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How to clean a self-cleaning oven

Way back in 1963, General Electric came up with their innovative P7 model of woven with a solution to the cleaning hassle, the self-cleaning oven. The model introduced the pyrolytic cleaning method and was a fancy name at that time. Because of this technology the oven was also called pyrolytic oven. They used extra thermodynamic controls to allow it to reach the high temperatures needed to turn the residue grime into carbonized ash by heating. This type of oven has a smooth enamel coating on the interior walls that makes it easier to remove reduced carbonized ash dirt after a high heat cycle. Pyrolytic ovens have a timed cleaning cycle, usually ranging from two to four hours. Since the process emits smoke and fumes that may provoke the smoke alarm some pyrolytic ovens have a catalytic converter in the exhaust vent to eliminate emissions.  

How to clean a self-cleaning oven 1

Today, another alternative to the self-cleaning oven is invented, which is the steam-cleaning oven. These ovens use the technology of lower heat and steam which makes the dirt of the oven from interior wall loosen. This method is an eco-friendly and chemical-free cleaning method which is safer than the traditional self-cleaning method. It is health-friendly to those who are in weak immune system, asthma & allergy, pregnant and also safe for pets. But to some opinion, they are not equally effective in the pyrolytic oven, especially when dealing with baked-on gunk.

How to clean a self-cleaning oven 2

Precisely a pyrolytic self-cleaning oven is an oven with a feature to use high-temperature exposure of around 900 and 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit (482 to 537.8 degrees Celsius) to burn off leftovers, grime and greases from the cooking of baking, roasting, grilling or convection to ashes without using any detergent or other chemicals. The oven interior is coated with heat- and acid-resistant porcelain enamel or pyrolytic coating and it is designed to stay self-interlocked until the high-temperature self-cleaning process is completed. This feature of mechanical locking and closing door function immediately after the process starts and remains the same during the entire process of approximately 2-4 hours deter the possibility of burn and smoke injuries. After the cleaning process, the oven door could be opened after the temperature cools down to approximately 600 °F (316 °C). This type of oven has extra insulation than the standard oven to reduce energy and probability of fire risk during cooking as well as self-cleaning.

How to clean a self-cleaning oven 3

To take advantage of both the technologies some self-cleaning ovens nowadays feature both the option enabled, means, the operator can either go for pyrolytic self-cleaning or steam self-cleaning whichever they like judging the dirtiness of the oven. So concisely it can be said that there are two main types of self-cleaning ovens: traditional high temperature and steam based self-cleaning oven. Now it’s important to know your self-cleaning oven type before you attempt to use the self-clean function since both have different and unique cleaning method. Since the self-cleaning oven is a pretty much non-traditional concept so we need to check the feature and its technology first.

Pros & Cons of pyrolytic self-cleaning oven

Like all other technologies pyrolytic self-cleaning oven has some well and woes, concisely this could be illustrated as below,

Pros

1.     The technology reduces cleaning efforts significantly since it involves almost zero involvement of the cleaner.

2.    It reduces cost by avoiding cleaning agents because the technology doesn’t use any cleaning detergent or any other chemicals, actually it is a mechanical process than to chemical process.

3.    It saves time for the user as they don’t have to put their entire concentration, they only needed to close the door and switch on the option and put an eye to the smoke alarm. 

Cons

1.     The technology is somewhat confusing to many as the internal body of the oven is not built for what its core purpose it, means so high heat may limit the product’s lifetime as it is not built for an internal temperature of around 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.    It produces huge smoke while the auto cleaning process which may trigger the smoke alarm and it’s a bit panicky.   

3.    Running this auto cleaning process sometimes left unpleasant odor from the burnt carbon, especially while burning off thick layers of grime. This odor is distressing for people with weak immune systems, asthma & allergy and pregnant women. Fumes could be lethal for your pets.

4.    In the case of too heavy dirt and grease, it is not always desirably effective.

5.    Since it produces a huge temperature it consumes higher electricity and finally pressurizes in your pocket. 

Pros & Cons of Steam cleaning

Pros:

Ø Steam cleaning is much quicker than pyrolytic self-cleaning.

Ø As it requires a lower temperature for a shorter time it uses less energy.

Ø Steam cleaning is safer than the pyrolytic oven’s self-cleaning.

Ø It is eco-friendly

Cons:

They do a great job at cleaning the bottom of the range (I think it’s because that’s where the water sits and gets hot) but are not so good at cleaning the sides and back of the range.

