there are several safety precautions to consider:
Before activating a self-cleaning cycle, remove all foil from your oven. You should also remove the metal oven racks and clean them separately.
When using a steam-cleaning oven, pour water at the bottom of the oven to create steam during the cleaning cycle. Reference the owner’s manual to know how much water needs to be poured in the oven.
Using chemical cleaners on a self-cleaning oven is not necessary and often discouraged. If you do choose to use an oven cleaner in between cleaning sessions, keep in mind that the residue left behind may release dangerous toxins during the self-cleaning cycle.
While using the self-cleaning cycle on your oven is an easy and convenient way to clean your appliance, it shouldn’t be done frequently. To keep your oven clean in between cleaning cycles, here are a few tips:
If your oven needs to be cleaned, use natural products like baking soda and vinegar.
The hottest a self-cleaning oven gets is around 900 degrees in a pyrolytic cleaning oven. A steam cleaning oven reaches around 250 degrees.
You should use your oven’s self-cleaning function about every six months, but you may use it less frequently if you keep your oven clean and void of food debris and spills.
It typically takes between three and four hours for a pyrolytic cleaning oven to finish its cleaning cycle, while a steam-cleaning oven takes around one hour.
The best way to manually clean a self-cleaning oven is with natural ingredients like baking soda and vinegar and a scrub brush to remove any caked-on food. If you have a particularly tough spill to clean up, you may want to use a simple solution composed of dishwashing liquid and water.
It’s not advised to use an oven cleaner in a self-cleaning oven due to the toxins that can be emitted from the chemical residue during the self-cleaning process.
Jennifer Merrigan is a writer and editor that has covered the subject of home and lifestyle for almost a decade. Along with House Method, you can find her published work on Quickens Loans, POPSUGAR, and The Penny Hoarder.