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5 Reasons to Avoid Using Your Oven’s Self-Cleaner

If you’re like most people, your oven doesn’t get cleaned nearly as often as it should. Most people probably can’t remember the last time they gave their oven a good cleaning. Cleaning your oven is a lot of work, and using your oven’s self-cleaner setting might be tempting.

However, it can be a terrible and potentially dangerous thing to do.

Today, we’re sharing five reasons to avoid using your oven’s self-cleaner feature. Let’s dive in!

What Is the Oven Self Cleaner Feature?

Many ovens come with a self-cleaner feature on them. This feature can cause an oven’s temperature to spike upwards of 800 degrees. When the insides of your oven reach this temperature, it’s nearly impossible for the various foods and grease to remain.

When the process is complete, just wipe away a thin layer of ash with a wet sponge. The finished product is a squeaky clean oven ready for your next Pinterest baking project. 

Is It Safe to Use the Oven Self Cleaner Feature?

Many people are uncomfortable with pushing their ovens to these excessive temperatures. They’ve likely heard or read horror stories from individuals who experienced damage to their oven while using this feature. Whether or not you feel safe using the feature is entirely up to you.

However, Consumer Reports suggests that using an oven’s self-cleaning feature poses minimal risks. They state, “Data from our surveys confirm that problems with the self-clean cycle are few and far between, occurring in only 1 percent of the ranges covered in our most recent reliability survey.” There are very few safety risks involved with using the feature, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

How Often Should I Clean My Oven?

You should clean your oven every three or four months, depending on your use. Outside of your routine cleanings, you’ll want to clean the inside of your oven anytime food or other objects get onto the heating elements. Failure to keep the heating element free of food and debris can cause you to fill your kitchen with smoke.

It’s a good idea to check the owner’s manual for your specific oven. The manufacturer may recommend a specific cleaning process or chemicals to help ensure you get it as clean as possible without causing any damage. If you no longer have your owner’s manual, there’s a good chance you can search online and quickly find it.

5 Reasons to Avoid Using Your Oven’s Self-Cleaner

There are a handful of reasons why we think it’s a good idea to use a little elbow grease and manual labor instead of trusting your oven’s self-cleaner feature. Let’s take a look!

Potential Damage to Major Parts

An oven is a combination of many complex parts, and they’re all packed tightly together in the innards of your oven. Some of these major parts can get damaged when exposed to the excessive heat generated by the oven during self-cleaning.

Components like touch panels, contact terminals, and electronic boards are not cheap or easy to replace. You may have to entirely replace the oven, especially if it’s out of warranty.

Odors and Dangerous Carbon Monoxide

The self-cleaner feature on your oven heats the inside to the point that food and other particles burn and turn to ash. The odors created from this process can be overwhelming, especially if you are sensitive to smells. Burning these materials can also create a large amount of carbon monoxide. 

This dangerous gas gets released through the vents of your oven. You should always have a working carbon monoxide detector to alert you if there are any safety concerns about a carbon monoxide leak in your home. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be dangerous and even deadly in some circumstances.

Danger carbon monoxide vintage rusty metal sign on a white background, vector illustration

Family and Pet Safety

Your oven may be insulated, but when the inside of your oven reaches 800 degrees, the outside will still get very hot. This can be extremely dangerous if you have pets or small children in your home. They may not realize that your oven is in the middle of a cleaning cycle, and they could touch the surface. This can be very traumatic and potentially cause serious burns.

It’s best to keep children and pets away from the kitchen until the cleaning process is over. Use baby gates to block off rooms, and communicate with everyone that the oven will likely be extraordinarily hot to the touch.

Increased Fire Risk

If you don’t do a good job of cleaning out the inside of your oven before activating the self-cleaning feature, there’s a chance of fire.

Grease and food particles can ignite and cause a fire inside your oven. These fires can be hazardous and quickly spread throughout your kitchen, especially if you’re not in the room when it occurs. By the time you discover the fire, it could be too late.

Respiratory Issues

Some people suffer from respiratory issues and are very sensitive to the air. The fumes from the burning can cause coughing and breathing troubles, especially for those with asthma and other respiratory conditions.

You must keep the air circulating in the kitchen to avoid potentially harmful respiratory issues while cleaning your oven.

Tips for Keeping Your Oven Clean

We have tips for keeping your oven clean and making the entire process as easy as possible. Let’s take a look!

Consider a Professional Oven Cleaning Service

Cleaning an oven is no easy task. It requires getting on your hands and knees and scrubbing the various surfaces. This may not be a problem for everyone, but it can be a very laborious task for many people. For those individuals, we recommend leaving your oven cleaning up to a professional cleaning service.

This service can typically range from $65 to $150 per cleaning. You can likely set up a schedule with the cleaning company, where they will stop by every few months and give your oven a good scrubbing. If you’re not physically able to scrub vigorously while on your hands and knees, it’s worth every penny. 

Get and Use an Oven Liner

Oven liners are great as they keep the bottom of your oven clean. These liners will catch any food or grease that would have otherwise found its way onto the various surfaces in your oven. You’ll want to regularly remove these from the oven and give them a good scrubbing in the sink, but this is much easier than scrubbing the bottom.

Consider a Roasting Bag

A roasting bag acts similar to an oven liner in that it prevents the various juices from cooking from spilling onto your oven. The more you can keep off of your oven surfaces, the less you have to worry about cleaning up. Roasting bags can help you keep your oven clean and trap juices and flavors to help make your foods taste even more delicious.

Clean Your Oven Regularly

Putting off giving your oven cleaning will likely only make it more difficult. The longer you wait, the more gunk will develop and the harder it will be to clean. Once you clean your oven, it’s a good idea to regularly place a heat-resistant bowl of water inside and set it to high. Let the water sit in the oven for 20 minutes before turning it off and letting it cool.

The humidity created by the water will help soften the gunk and grease stuck inside your oven. Instead of scrubbing these spots violently, you’ll likely be able to wipe them away with a napkin or wash rag.

Stay Safe and Keep Your Oven Clean

You want your oven to be as clean as possible when you use it. It can be a bit embarrassing if you have friends or family over while you’re cooking, and they peek inside your oven.

In the most extreme situations, it may cause them to question whether they want to consume any foods you have created. Luckily, if you use some of these tips and avoid using the self-cleaning feature on your oven, you’ll stay safe and have a clean one.

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