 How to begin self-clean by your pyrolytic oven or steam oven

Requirements

All we need with us on this expedition is

Ø Hand gloves or Rubber gloves

Ø Brush with hard bristle

Ø Dish washing soap (for cleaning racks and other removable)

Ø Adequate Water (for cleaning racks and other removable)

Ø A sponge or cleaning cloth

Ø A flat-edged scraper or spatula

Ø Paper towels

Ø Bucket or bowl

Ø Vacuum cleaner (optional)

Self-clean by pyrolytic oven

Step 1: Self-cleaning may sound almost futuristic IOT (Internet of Things) device that has artificial intelligence but it is not, actually it is a slight exaggeration and a term more likely marketing than actual. It is not completely autonomous, you still need to get physically involved in the chore, and the only relief is that you need not be indulged in cleaning solely. So before running self-cleaning, you are needed to read out your oven manufacturer’s owner’s manual thoroughly and convincingly. This will boost your confidence and remove the anxiety of handling high heat cleaning hazards. 

Step 2: After that, you are needed to dislodge all removable inside the oven, like oven rack, bottom tray, and aluminum foil in the bottom, etc. and needed to wash them manually. Otherwise, if they are left inside while self-cleaning the metal racks will discolor or can lose shine and become hard to slide in and out. To solve the problem you could put some oil on the paper towel and rub the rack sides to help them greasy enough to glide in and out. If your oven rack is enamel-coated or pyrolytic material coated then it can be cleaned along with the rest of the oven. Check it in your manual whether the oven rack could be put into the oven during cleaning or not.

Step 3: Whatsoever the self-cleaning technology you are using you should wipe up the residue dripping of grime and grease as much as possible to reduce toxic smokes and fumes while overheating the cleaning cycle of burning residue to carbonized ash. Even you can scrape out any large food stain with a non-scratch spatula but don’t overpower with stubborn one since your goal is not to remove all of it at once rather loosen it before self-cleaning. This will help you later after the cleaning cycle to scrape out the ashes. You must be cautious in this regard to use a flat-edged spatula instead of a sharp-edged one. It is better to handle your oven’s cleanliness of frequent spillovers and splatters by cleaning it frequently or more specifically every after usage. You can take some precautionary actions of putting an aluminum foil on the bottom while baking to collect any spillover. There is some even better option to aluminum foil is BPA free silicon oven sheet.

Step 4: Remove any pets, birds, children, people with the weak nervous system, prune to allergy and lower immune system and pregnant women especially in their last stages to keep them safe from fume hazard. But don’t be panicked by yourself since a golden rule of a veteran is not to be panicked by himself, these are just a few precautionary measures only.

Step 5: Now close the door properly, most of the oven has a self-lock system built-in during this cleaning cycle but for your mental satisfaction or extra precautionary measure you make think of fastening it with a liver. This will ensure you from any probability of anyone opening the oven door during the cleaning cycle and get burnt before it cools down to an operable temperature of around 600 degrees Fahrenheit and below.

Step 6:  Now plugin and switch on the electric connection and concentrate on the control panel of the oven to locate and engage the clean button. Find the switch or knobs saying “Clean” or “Self-Clean” and use it for beginning the cycle. Along with this, you are needed to put a timer for the cleaning cycle operation depending on your oven model and manual. Typically you’ll find cycles between 2 to 4 hours, while others have only a one-time setting. Gradually it will raise its heat to 800 to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit and cool down again after the cleaning cycle, the oven will remain auto-locked during the cleaning process and enable opening the oven door while it is inoperable temperature. If the door doesn’t lock automatically then manually the “Lock” or “Control lock” button is to be pressed or a lever is to be used mandatorily to lock it properly. Finally, you have to put an eye onto the timer for the countdown.   

How to begin self-clean by a steam oven

Step 1: Self-cleaning by steam is comparatively easier, safer and low temperature operating technology but like its cousin, neither an IOT (Internet of Things) nor an automotive device to do its duty alone, your slight cooperation in physical involvement is needed. So before running self-cleaning, you are needed to read out your oven manufacturer’s owner’s manual thoroughly. You have to be confirmed that your oven has the feature of self-cleaning by steam, otherwise please don’t go for this process.  A steam clean cycle works with water vapor or hot steam allowed to run thought every corner of the oven interior and loosen stains, grease, and grime from the enamel-coated walls. Understandably the technology operates at a lower temperature, lower time cycle, chemical-free and doesn’t emit any fume or unpleasant and harmful gasses compare to the pyrolytic oven. So it is needed not to remove any removable items from oven inside and not necessarily required to lock the oven door for a fire hazard.

