When and How to Use Your Oven’s Self-Cleaning Function
Gone are the days when you had to scrub and scrub … and scrub to make your oven shine like new. The self-cleaning feature, first introduced by Thermador in 1963, was added to gas ranges and electric ovens only to make cleaning easier. And, although once regulated to high-end models, it is now an almost universal setting on household ovens.
So whether you’ve dropped an entire pie in your oven trying to remove it, the cheese on your pizza is bubbling, or you’ve just let too many crumbs build up over time, it’s time to let the self-cleaning button on your oven. some magic for you.
Which type of self-cleaning oven is best?
There are two types of self-cleaning ovens: those that clean with steam and those that clean at high temperature, or “pyrolytic”. Both save you some really tough elbow grease – they just work a little differently:
- With high temperature cleaning, the oven goes to extremely high temperatures (typically 800-875 ° F) to burn residue and turn it to ash. Most consumers find that high heat works best with less elbow grease.
- Steam cleaning works with heat and water to loosen floors, but manual cleaning will always be necessary afterwards – especially for heavy soils. Steam offers the advantage of not burning, reducing temperatures and avoiding odors.
How often should you clean your oven?
For the majority, a complete self-clean every four to six months is enough to keep your oven sparkling, says Carolyn Forte, director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Home Appliances & Cleaning Products Lab. Ultimately, however, how often you need to clean your oven depends on how often you use it and how diligently you manually clean it between uses.
“Some consumers use the self-cleaning once a month, while others only use it once or twice a year,” said a brand representative from Thermador in an interview with Good Housekeeping. The frequency also depends on the consumer’s cooking habits. “For example, Thermador consumers who use the Sabbath Mode feature on their ovens sometimes use Self-Clean more often to make their ovens suitable between cooking meat or dairy (ideal for those who keep kosher).”
How long does the self-cleaning take?
While the exact time will vary depending on the brand and type of oven you own, it is prudent to bet on a few hours. You can always turn off the Self-Clean mid-cycle if you need to: For details, see the manufacturer’s instructions.
Is It Safe To Self-Clean Your Oven At Home?
Although you may have heard the opposite and the smell of burnt plastic might scare you off, It is perfectly safe to use the self-cleaning function whether you and your family (yes, babies included) are at home or not, says Thermador.
In general, self-cleaning ovens also do not pose a threat to typical pets like cats and dogs. According to Molly Maids, the fumes produced by self-cleaning ovens are only harmful to tropical birds. If you have this type of animal, make sure it is out of the house before doing a self-clean.
That said, smells are common, especially with ovens that clean with heat. For this reason, many consumers choose to ventilate (open windows or operate the hood) simultaneously. And, if the smell is overwhelming, you can always go to another room while the oven is doing its magic.
How to use the self-clean feature of your oven
Whichever method your oven’s self-clean feature uses, here are the general steps you will need to follow:
- Prepare the oven: Before using the self-cleaning function, make sure the oven surface is free of any major spills. And, unless they are documented as self-cleaning, remove the grates to avoid discoloration and potential warping.
- Lock the door: Although many models will automatically lock before the start of the cleaning cycle, recheck and lock the door if necessary.
- Turn on the vent: Make sure there is good ventilation in the house – a ventilation fan or range hood is ideal for helping to remove heat and odors caused by anything burning, according to Thermador.
- Let it run: Press this button and let your oven do its job.
- Wipe: When completely cool, wipe with a damp towel to clean off any lingering residue.
Note: Never use household cleaners with the self-cleaning function.
How to keep an oven clean between self-cleans
While self-cleaning is undoubtedly handy, your best bet for keeping your oven in good working order is to give it a little bit of attention between larger cleaning sessions. If you really want to stay on top of things, wipe it down once a month or when it starts to look dirty, says Forte. Here’s how:
- Wipe up spills immediately: Use a damp sponge or brush to catch loose pieces of food. To avoid burns and inadvertently shattering non-tempered glass, always wait until the oven has cooled completely before wiping the glass, walls and racks.
- Clean the racks: Remove the racks from your oven for more efficient and comfortable cleaning. Then wash each rack one by one in hot soapy water or a quality oven cleaner. Rinse, let dry and put back in place.
- Clean the door: Clean the exterior of your oven as you would the interior – with hot, soapy water and a sponge. For streak-free and stain-free glass, use a versatile glass or grease cleaner such as Simple Green All Purpose Cleaner, then rub with a a scouring pad, rinse with a clean cloth or sponge and allow to dry.
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