What are Self Cleaning Ovens?


August 3, 2021

Last updated on September 18, 2021


If you’ve done a bit of shopping around for cookers and ovens recently, you might have noticed that there’s a bit of a trend for self cleaning ovens. This is more than a trend! Self cleaning ovens have been around for decades. However, the way that they work has evolved massively over the years. So what are self cleaning ovens?

In this quick guide, we’re going to look at everything you need to know about self cleaning ovens, what a self cleaning cycle is, and how these systems actively clean themselves. We’ll also consider whether or not it’s an option you necessarily want to take!

Surely a self cleaning oven isn’t as magical as it sounds? What’s really in it for you – will it take hours off your oven cleaning schedule? Let’s take a closer look.

What are Self Cleaning Ovens and How Does a Self Cleaning Oven Work?

Self cleaning, as a term, is a bit of a broad one. Self cleaning ovens will still need a little bit of a wipe or scrub down if you’re going to get the worst of burnt-on food and built-up grease off your oven door. However, the principle is really the same across all of these models. You set your oven to run a cleaning feature or cycle, close the door, and allow it to get up to a high temperature.

You’ll then be able to wipe it all down once it’s finished, saving you time and energy – as well as high amounts of elbow grease – in the bargain. These ovens will also remove the need for you to get in deep with any nasty chemicals or solutions, making it safer and altogether more beneficial to the environment.

So – sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but a self cleaning oven is still going to need you to apply a bit of elbow grease here and there. We’re sadly not yet at a point where our ovens are able to soap themselves up and scrub in deep!

Do also keep in mind that there are various types of self cleaning oven out there, such as pyrolytic cleaning ovens, catalytic self cleaning ovens and more besides.

Self cleaning ovens reach high temperatures to burn up and crust off those ground-on bits and pieces so it’s easier for you to use a song or brush to get the worst off by yourself. If you would like to read more about how self cleaning ovens work?

What is a Pyrolytic Oven?

Pyrolytic ovens are the most common and most popular self cleaning oven systems on the market, and they clean themselves by heating up to over 500 degrees centigrade. That’s impossibly hot! Therefore, as you can imagine, it’s far too hot to cook anything – but it’s just hot enough to burn up and pulverise anything nasty and greasy left sticking to the insides of your oven cavity walls. It’s a great way for you to cut down on all the wiping time you’d normally need to exercise.

Pyrolytic Oven Pros

  • Convenience – set the program and walk away to do something more exciting…or relaxing!
  • Energy-saving – Running the cycle directly after you finish cooking (the heat has already built up taking less time to reach the cleaning temperature)

Pyrolytic Oven Cons

  • Smoke & Odors – As you would imagine, if you are burning food & built on grease it’s going to smell & possibly activate smoke alarms, however, this is easily avoided if you regularly wipe your oven down to remove any visible fats/ solids.

Rob Sinclair from E&S Support Centre has made a great two minuet video that beautifully shows what a pyrolytic oven is and how it works


What is a Catalytic Oven?

Catalytic ovens work a little differently to pyrolytic ovens, though you can still expect them to take a bit of the hassle away from cleaning down your oven later on. Like pyrolytic cleaning, catalytic cleaning offers a cleaning cycle that you can set going to do its business. However, unlike pyrolytic self cleaning ovens, a catalytic system doesn’t reach as high temperatures.

This is because these ovens are made with a type of lining that actively absorbs any of the grease and fat that you’d normally struggle to get clear from use to use. This is – funnily enough – called catalytic lining, and it really makes oven cleaning a breeze, from your oven door right into the nooks and crannies of your cavity walls.

Catalytic Oven Pros

  • Super-Efficient – from use to use, a catalytic self cleaning oven will only ever take a fraction of the time pyrolytic ovens take to get burnt on food up and away. Let it heat up to 200 degrees C and then clean down once the cycle is complete.
  • More energy-efficient – as this type of oven cleaning system uses less time to heat up and burn off food, it means you’re not going to waste gas or electric on getting up to high temperatures. Simply set it to self clean and you’re away.

Catalytic Oven Cons

  • Not as deep a clean – many kitchen owners will tell you that pyrolytic ovens give you less to do after the self cleaning cycle. That’s because the high temperatures tend to get more off for you. The liners in this type of oven are all well and good, but it can mean a bit more in the way of elbow grease.
  • Cost less, but more work – the saying is correct that you pay more in overall cost to save on hassle. You’ll get back more time with a pyrolytic system, and more often than not, while the catalytic system works to a reasonable process and is reasonably cheap, it’s not without its flaws.

How to Clean a Self Cleaning Oven

Yes – believe it or not, there is always going to be a bit of cleaning involved, even if it’s not the energy drain that is deep scrubbing you might already be used to! You’re going to need to give a self cleaning pyrolytic oven a bit of a wipe down beforehand, and, of course, afterwards. Rest assured, there won’t be that much for you to do.

What’s more, you’ll have saved yourself some serious time and effort when it comes to getting into the nitty gritty. There’s minimal wiping needed, and once you set your oven to a high energy cleaning cycle, you can leave it to work its magic over several hours.

The main feature of any self cleaning oven is the fact that it takes away a lot of the hassle of getting an oven clean. We all know how much of a hassle getting an oven clean can be – meaning any help is likely to be welcome. Whether it’s reaching high temperatures or absorbing as much of the grease as you can make, there still might be work for you to do.

Depending on the type of self cleaning oven you are thinking of using, you may want to keep an eye out for reviews from verified buyers. These will tell you how effective these household fittings are at getting your dirt and grime up and free. Using a self cleaning oven could change your life or, if you like, make it that little bit easier that little bit more often.

However, don’t go into a deal on a home self cleaning model without keeping in mind you’ll still need a sponge or a brush on standby!

Is a Self Cleaning Oven Right for You?

If you use your cavities regularly and struggle to get the burnt-on and greasy bits up and out, then yes – a self cleaner is definitely a good option. At Which Kitchen Appliance we’ve done the hard work for you and reviewed and listed what we think are the best self cleaning ovens now. You can read this review ‘the best self cleaning ovens, and if you need any help in measuring for your new oven you can read our guide ‘How to Measure for a Built in Oven’.

We think self cleaning oven systems make light work of burnt on grease and household debris. Depending on your own oven cleaning woes, you may want to keep your eye out for one or more systems online and take one home to try out.

Please do keep an eye out for our associated guides and tips here at Which Kitchen Appliance – and if you’re really keen to start using an oven that works hard at burning up those bits of fat and grease, let verified buyer reviews give you the best window into shopping around, and to help you narrow down the process.

Who knows – a self cleaning oven for your home might just be what you need as part of your ‘new normal’! From glass door to inner insulation, cooking can really make things hard to clean – so give yourself a pre-clean before the main clean – and save yourself some time with these safe, cost-effective products available for you to buy and use right now.

About Author

Leave a Reply