Step 2: After knowing your device you should wipe up the residue dripping of dirt and grease from your oven interior as much as possible with a clean towel and scrape out any food stain with a non-scratch flat-edged spatula gently as much as possible but don’t overdo.

Step 3: Now let the oven cool down to room temperature first. Then check your owner’s manual to confirm the exact amount of water to be used for your oven. Usually, a cup of water is common to be poured into the bottom of the cooled oven.  

Step 5: Now plugin and switch on the electric connection and concentrate on the control panel of the oven to locate and engage the clean button. Find the switch or knobs saying “Steam Clean” or “EasyClean (LG)” or “Aqualift (Maytag)” and similar steam cleaning option and turn the function on to begin the cycle. You have to wait till the full steam cleaning cycle ends and the oven rests cool enough to open the oven door. Depending on the situation and your machine requirement the timing varies from a mean 30 to 60 minutes, far below the pyrolytic oven. Following the timer or following the owner’s instruction is obligatory.

Completing the Cleaning Process of pyrolytic and steam oven

After the end of the cleaning cycle, both the self-cleaning oven should be rested to cool to room temperature. Then the oven interior should be wiped out thoroughly with a moist cloth. Any ash or stain should be wiped with special concentration and it should be confirmed that no ash or stain is left. In the case of the pyrolytic oven, the carbonized ash could be swept easily and in case of the steam oven, all the loosened grease and grim should be wiped by patting repeatedly with a moist cloth first and dried after that by a dry cloth or kitchen tissue. You can sue a scrub brush or nylon scouring pad to remove the loose dirt using a scrub brush or nylon scouring pad. Soak up any remaining water from the bottom with a sponge or cloth and leave the door open to air-dry the oven.

The dislodged removable internal items of the oven should be cleaned separately with baking soda water mixture or any other DIY soap or your any favorable commercial mild cleaner brand thoroughly. They should be kept into the detergent mixture for 30 to 60 minutes and cleansed mildly with soft foam. For any persistent stain use baking soda and vinegar together to remove built-up stains. Additionally, clean the oven door outside with glass cleaner or any mild commercial detergent in action of spraying the cleaner on the outside of the oven door in one hand and use downward strokes to wipe the cleaner and dirt together with a microfiber cloth but don’t reverse the action otherwise the glass me look gloomy.  

Oven deodorizing or neutralizing odor

Usually, a self-cleaning oven will produce a lot of fume and odor of burnt carbonized ashes so it is needed to be deodorized thoroughly to bring a comfortable smell for easy breath. First, if you don’t prefer any deodorizing scent into the oven then left the oven door open in a well ventilate kitchen with the kitchen door and window open and let the smell off. If you are still not satisfied then use a small bowl half-filled with 1:2 vinegar-water mixture and let it rest for a while to overpower the prevailing smell. Or you can fill a bowl halfway with water and add 1 tsp of baking soda into it, make it sure to empty the bowl half to give enough room for the baking soda to fizz up. These steps will hopefully neutralize your oven’s cleaning odor.

Now if you like to deodorize your oven you may get help from numerous commercial store-bought oven deodorizer. But if you think of some natural deodorizer by your own you may put lemon water to bake inside your oven for 5 minutes or may bake vanilla extract with water at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 177 degree Celsius and bake for an hour or use different citrus capsule and bake with the same temperature for 30 minutes.   

Tips, Tricks and Safety measures

Ø Don’t leave the oven completely unattended while cleaning.

Ø Be aware of personal safety, child safety and pet safety particularly in the case of the pyrolytic oven.

Ø People with a weak immune system, pregnant should keep a distance from the pyrolytic oven.

Ø Avoid metal scrapers, scouring pads, harsh soaps or wire brushes on self-cleaning or steam cleaning ovens, otherwise, these can damage the interior wall coating and make the self-cleaning process futile.

Ø Oven cleaners or abrasive cleaning detergent should be avoided in these ovens for the above reason, these could also harm the pyrolytic coating or enamel coating.  

Ø If you use your oven too frequently then set a reminder to clean it monthly, but if you use hardly a few times monthly then you can plan to clean it at best every after 3-4 months.

Jimmy Dotson

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