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Ironing clothing and cleaning the oven are two of the most universally “dreaded” tasks that everyone despises.

So, when you purchased your previous oven, you were probably ecstatic to discover that it included a “self-cleaning” option. Say goodbye to stinky cleaning fumes and back-breaking scrubbing and welcome to a perfectly clean oven at the push of a button.

Not so quickly!

While oven manufacturers have attempted to design technologies that take the “work” out of housekeeping, the self-cleaning function of many modern models may potentially cause major issues with your equipment.

Surprisingly, self-cleaning issues account for over 20% of our oven repairs. We want to assist you prevent severe problems with your own oven, so let’s look at the procedure and the probable issues:

What exactly is a self-cleaning oven?

A self-cleaning oven is a function found on many contemporary ovens that uses an extremely high temperature (932 F° or 500 C°) to burn off cooking spills and splatters to help in cleaning. A cycle usually takes many hours to complete, and it automatically keeps the oven door shut until it has fully cooled.

Self-cleaning ovens often cook more effectively because they have greater housing insulation to resist the high temperatures required during cleaning.

The Self Cleaning Cycle isn’t All that it Promises

We live in a time where we don’t have to do much for ourselves. We no longer have to clean our own dishes, Alexa will play music and order Amazon items on the spur of the moment, and robots will vacuum our floors (honest review of rumba coming soon.) If you have enough money, you may even purchase a machine that can iron and fold your clothing! New technology provides a lot of simplicity and convenience, but it does not necessarily provide the finest performance. Who hasn’t had to scrape food off a plate from the dishwasher from time to time? Self-cleaning ovens offer ease and hands-free cleaning, but the burned food residue does not just disappear. Some wiping and scrubbing will be required even after a self-cleaning session. After all, there isn’t a self-cleaning oven scrubber inside. Your self-cleaning oven cycle’s “cleaning” is attempting to melt all the filth off by heating your oven to very high temperatures.

And That Means REALLY Hot!

Most ovens have a maximum cooking temperature of 400-450 degrees. That is absolutely hot. The self-cleaning cycle, on the other hand, will heat your oven to 600°F or higher, and in some instances will maintain temperatures of 1000°F to burn off oil and food particles. Do you really want something that hot in your house? Or grease reaching such high temperatures in your home? As a result, self-cleaning ovens might cause home fires, particularly if there is an abundance of food and oil inside. Heating the appliance and whatever is inside to such temperatures will undoubtedly stink up your house for the day. Unfortunately, they aren’t innocuous scents…

Other Dangers

The high temperatures of the self-cleaning option might cause additional hazards. Carbon monoxide levels will rise as a result. At high temperatures, additional chemicals used in production emit harmful vapors from your oven. Teflon, acrolein, and formaldehyde levels in the air from self-cleaning ovens may be harmful. Install a carbon monoxide detector and keep windows open for ventilation if you are contemplating the self-cleaning option.

Self-Cleaning Oven Heat Damage

While self-cleaning ovens seem to be the perfect tool for many chefs, they are not without flaws. When activated, the self-cleaning mechanism locks the oven door because the self-cleaning temperature of the oven exceeds 700 to 900 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite being marketed as a way to make oven cleaning simpler, self-cleaning oven heat damage is often permanent. Short of product problems, following the manufacturer’s guidelines may help you avoid most self-cleaning oven heat damage.

Oven Fails to Work

Smart manufacturers include a thermal overload device (TOD) or thermal fuse in their self-cleaning ovens, which blows if the temperature on the exterior of the oven exceeds acceptable levels. This is really a fire-prevention feature. To work properly, self-cleaning stoves must have enough airflow and the proper setback around the oven. These fuses are electrical connections that cut power to the oven’s electrical components. Before replacing a blown thermal fuse or TOD, a repair technician must determine the cause of the blown fuse.

Warped Oven Racks and Broilers

Before utilizing the self-cleaning feature, remove all detachable components from the oven. Oven racks and broilers are designed to work at high temperatures, however they should not be left in the oven during self-cleaning. The high temperatures necessary to dissolve oven trash into a little mound of ash harm materials that are not designed to resist such heat. If broiler pans and oven racks are left in the oven, they may deform and fail to reinstall correctly. Aluminum foil used to capture oven drips must also be removed to avoid fires.

Oven Gasket

A unique gasket fits around the oven door in self-cleaning ovens. The gasket may wear out after repeated applications of the self-cleaning function. When the gasket breaks, unpleasant odors flow into the house from the oven cavity. Manufacturers often caution users not to use abrasives on the gasket since this leads to the gasket’s deterioration. Because of the heat and smoke created by the self-cleaning oven under typical working settings, manufacturers suggest keeping birds and small pets away from the kitchen. During the self-cleaning cycle of the oven, open a window or activate the exhaust fan.

Prevention Measures

Before activating the self-cleaning function, ensure that the oven is located at the manufacturer’s recommended setbacks from the wall and cabinets. When the stove is situated too near to the kitchen cabinets, the heat created by the oven will ruin the cabinetry finishes. Wipe off any burnt-on sweet residue in the oven cavity using a moist towel. During the self-cleaning procedure, sugary residue might harden and attach to the oven’s surface. When utilizing the self-cleaning function, do not leave the house.

The Best Method for a Clean Oven

We strongly advocate cleaning ovens by hand the old-fashioned method. The end outcome is a far cleaner oven than the self-cleaning cycle would create, with significantly fewer risks. A spray-on oven cleaning does the job swiftly. Even “fume-free” products need a lot of airflow and emit an unpleasant odor into your house. If you have the time, the most natural and efficient technique to clean your oven emits no emissions or risks. Simply remove the oven racks and scrub them in your sink. Sprinkle baking soda over the bottom of your oven and spritz with vinegar. The vinegar should provide enough moisture to form a paste with the baking soda, but not so much that it pools. Rub some paste on any difficult places on the oven’s sides as well. Allow that to settle for a few hours, or overnight if feasible. After a few hours, wipe off the most of the paste and scrub any burnt-on portions with a scouring pad. Wipe clean the oven with additional vinegar to remove any residue.

It is important to clean your oven on a regular basis to prevent the accumulation of cooking spills. A clean oven not only reduces unpleasant cooking odors, but it also reduces your chance of fire. Everyone uses their oven at different rates, but it should be cleaned at least once or twice a year. While “set it and forget it” may seem to be the simplest approach to a clean oven, be aware of the hazards and safety measures before flipping the switch. Good old-fashioned elbow grease yields better results. We may be little biased, but we believe that scheduling an appointment with the Dust Bunnies of Hampton Roads is the simplest method to get your oven as clean as possible! We are just a phone call away if you want to start the new year with a clean oven.

Final Thoughts

While the ease of merely pressing a button and obtaining a clean oven is appealing, there are certain trade-offs to consider before hitting “start.” Fumes may irritate persons with respiratory issues, and the tremendous heat of the self-cleaning procedure can damage oven components. Using the self-cleaning feature is quite simple: just a little prep work to begin with and a little clean-up afterwards, and you’re done!