Reasons to Stop Using the Self Cleaning Oven Feature

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Self cleaning ovens sound like the perfect solution to busy schedules. While they can be a time saving convenience, there are also many risks. Self cleaning ovens can be very hazardous. There are many reasons why you should not use your self cleaning oven.

What is a Self Cleaning Oven?

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Self cleaning ovens were first introduced in the 1960’s. The self cleaning feature is a setting where the oven cleans dirt and residue off the inside of the oven by using extremely high heat or steam to burn the spillage away. Self cleaning is available in most gas and electric modern ovens.

Self cleaning ovens are made with extra insulation and specialized interior glazing to withstand the higher temperatures. Self cleaning ovens also have a self locking mechanism so the oven cannot be opened when the self-cleaning mode is on.

The self clean oven mode is a great feature to have but it is not without risks. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about how self cleaning ovens work as well as the risks and precautions of using this setting.

How Does a Self Cleaning Oven Work?

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Ovens with a self clean mode are designed with a feature that, once initiated, cleans the interior walls and base of your oven by using extremely high temperatures or steam to burn the dirt and spilled food particles off the sides and bottom until they are reduced to ash.

Once the cycle is turned on, the self cleaning oven temperature rises to 500 to 540 Celsius (932 to 1,000 Fahrenheit), hot enough to incinerate any food spillage and splatters and reduce it to ash. Because the temperature so is dangerously high, the oven door must be fully closed before you can turn the cycle on. The door will automatically lock during the cycle and remain locked until after the self cleaning setting is complete and the interior has cooled to a safe temperature.

Self cleaning oven cycles take three to four hours to complete and should only be run when someone is home. It is recommended that you never start the oven self clean if you will be away for your home for part of all of the cycle. Also, make sure the oven is empty before turning the self cleaning cycle on. Once the cycle is complete and the interior has cooled, you will have to wipe the interior down to remove any ash and soot.

How Often Should I Use the Self Cleaning Function?

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How often you should use your self clean oven feature depends on your oven’s make and model. Oven brands vary with their instructions on how often the cycle should be operated so it is important to read the owner’s manual before operating your oven’s cleaning features.

Some brands instruct running the oven self clean feature once a month to reduce build-up in your appliance while other brand names recommend running the mode once every two to three months.

Is it Worth Having a Self Cleaning Oven?

One of the main reasons people buy self cleaning ovens is the convenience. Rather than spending hours scrubbing, scraping, and washing the inside of your oven to remove stuck on food splatters, you just have to push a button and the oven does the rest. While the cleaning cycle is on, you can spend your time doing other things around the house. After the cycle is complete, you will have to wipe down the inside but that should only take a few minutes.

Self cleaning ovens are more energy efficient because they are better at regulating and retaining their interior heat. However, gas and electric ovens with a built-in self clean feature are also more expensive than gas and electric ovens without the self clean function so the purchasing costs and energy saving benefits balance each other.

Because self clean oven temperatures are extremely high when the cycle is running, the cleaning cycle can produce foul odours and smoke while the burning the food remnants inside your stove. If excess smoke billows from your appliance, it can set off your fire and smoke detectors. The odour and smoke accumulation in your home can make it uncomfortable and even difficult for breathing, especially if you have respiratory issues.


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While there are benefits to owing a self clean oven, but there are also many risks which is why most people choose not to buy or use an oven self clean function. When thinking about purchasing an oven with a self clean cycle, it is important to have a clear understanding of the benefits and the risks.

One of the many issues with self cleaning ovens is the high temperature can erode key components of your oven. Although they are well insulated, the extreme heat will still damage your locking system, thermostat, your main board and wiring, and the interior coils and trays over time. If you see an error code on your appliance related to any of these parts, contact us to inspect your oven. We offer same day service and can fix the issue before it becomes a serious problem.

Other self clean oven hazards include:

Fire Hazard

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There is a high risk of self cleaning oven fires starting whenever you use this function. Although many safety features are installed in the appliance, the high temperatures can damage or erode your oven’s mechanical parts over time so anytime you are working with extremely high temperatures, there is always a risk of a fire. If you accidentally leave a pot or other dish in your oven before turning the self cleaning mode on, there is a chance that it could catch fire while inside the oven.

The food splatters in your oven can also catch fire while the cycle is running. Most food drippings are not made to withstand the extreme heat, so the hotter the inside of your oven gets, the greater the risk of a fire starting. For instance, if grease residue is in your oven, it can catch fire once the interior temperature rises to over 400 Celsius.

If you see a fire start in your oven when you are running the oven self clean mode, turn the cycle off immediately and call your local emergency fire department. Never try to extinguish the fire yourself and never open the oven door. Even if the flames dimmish inside your oven, the fire could reignite and spread very quickly as soon as you open the oven door and let oxygen in. If your oven catches fire, professional fire fighters should be called to extinguish it safely and properly.

Family Safety Hazard

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Extreme self cleaning oven temperatures create a high risk of serious injury to your family and your pets. While self cleaning ovens have automatic locking systems, over time, the higher than normal temperatures can damage the locking mechanisms. If this happens, your oven door might not close securely during an oven self clean mode.

Although the ovens have extra insulating features, the external surfaces will still get hot when you run the oven self cleaning mode. If you have small children or pets, they are at a greater risk of suffering from burns with when the self cleaning oven temperatures are high. Always keep kids and pets away from your oven if you are running the self clean function.

Smoke and odours emitting from your appliance can also put your family at risk. Make sure your kitchen is well ventilated and keep animals and children away from the room while running the self clean oven mode. Monitor your family and pets for any signs of illness, toxicity, or breathing difficulties while running the oven self clean and seek medical attention if the conditions become serious.

Smoke, Odours and Carbon Monoxide

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Self cleaning ovens have specialized, fire retardant glazing to protect against the extreme heat, however, over time, the glazing can deteriorate and releases gases and other chemicals in fumes when your oven self clean mode is on. If fumes and smoke coming are coming out of your oven while it is self cleaning, these can be highly dangerous for your pets, children, or anyone in your household with respiratory issues. It is important to have a good venting system in your kitchen and, if running your oven self clean function, open a window to help improve air quality.

If you have lots of food spillage inside your oven, running the oven self clean cycle will also increase your risks of odours, smoke, and even carbon monoxide emitting from your appliance. Carbon monoxide can be fatal if it is released into the air from your self cleaning oven. Carbon monoxide is an odourless, tasteless, invisible gas that is highly poisonous. It is important to have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home.

At RA Appliance Repair, we are experts in oven self clean service and repairs. Contact us today to make a same day appointment for your gas or electric self cleaning oven.