Created on: December 31, 2012 Last Updated: January 05, 2013
Most stoves today come with a very convenient self-cleaning feature that makes oven cleaning much easier than doing it by hand. While a self-cleaning oven does makes oven cleaning easier, there are several things you should be aware of that will enhance the cleaning process and also protect both your oven and yourself during the process.
How a self-cleaning oven works
When the self-cleaning cycle on your stove is set in motion, the temperature in the oven rises dramatically, often as high as 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. When the oven temperature gets that high, it typically remains at that level for several hours while it burns off the accumulation of spills, dirt and grease. Once the cycle is complete, some powdery white ash will remain, which can be easily removed with a damp cloth or sponge once the oven has cooled off.
Read the manual
Before starting the self-cleaning cycle on your stove, always read the manufacturer's manual thoroughly for instructions, recommendations and precautions. Follow the directions exactly to ensure both the effectiveness of the cleaning and also your safety.
Do some preliminary cleaning
Before running the self-clean cycle for your oven, do some preliminary cleaning first, especially on those areas not reached by the self-cleaning cycle. This will help prevent soil from getting baked in by the high temperature. These areas include the frame around the oven opening and around the door gasket. It is highly recommended not to clean the gasket.
With a hot soapy cloth or plain hot water, remove as much of the spills and residue in the oven and on the door as possible before starting the self-cleaning process. This will help prevent smoking during the process and also help protect the oven's enamel. Be extra careful when cleaning around the heating element. Pat the element gently with hot water to do a light cleaning if necessary.
Some additional tips
1) When spills occur, clean them immediately to prevent soil buildup. Also, running the self-clean cycle routinely will help prevent excessive buildup of grease and grime and also facilitate the cleaning process.
2) Before turning the self-cleaning cycle on, open several windows for ventilation to let the fumes escape. If the stove has a hood, open that as well.
3) When cleaning your oven, never use abrasive oven cleaners as they typically contain chemicals which can damage the oven's enamel during the heating process. Never use brushes or wire pads. A soft rubber scraper can help remove some of the tougher spills.
4) It is advisable to remove the oven racks before starting the self-cleaning cycle and wash them separately with a soapy steel wool pad. The high temperature of the self-cleaning can discolor the racks, take away the shine and make them more difficult to slide in and out.
5) Once the self-cleaning cycle begins, the oven door should automatically lock until the cycle has ended. Once the oven cools down, the door should unlock. Never open the oven door while the cleaning is in process.
Having a self-cleaning feature for your oven greatly reduces the manual labor needed to get your oven clean. Always refer to your manufacturer's manual for instructions. Do some preliminary cleaning before starting the self-cleaning cycle. If you follow the necessary steps and take the recommended precautions, you should be very satisfied with the end results.
Learn more about this author, Linda Cann Pearson.
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