A self-cleaning oven automatically locks the oven door and uses extremely high heat to burn food residue to ash inside the oven. After the high temperature clean cycle ends and the oven has cooled, the oven door unlocks. You can then wipe out the ash created when the clean feature burned up the food debris inside the oven.
Using this time-saving oven feature is much more convenient than manually cleaning the oven using oven cleaners. Instead of having to battle harsh cleaning fumes and scrub burnt-on spills out of your oven, running the self-clean cycle reduces the cleaning process down to wiping ash out of the oven using a wet sponge or dish rag.
How to clean a self-cleaning oven
Follow the directions in the owner’s manual to prepare your oven and home for running the self-clean cycle. Here are some important highlights of preparations that you’ll need to make before you start the Clean feature:
Wipe out heavy spills. High oven temperature will burn off any food residue remaining after you wipe out heavy spills. Leaving a pool of grease in the bottom of your oven will create a small, controlled burn that will go out within minutes due to lack of oxygen inside the oven because the oven door is locked shut. Still, you’ll want to avoid the flames by wiping out heavy residue—especially greasy spills.
Ventilate your home. Open windows to dissipate the smoke that will come out the oven vent during the self-clean cycle. If you don’t wipe out heavy spills, the excessive smoke coming from the oven vent can trigger smoke alarms in your home.
Protect your pets. Ventilating your home goes a long way in helping protect pets. Birds are especially sensitive to smoke. Other pets can also be bothered by smoke even though you have all the windows open. For best protection of your pets, move them outside or to another location before running the oven’s Clean cycle.
Because the clean feature will automatically lock the oven door and keep it locked until the oven has cooled, you’ll want to make sure to remove baking dishes or containers before you start the cleaning process. Once the clean cycle starts, heating elements raise oven temperature to over 750 degrees Fahrenheit, so anything left inside the oven will likely get damaged or break.
If you discover that you left items inside the oven after starting the Clean option, you won’t be able to remove them until the oven cools down. The oven door stays locked to limit oxygen supply to the oven cavity during the cleaning process. If you were to open the door when the oven is above 750 degrees while residue is being burned off, the abundant supply of oxygen in the air entering the oven would immediately cause a fire to flare up. Don’t try to force the door open to retrieve items accidentally left inside the oven. Cancel the Clean feature and open the oven door once the oven cools.
How long does a self-cleaning oven take?
You can set the Clean feature to run between 2 and 4 hours on most ovens. Clean option settings vary by model so check the owner’s manual for your range or oven to see how long the self-cleaning cycle will take in your range. Keep in mind that the oven door stays locked until the oven cools down after the high temperature clean so you’ll need to add about 45 minutes to the cycle time before you can use the oven.
Although running the self-clean cycle takes hours to complete, you’ll save energy by not having to scrub out stubborn spills from your oven. Just prepare the oven and your home then start the Clean feature and you’re practically done. Wipe out the ash after the cycle ends and your oven will look like it’s new.
To avoid the need for running frequent self-clean cycles and to save energy, take steps to keep dishes from spilling over when baking. Use the right size cooling containers when baking and don’t overfill casseroles. Even though the self-clean cycle is convenient to use, you don’t want to overuse it.
Keeping oven in top shape will help save energy when running self-clean cycles. Follow the tips in your owner’s manual for maintain the oven door gasket to keep heat from escaping during the high temperature clean cycle. Have an appliance repair technician perform annual maintenance on your oven to keep the controls and heating elements working properly. At the first sign of any trouble, have an oven repair technician diagnose and fix any problems to keep the oven working properly.
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