How Do Self Cleaning Ovens Work?

Jen

July 30, 2021

Last updated on September 24, 2021

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It seems rather odd, yet also genius to have a self-cleaning oven, but how do self cleaning ovens work? In this article, we set out to explain this ‘newish’ technology.

Self-cleaning ovens use extremely high heat (around 500 degrees Celsius), to turn those old stubborn pieces of food and lingering residue into ash.

It appears sometimes, that no matter how hard we scrub, our ovens still look like we burn everything we cook! Perhaps you have noticed that your oven has a self-cleaning feature and have no idea what it means exactly. Sadly, little elves are not coming to scrub the whole thing down and leave it shining like a diamond for you, however, the manufacturer has given you a useful tool.

With just the click of a button, your oven will use its potential for extremely high temperatures and make that old food and build-up simply turn to ash.

How Do Self Cleaning Ovens Work?

A self cleaning oven uses a very high heat in order to destroy any residue left inside your oven from food or containers.

Maybe you have tried every cleaning method known to man to clean your oven. Maybe you’ve finally decided that those extra pieces of food have just become apart of your appliance and that spraying a product and wiping it down with a damp cloth is all that is really necessary when cleaning the oven. Maybe you’ve also noticed an extra feature on your oven that you never use as it just seems too good to be true and is therefore not worth the hassle of finding out.

Well, in fact, that extra feature could end up saving you a lot of time and effort in the future. As for the cleaning process itself, though there are two types of self cleaning ovens, both use high temperatures in order to destroy any lingering pieces of food or stubborn grease. When the sequence is done, you will still have to wipe out the remains of what the oven has dealt with, but it will be a quick wipe as opposed to potentially hours of scrubbing.

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The lovely Georgina Bisby has a great video talking through the self cleaning ovens before after do’s and don’ts of Pyrolytic self cleaning ovens if you would prefer to watch rather than read.

What are the Two Types of Self Cleaning Ovens?

There are two types of self cleaning ovens: the Pyrolytic and the Catalytic.

The Pyrolytic oven uses a high temperature (around 500 degrees Celsius), in order to remove the stubborn grease or food residue that’s affecting your appliance.

The Catalytic oven is made with a specific type of liner, the catalytic liner, which quickly and efficiently absorbs the grease and residue from the food. Due to the lining pre-absorbing the grease, when self cleaning, the oven doesn’t need to go over a temperature of approximately 200 degrees.

When deciding upon which oven you think is right for you, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each appliance. For example, experts generally prefer the pyrolytic oven, as it completes the task it is set thoroughly, as opposed to a catalytic oven, which more often than not, requires an extra clean on your part after using the self cleaning feature.

However, due to the high temperature needed for the pyrolytic oven, the oven door will automatically lock for about three hours in order to eliminate the risk of someone opening it by accident and releasing dangerous fumes and smoke.

Pyrolytic ovens also tend to be more expensive than catalytic ones due to the extra work and materials needed to make it as safe as possible. When it comes to catalytic ovens, they do tend to be cheaper to make and even to run since the self cleaning mode on a catalytic oven usually only runs for about 30 mins. However, more often than not you do end up having to clean the oven yourself after its’ self cleaning cycle.

Is It Safe to Use a Self Cleaning Oven?

Yes, it is safe to use a self cleaning oven.

Although it’s not a feature that manufacturers recommend using every day, using it every 4 to 6 months should be more than enough.

When making the oven, the manufacturers take great care in making sure the oven has the correct amount of insulation, and the most adequate lining in order to withstand the oven’s needed heat for the self clean and as a bonus feature, they add the automatic lock in order to prevent anyone from opening it during the cleaning cycle and it will remain locked until the oven has cooled down.

A final point to take into account is the carbon monoxide. Although most self cleaning ovens now are extremely safe, some people do still worry about a potential carbon monoxide poisoning, due to the intense heat and fumes that will be produced. Experts suggest that during the self cleaning cycle, you need to simply open the windows in your home, as an extra safety precaution.

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How Long Does a Self Cleaning Oven Cycle Take?

Most self cleaning ovens take approximately 2 to 3 hours to complete the cleaning cycle.

Most pyrolytic ovens will take at least a few hours to complete the self cleaning cycle but nowadays, on certain kinds of ovens, you can program the self cleaning time. In order for the self cleaning to work efficiently, it is always best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

When it comes to catalytic ovens, the self cleaning feature usually only takes about 30 minutes, but bear in mind that the cleaning on ovens such as these, tends to be less effective than that of a pyrolytic oven. If you would like to read more, you can hope over to our What are Self Cleaning Ovens article, or if you are considering buying a self cleaning oven try our 10 best self cleaning ovens review

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