Do self-cleaning ovens work?

No matter how careful you are, your oven gets dirty.  Fats spit over the top of the dish, the sauce gets excited and spills out of the baking tray or even a little cake mixture escapes the cake tin.  And due to the heat involved with the oven, these spillages can quickly become blackened lumps that are really tricky to remove.

This led to the idea of self-cleaning ovens – way back in the 1960s to be accurate.  Today, they have advanced somewhat on the original version created by General Electric.  But do self-cleaning ovens work?

What is a self-cleaning oven?

A self-cleaning oven is one that has a special system built into it that allows it to clean itself at the touch of the button.  Most ovens use a Pyrolytic feature that boosts the temperature much higher than used for cooking – and automatically locks the door while doing it to avoid accidental opening.

Once the oven reaches the required temperature, usually around 480 degrees, grease, stains, marks and even burned food is turned into dust.  This means once the cleaning is finished and the temperature reduced, you can simply wipe around with a damp cloth to remove this debris and your oven is once more clean again.

Modern self-cleaning ovens often have different programs depending on how severe the stains are. Or there may be ‘eco’ modes that use less power or heat to a lower point that can be used if the stains are mild.

Steam cleaning ovens

There are also some models that use a steam cleaning process as opposed to the high-temperature approach. With these ovens, there is a special enamel coating on the inside of the oven.  When activated by steam and low heat, the walls release the dirt clinging to them.  All you need to do it wipe clean afterwards.

These systems are usually quicker than the Pyrolytic versions, taking around an hour to work. However, they don’t always manage really baked-on stains as well.

Continuous cleaning ovens

The third style of self-cleaning oven isn’t as popular as it once was but still can be found.  With this style, there is a rough, porous enamel finish the oven walls.  The enamel contains catalytic substances like metal oxides that help reduce stains to ash as part of the normal cooking process.

This style of oven is ideal for coping with light splatters but doesn't handle big spills very well. People usually put some kind of protective layer on the bottom of the oven to collect these bigger spills and allow the oven to handle the smaller ones.

a self cleaning oven with open door close up

Benefits of a self-cleaning oven

Time saver

The obvious benefit to a self-cleaning oven is that you don’t have to spend a load of time scratching and scraping at the oven floor to remove those baked-on stains.  This is particularly useful if the oven stands on the floor and kneeling to do the work is a tricky proposition.

Comprehensive cleaning

Another benefit is that the job is a comprehensive one because the entire oven goes through the process.  This means stains in the trickiest back corners are turned into ash just as easily as those in the centre.  It also removes stains on things like internal lights that can be tricky to clean.

No chemicals needed

A big concern when cleaning an oven is that the chemicals used to clean it leaves some residue and this is then cooked into the next item that you make in it.  By using a self-cleaning oven, you can ease this concern as there are no chemicals needed.  The heat does the cleaning and you simply need a damp cloth to wipe up the dust left behind.

Protect your pets

Self-cleaning ovens can also help ease concerns about the fumes created by burned-on stains.  These fumes can be toxic to pet birds and irritate other pets, so they need to be removed as quickly as possible.  A self-cleaning oven can help handle this with the use of the cleaning program.

Things to do when using a self-cleaning oven

Each oven will come with its own instructions on how best to use the system and what you need to do. But there are a few general tips:

·      Remove all pans and any liners from the oven before cleaning

·      You may need to remove racks and clean separately depending on the instructions

·      Clean up as much baked-on food or grease as you can easily before cleaning

·      Make sure the oven door locks while cleaning

·      Leave the oven to cool afterwards

·      Use a vacuum cleaner to grab all the dust created then wipe with a cloth

Problems with self-cleaning ovens

At first glance, a self-cleaning oven seems the perfect solution but there are some issues to be aware of when considering one.

For starters, the high temperatures used can lead to deterioration in some of the parts within the oven and shorten the lifespan of the appliance.  Things such as thermostat controls can be vulnerable to damage if the system is used frequently.

If you don’t get any debris from inside the oven before cleaning, then there is the risk of smoke, odours and even carbon monoxide being created while cleaning.  So there’s a bit of pre-work to do before the cleaning cycle can begin.

While the doors will lock while cleaning, the exterior of the oven will also get hotter than normal while it is operating, and this is always a risk to children and pets coming into contact with it.  Furthermore, self cleaning ovens do not clean any of the outer oven so this is still a chore you need to manage yourself to keep your voen looking good inside and out.

Man's hand with green gloves cleaning the kitchen oven

Should you get help with oven cleaning?

Self-cleaning ovens are a clever addition to the kitchen appliance but aren’t the fix-all system they would appear to be at first glance.  There’s still cleaning to be done, before the self-cleaning program and afterwards. Also A Cleaning Service ensures that no nasty chemicals are used in the home and we have extremely effective eco-friendly products too! So whether your self-clean oven needs a helping hand to look its best again, or you have a normal oven and require a professional to clean it for you, we are here to help!

Here at A Cleaning Service, we offer comprehensive oven cleaning services that save you the work but also means you don't need to worry about paying out extra for a self-cleaning oven when you can just let the professional clean it for you. Contact us or give us a call on 0117 325 9250 for a free quote!

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