Do self-cleaning ovens actually work?

Expert Viking Appliance Repair

The thought of self-cleaning ovens sounds so appealing, doesn’t it? Having an oven that basically takes care of all the upkeep itself. It’s like a miracle come true. Or is it? Self-cleaning ovens sound great in theory, but if they’re effective is another story. 

The majority of consumers agree that self-cleaning ovens are effective at two things. One being actually cleaning the appliance and the other being absolutely frying the fuses. A normal heating cycle for an oven raises temperatures to about 350 – 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Guess how much a self-clean cycle will heat your oven. Over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. This ridiculous amount of heat completely mummifies all the spilled food particles inside your oven. This makes cleaning your oven a breeze. All you have to do is scoop up the remains with a brush or use some wet towels. There’s a flip side to this however. Many homeowners steer clear of using the option because then they’ll be left with a broken down oven that melted its own fuse. 

Self-cleaning ovens can also be very expensive to repair. Older units were a bit more cost-friendly because the heating elements were exposed in the inside of the units. This gave an advantage as they are easier to remove. However, it made cleaning a real headache. As appliance innovation took off, engineers created ovens with hidden heating elements. Now, the oven could heat up the same and make it a breeze to clean. Since the elements are hidden, an appliance technician will have to disassemble your oven from the inside out. This makes repair bills skyrocket.

Why do ovens even have a self-cleaning option?

While cleaning an oven by today’s standards isn’t very difficult to do, consumers love the option of convenience. People would much rather use the option to self-clean than use some elbow grease and wipe the oven thoroughly. 

Self-cleaning ovens that smell

If you have one of these appliances, you’ll know that they can smell terrible. The stench comes from the food, glued on grease that won’t come off, and materials that aren’t oven safe. The extreme heat results in horrible smelling fumes. Contrary to popular belief, these nasty fumes are not toxic.

Trying to get that nasty smell out is another story. There are a few things you can try to reduce the odor, but there is no guaranteed way to remove the smell. Try these methods to keep that stench out.

  • Completely clean the oven rack by hand with soap and an abrasive sponge
  • Clean the inside of the oven to remove any debris
  • Cover your food with foil whenever possible
  • Wipe down spills quickly with soap and water
  • Use a sheet of aluminum foil to cover the bottom of the oven for easy clean-up

So yes, self-cleaning ovens are effective in actually making it easier to wash but it comes at a cost. Some people swear by the option and say that their oven has never broken down. Consider yourself lucky because the majority have been left with huge repair bills. To those lucky few, use precaution whenever you use the option and know that there is some risk of damaging your appliance. While self-cleaning ovens today are a sort of marvel of engineering, they’ve still got a long way to go before they can reliably use the option.