Cleaning Self-Cleaning Ovens

by April Reinhardt
(last updated September 11, 2017)

I grew up in a home with three hard-working adults who cleaned the old fashioned way – a lot of hot water, soap, and elbow grease. Mom, Dad, and Grandma taught us through example that it wasn't really clean until you exerted yourself physically, and used a sufficient quantity of time, cleaning agents, rags, and cleaning implements. Years later, in a home of my own, it's little wonder that I was wary of using my self-cleaning oven for the very first time. Was it really true that my oven would be clean with so little effort?

To my amazement and a little consternation, it was. I marveled that technology had taken the drudgery out of cleaning an oven, but at the same time was dismayed that it was so easy. At the end of the chore, I didn't experience that good feeling of being tired from having done a good days' work, and felt rather guilty over having been indulged with luxury.

Now, many more years later, I've moved past the guilt and clean my oven more often than I ever would have because it is no longer a chore. Follow these simple steps to clean your self-cleaning oven, and use the time saved to do other things:

  1. Remove everything from the oven, including racks and anything stored inside a bottom drawer.
  2. Using hot, soapy water, clean the frame around the oven door, the edge of the door, and wipe the gasket.
  3. Shut the oven and turn the controls to the clean cycle, and follow the instructions of your oven's manual. Most self-cleaning ovens use a cleaning cycle of two to four hours, and the oven door will self-lock during the cycle.
  4. Soak the oven racks in hot water during the cleaning cycle, and then clean away the residue.
  5. Once the oven completes the cleaning cycle, the door will unlock, allowing you access to the oven. Allow the oven to cool somewhat before removing the ash residue left behind. Wipe the entire cabinet of the oven clean.
  6. Wipe clean the oven door and glass, using paper towels and a spray cleaner such as Windex or Formula 409.
  7. Replace the racks inside of the oven, and then clean the outside of the cook top.

Most self-cleaning ovens reach temperatures as high as 900 degrees F, releasing the door lock after cooling to 600 degrees F. You can save energy by cooking something in the oven while it is still hot immediately after the cleaning cycle completes, and after you've brushed away the residue. Some older model self-cleaning ovens generate smoke during the cleaning cycle, and their manuals recommend removing pets and children from the kitchen until the cycle is finished.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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