Oven Cleaning

How to clean a self-cleaning oven when it’s really dirty?

Indeed, there is one tedious job that we are rarely looking forward to in our household chores list. And that’s cleaning the oven. Of course, maintaining its exterior surface nice and polished is not such a burden. But when it comes to scrubbing the oven on the inside, is it worth getting greased up to the elbow?

Well, there is a high chance you might not need to have to clean your cooking appliance by hand, as there’s an array of self-cleaning ovens on the market available now. Still, even if you’re a proud owner of one, sometimes, the self-cleaning function may not be as good as expected, especially if you use your oven a lot and it has accumulated grease and burnt food particles. 

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So, if you wonder how to clean a really dirty self-cleaning oven and: 

  • you don’t know how to use the self-cleaning feature;
  • you wish to know if you can do the job by hand;
  • you want to do it without using the self-cleaning feature;

Keep on reading – this blogpost is meant for you. 

A short introduction on how self-cleaning ovens work

There are three types of self-cleaning ovens available: catalytic, pyrolytic and steam-cleaning ovens. And when we talk about pyrolytic or catalytic, we are talking about the self-cleaning function that sets their difference. 

The principle that sets catalytic and pyrolytic ovens from the rest is the usage of high temperature (between 200 and 500 degrees Celsius, respectively, or 390 – 900 degrees Fahrenheit) to burn off leftovers from baking, without the use of any chemical agents. At the touch of a button, the pyrolytic self-cleaning option will turn dirt to dust, and all that’s left to do is vacuum it or wipe the dirt away with a cloth. Done correctly and regularly, this functionality will save you time, yet bear in mind that such high temperatures could be hazardous if the job has not been performed strictly by the manual. Remember: a self-cleaning oven is designed to stay locked until the high-temperature process is completed. 

Steam-cleaning ovens, as the name suggests, use steam to loosen dirt and food residue, with enamel-coated liners being the common material used for the chamber. Note that you still need to wipe down the surface once the self-cleaning cycle has finished.

Self-cleaning: how often and preparation

How often you should set the self-cleaning cycle depends highly on the usage. Consider what food you are preparing – grease and spills can build up in the oven cavity after cooking. Soil build-up can also result in bad odour when the oven door is open even if you are not cooking. Which is kinda a “yucky” thing – luckily you don’t have to live with it. 

Follow our step-by-step instructions to prepare your oven for the self-clean mode:

  1. First and most important – disconnect the appliance from the electricity plug.
  2. If you have cooked recently – allow it to cool off.
  3. Remove your oven racks and any trays before turning the self-cleaning option.
  4. Remove everything from the top surfaces and items closeby if your oven uses extra high temperatures to clean itself.
  5. Carefully clean by hand any heavy food residue if necessary – don’t use scratching tools.
  6. Ventilate your space, as it could get quite stinky in there.
  7. Plug in your appliance and set the self-clean cycle – the oven will lock and prevent you from opening it. Don’t try it!
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Cleaning the Control Panel 

No matter the type of oven you have, cleaning the outside is pretty straightforward. To clean the control panel, buttons and the exterior side of the door, use a damp cloth and a mild detergent if needed and then quickly wipe afterwards with a dry one. Do not attempt to remove the control buttons as this may damage your appliance and you will need an oven repair tehnician. You can use a glass cleaner to spray the glass of the door from outside. Or you may use warm water and washing-up liquid instead. Clean in a circular motion and use elbow grease to remove any grime. Make sure to wipe dry with a clean cloth for a polished finish.

The self-cleaning function in more detail

You have done the preparation, so let’s get familiar with your oven’s actual self-cleaning process. As mentioned before, there are three types of self-cleaning ovens, so follow along

The catalytic self-cleaning oven

The catalytic oven won’t heat up to such a high temperature as the pyrolytic. During the cleaning cycle, the oven reaches about 200 ºC and burns off grease and food deposits. The excess grease has to be removed with a damp cloth, and it may require some extra elbow grease to combat the mess. Catalytic ovens usually have a built-in “continuous cleaning” feature that helps keep the appliance clean all the time.

Consider the following pros and cons if you choose to buy a catalytic oven.

    • Quicker cleaning cycle
    • Usually cheaper price range
    • Easy to use
  • Won`t do a deep self-clean
  • Can’t clean off sugar well
  • May need manual clean

The pyrolytic self-cleaning oven

As you may have noted, the pyrolytic ovens are tougher on food grime than catalytic. All food residue gets burnt to ashes, and it takes a few hours to complete. It’s disputable how safe these ovens are considering the high temperature used in the cleaning cycle, but the safety features are in place, such as an automatically locking door. If you still worry about using the self-cleaning feature, then leave the job to the professionals.

Consider the following pros and cons if you decide on buying a pyrolytic oven.

    • Most effective deep self-clean
    • Easy to use
    • Safety features
  • Higher price range
  • If the self-clean button is pressed by accident, you can’t use the oven for 3 hours
  • Issues with carbon monoxide emissions and small pets

And when it comes to steam self-cleaning ovens, they are the least expensive to buy and the safest to use. However, they are the least effective, as you’ll still need to finish off the job manually every time.

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Shall I clean the self-cleaning oven myself?

As with any other appliance, care and maintenance will extend your oven’s life. There is nothing wrong with manually cleaning your oven between the self-cleaning cycles, as long as you use the right tools. Abrasive products and chemicals are a no-no scenario – using them may result in wearing off the pyrolytic coating. As long as you wipe it every week, dirt won’t build-up, and the self-cleaning functionality will work more effectively when needed. Use a soft damp cloth and gently remove any food residue or spillings. Also, this way, you won’t have to wait for a couple of hours for the self-cleaning cycle to end.

Cleaning the interior glass

If you notice that the door panel on the inside is still dirty after the self-cleaning cycle, use a little bit of baking soda mixed with water and rub it over the glass gently. Let it sit for half an hour to an hour and wipe the mixture with a wet sponge. Be mindful of the amount of water and don’t use too much. If water gets through the barrier around the window, those drip marks will be there forever. Baking soda should be enough to clean off the grime but for more stubborn stains, use an enzyme cleaner. For a more effortless clean, some built-in ovens come with the option of removing the oven door – read the instructions in the manual and remove if possible.

General oven-cleaning tips

When it comes to cleaning a self-clean oven, the most common and disregarded tips are usually “hidden” in the pages of the manual. Read it well and get acquainted with the manufacturer’s recommendations. For instance, some ovens self-cleaning cycles are best done every 10th time. Some pyrolytic ovens come with a shorter self-cleaning cycle or even a 90-minutes eco cycle.

Need help with cleaning your oven?

There are many benefits of entrusting your oven to a professional cleaning company. Fantastic Services’ professionals use non-toxic, yet, strong detergents that kill bacteria but also harmful carbon residue. They use the dip-tank method for all the removable parts. The experts will effortlessly get all the grease off your oven and make it shine like new. 

Our professional oven cleaning service will extend your oven’s life and save you time and effort. So, contact us at your convenience and we’ll send a specialist your way!

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  • Read the instructions manual before you use the self-cleaning functionality for the first time.
  • Strip your oven from inside and outside – be mindful as high temperatures may be dangerous if left unattended.
  • Rule of thumb: run the self-cleaning cycle every 10th time you are using the oven.
  • Clean by hand heavy spillage or food residue by using a non-metal scraper and a damp cloth before the self-clean cycle.

Did you find this article helpful? Write about your experience with self-cleaning ovens in the comments field and share your way!

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