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Demystifying Self-Clean Ovens


Almost miraculously, a self-clean oven gets one of the most awkward household chores done, in just one move! For those who love to cook, it’s the most important feature their oven has to offer. It’s quick and chemical-free, but many cooks have no idea how it works. Here’s a little primer:

High Temp vs Steam

There’s two types of self-clean methods: high temperature and steam. High-temp ovens use above-normal cooking temperature to reduce food residue to ash. The steam clean ones heat water into steam. Turn off the oven light before cleaning, and wipe down only after the cycle has completed and cooled.

How Long Does it Take?

A high-temp cleaning takes anywhere from 1½ – 4 hours. If you’re a newbie, be warned that it’s smelly, as food particles burn down. While the steam clean is odourless and faster (20 – 40 min), it needs to be run more often. As per all user manuals, make sure to clear away food debris to help the tech do its job.

How Often Should You Self-clean?

This differs for every household depending on how much the oven is used. It also depends on how messy your cooking is. Do you keep your oven free of food buildup, and wipe away spills with hot soapy water? Do you only use your oven on special occasions?

Things to remember when using your self-clean oven feature:

  • Always remove oven racks otherwise they’ll lose their sheen if left in the oven.
  • Never leave the oven unattended. The extreme heat can create fumes and smoke. Always turn on the oven vent and open a kitchen window.
  • Don’t use commercial oven cleaners because they’ll etch at and discolour the oven liner.

Five Myths about Self Cleaning Ovens