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The longer you allow food to gather within your oven, the worse it will get. It’s time to tackle the “dreaded” task of oven cleaning, and the best oven cleaner is elbow grease. If your oven has a self-cleaning function, the work will be less unpleasant. Self-cleaning always entails manually clearing the ashes away from the bottom and sides of the oven, cleaning the oven window, and replacing the grates – this kind of manual prep decreases the length of time you can use the function to prevent the fumes and foul aromas that are emitted.

What is a self-cleaning oven?

It’s an oven with a mode that effectively burns off any baked-on spills and spatters within the oven, saving you from wiping them off with your fingers while being exposed to toxic fumes. The setting is located on the control panel or on the knob with your other oven settings.

What is steam clean?

Pour a little quantity of water into a specific compartment or the bottom of the oven before choosing the steam clean mode. The cycle will last around 30 minutes. The heat from the oven generates steam, which ideally loosens and softens any crud in the bottom of the oven, allowing you to easily wipe it out.

However, unless the stains are extremely recent and minor, you will almost certainly need to scrape them away. To thoroughly clean your oven, you may need to use a cleanser such as Bar Keeper’s Friend. A really unclean oven will not be cleaned using steam.

Even after running steam clean many times, it didn’t make cleaning an extremely filthy oven or removing a persistent burnt-on muck any simpler. In my opinion, the steam-cleaning function is no substitute for a genuine self-cleaning capability.

Which oven brands have traditional self-cleaning cycles?

Almost all major manufacturers, including Thermador, Miele, Viking, GE, GE Profile, and Frigidaire, feature self-cleaning ovens, including those in ranges. The function is also available on Wolf and Bertazzoni electric ranges.

How do self-clean ovens work?

The oven warms to above 800 degrees Fahrenheit during a typical self-clean cycle, often known as high heat or “pyrolytic” cleaning. Any burnt-on food decomposes at this temperature. Consider how charcoal burns to ash in your barbecue.

When the oven reaches temperature, the oven door locks. When the oven is clean and has cooled, it automatically unlocks.

While the self-clean cycle is going, the exterior of the oven will become very hot to the touch, although a short interaction is unlikely to result in a burn.

How long does a self-clean oven take?

Depending on the type and setting, the self-clean cycle might take anywhere from 1 1/2 to 6 hours. Some ovens can give you a choice of run times.

Do I need to add cleaners to a self-cleaning oven?

You should never use cleaning chemicals with a self-cleaning oven.

After that, you must clean up the ash. In most cases, a moist sponge or towel will suffice.

Learning How Self-Cleaning Ovens Work

Let’s look at how self-cleaning ovens function in these few steps.

Self-clean ovens

  • A self-cleaning oven cooks at temperatures higher than usual.
  • So, how long does it take to clean a self-cleaning oven? Self-cleaning ovens typically take one to three hours to clean, depending on how thoroughly you want it cleaned.
  • After cleaning, the oven leaves an ashy residue that is easily removed.

Ovens with self-clean steam

  • Minor spills may be quickly cleaned up using steam.
  • Pour one cup of water into the bottom of your oven and steam clean, following the directions in your oven handbook.
  • This cleaning procedure just takes 30 minutes to complete and softens any buildup in your oven.
  • Because this cycle does not utilize chemicals, it is safe to leave pots and racks in the oven.

Things To Remember When Using A Self-Cleaning Oven

If you’ve decided to get a self-cleaning oven, these are a few things to remember:

  • Before cleaning the oven, remove all pans, foil, and stainless-steel racks.
  • Before using the self-clean feature, clear up any spills on the oven floor and scrape away any residue
  • Use the self-clean option just five to six times each year.
  • Depending on how filthy your oven is, adjust the time settings.
  • To ensure your safety, do not open your oven once the cleaning procedure has finished. Allow for a few hours of cooling before opening the oven door.
  • Schedule your oven cleanings appropriately. You should not clean your oven before a party, event, or holiday.

Can you leave the house while the oven is self-cleaning?

Do not leave your oven alone when it is self-cleaning. Staying near by is advised since the oven may reach very high temperatures, which may result in some little smoke or smells.

If you have dogs, make sure the kitchen is adequately aired and put them in a different room while the oven cleans itself, since their senses of smell are more sensitive than ours.

How often should you use the self-clean oven function?

The frequency with which you utilize the self-clean feature is entirely dependent on how often you use your oven and the amount of filth it accumulates over time. In general, the self-clean feature is intended to give a more thorough clean. To minimize excessive smoke and fumes while cleaning, it is advisable to conduct the cleaning cycle before heavy dirt collect.

What’s the difference between a self-clean and steam-clean oven?

Self-cleaning ovens employ high heat to help burn any residue or dirt that has accumulated in the oven and transform it into ashes, while steam-cleaning ovens use water to loosen stuck-on food particles. High heat self-cleaning cycles are generally longer than steam-clean cycles and, as a precaution, need a closed oven door.

Temperatures with steam-clean are often within the regular bake range, or approximately 400 oF or less, and the oven does not lock, albeit it may need a more thorough wash down at the conclusion of the cycle than high heat self-cleaning ovens.

Can you clean a self-cleaning oven manually?

You certainly can. While a self-cleaning or steam-clean oven is designed to make the process of cleaning an oven easier, you are not obligated to utilize this feature to properly clean your oven. In truth, even self-cleaning ovens need human cleaning from time to time, particularly of the oven door glass. In between deep cleanings, wipe off your oven with light soap and water.

Why don’t some high-end ovens have a self-cleaning cycle?

Self-cleaning cycles are not available on high-end models such as the La Cornue stove and the BlueStar range.

La Cornue ovens are “designed to endure forever,” according to the company, and “the strong focused heat utilized in a self-clean mode will tear down the oven seal over time and jeopardize the oven’s effectiveness.”

BlueStar claims that their ovens feature a technology that keeps them clean every time they’re used. Owners say that they must use oven cleaning to clean their BlueStar ovens.

What can I do to keep my oven cleaner between self-cleaning cycles?

It’s a good idea to clean out the oven while it’s still warm after cooking anything messy, such as a roast, or when you detect a spill on the oven floor.

To collect any drips, lay a small baking sheet or piece of foil on the rack underneath a pie or casserole dish, but don’t cover a whole rack or the oven floor with foil. Foil may obstruct heat and ventilation, affecting cooking outcomes. It may also cause damage to the oven floor or heating components.


If you like cooking and often use your oven for anything from drippy cheesy pizzas to bubbling fruit-filled cobblers to spattering roasts, you’ll end up with a filthy oven and a difficult cleaning task.

I’d never purchase an oven, particularly one that costs a $1,000 or more, if it didn’t include a high-heat self-cleaning mode.