The Safest Way To Use Your Oven's Self-Cleaning Feature

A self-cleaning oven is one of the greatest features modern ovens offer — if you own an oven, you know how cleaning it manually can be time-consuming, messy, and tiring. Now, if you've never heard of a self-cleaning oven before, it's just how it sounds. As CHOICE explains, a self-cleaning oven, also known as a pyrolytic oven, cleans itself with heat up to 930 degrees Fahrenheit. The high heat burns off any residual food, oil, or debris. You'll just need to wipe it off afterward.

According to Tech Advisor, a self-cleaning oven poses a range of advantages other than not having to clean it completely manually. For example, they note that these ovens don't produce the cleaning fumes that many oven cleaning products do. They are also much more energy-efficient and will therefore save you money on your energy bill. But, how do you use the oven's self-cleaning feature? Is it safe? Are there precautions you'll have to take? Keep reading to find out.

A practical mini-guide

As The Kitchn mentions, while there are many common misconceptions about the self-cleaning feature, that doesn't mean you should shy away from it. They note that while the feature does most of the work for you, you'll still need to clean it out afterward. They recommend using a wet paper towel for this purpose. Also, it's essential to remove oven racks and any bits of baking sheet or foil that might be inside before you begin. Also, if your oven is an older model, you might want to reconsider using the self-clean feature, as most older models can't handle extremely high temperatures.

According to Reader's Digest, some ovens use a different method to self-clean, known as steam cleaning. They work by adding distilled water to the bottom of the range where steam is formed. The steam then loosens and gets rid of the debris. The length of time that this cycle lasts might range anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes. An oven that uses this mechanism will do its job much faster and won't produce odors as with pyrolytic ovens.

Staying safe

Designer Appliances notes that it is best to keep your windows open while your oven is cleaning itself. You want to ensure any fumes or odors don't get stuck in your home or kitchen, making it difficult to breathe. Although you shouldn't stay in the kitchen where the self-cleaning happens, don't wander off too far. It's best to stay in another room or in your garden. They also mention that the process can produce a small amount of carbon monoxide, which you should only really worry about if you have a pet bird, who will likely be very sensitive to the fumes.

If you or a family member has asthma or similar health conditions, you might want to be careful about using the self-cleaning feature on your oven, says OvenClean. They recommend making sure they stay away from the oven while the oven runs the feature and returning only when the process is done, as fumes can cause coughing, flu-like symptoms, and breathing issues.