Self-cleaning is a great feature for ovens, even if there are risks with its use. How convenient is it to just sweep away the ashes of all the gunk from months of dinner boil overs? In spite of how well the self-clean feature allows you to conveniently clean up, there are precautions that you must take when running a self-clean cycle.
But first, let us illustrate how a self-clean cycle works.
How Does A Self-Clean Cycle Work?
An oven’s self-clean cycle operates by turning the heat up to at least 880 degrees Fahrenheit or 471° Celsius. Some models even reach temperatures to over 1000° F. At these temperatures, all the food particles, sauce residues, and all other forms of tough-to-clean debris in the oven turn to ash. Then, after the self-clean cycle is done, the oven owner can just wipe the ash out of the oven. Sounds simple, right?
Not when you factor in the fact that the temperatures are extremely high.
The Risks And Problems Of Using An Oven’s Self-Clean Cycle
At these high temperatures, a self-cleaning oven owner runs these risks:
- The breakdown of the oven or its important components.
- The breakdown of other appliances in the home, due to fuses blowing out, or the extreme heat.
- In extreme cases, the risk of starting a fire.
Because of these risks, these are best practices for running a self-clean cycle on your oven:
- Never run the self-clean cycle when you plan to go out of your house. If possible, schedule the self-clean cycle with other house chores, especially the type that keeps you within the vicinity of the kitchen, or where the oven is located.
- The self-clean cycle shouldn’t be run right before a holiday, or when it is crucial for you to do a cooking marathon.
- If possible, run the self-clean cycle a maximum of just twice a year.
- Always keep the right type of fire extinguisher in your kitchen. Refer to this guide for the types of extinguishers to use and for which material. To be on the safe side, keep Class B (grease/oil/fluid fires) and Class C (electronic fires) for use with cooking/kitchen-related incidents.
How To Self Clean Your Oven
Now that we’ve gotten the warnings and the requisite recommendations out of the way, here is the quick and dirty on how to run your oven’s self-clean cycle:
- Take out all the materials, pans, and attachments out of the oven. You can leave the racks inside so that they get cleaned along with the self-cleaning cycle, but wipe them down with a thin layer of vegetable oil to restore the luster. It also works to ensure that the racks would be easy to take out after the cycle.
- Wipe down the surfaces with an oven cleaner. Your manufacturer may give you a free oven cleaner with your purchase or may have a recommended brand. Only use what your manufacturer recommended.
- Set the self-cleaning cycle. As we’ve already stated, NEVER set it when you plan to go out of your house. Also, make sure that your smoke detectors in the rooms other than the kitchen are functional. Take note, because the process turns the food residues to ash, some smoking may occur. This may be picked up by your smoke detector, which may set off your kitchen smoke alarm. It’s a good idea to keep the room well ventilated and run ceiling and vent fans.
- Allow the oven to cool down. Again, the self-clean cycle pushes the oven to extreme temperatures, so you may need to have it cool down before you can finish the process. A cool-down time of around 1 to 2 hours should be enough.
- Sweep the ash, and wipe the oven’s surfaces clean. Invest in a handy/mini brush-and-dust-pan-set, and use that to conveniently sweep the ash out of the oven. Then, wipe the surfaces with a damp cloth. For the areas that do not get cleaned with the self-clean feature, such as the oven’s seals and the door, you may wipe those with a cloth moistened with hydrogen peroxide
- Enjoy your clean, clean oven!
Remember to refer to your owner’s manual before you attempt this process, review our best practices section, and always, always, do this process the safe way. Don’t keep flammable oils or fluids near your self-cleaning oven, keep anything flammable out of the way, and keep Class B and Class C fire extinguishers in your kitchen.
To have a handy guide, open this blog post on a tablet as you work on your self-cleaning process for the first time, or print this out and stick this somewhere you could read through.
And remember, don’t run your self-cleaning cycle before a big cooking event.