Self-cleaning ovens burn a lot of energy during their cleaning process. But unlike conventional ovens, most of that energy comes from the electric company, not your scrub brush. During the cleaning process, the oven heats up to a temperature of 900 degrees Fahrenheit. The extreme heat cooks off food and spills, leaving ashen residue that can easily be wiped away. Self-cleaning ovens are better insulated than standard ovens to prevent the high-temperature cleaning from overheating your kitchen in the summertime.

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Slide the cooking racks out of the oven. Remove all items from the storage drawer as well as everything sitting on the stove top.

Wipe up any spills and messes inside the oven, using warm water and a mild soap. Ovens smoke more during cleaning when there is food inside. Wash the inside of the oven door as well.

Take care not to bend the door gaskets, as this will create air leaks that reduce the energy efficiency of the oven. Do not scrub the door gaskets, just gently wipe them off.

Lock your oven door manually if your model does not lock automatically when the self-cleaning cycle is activated.

Open a window near the oven for ventilation. If the oven is dirty, you should expect the self-cleaning process to generate some smoke. The dirtier the oven is, the more smoke is created.

Turn the control on your oven to "clean" and follow the manufacturer's directions for recommended cleaning time. A lightly soiled oven may need only 90 minutes, but an oven with baked-on spatter and spills may require as much as 5 hours.

Soak the oven racks in dish detergent, then gently hand wash them with a clean cloth or non-abrasive scrub pad while the oven's self-cleaning function is operating.

Wait for the cleaning cycle to finish and the oven to cool before opening door. A shop vac can be useful for cleaning up any dry ash before wiping interior surfaces with a wet cloth or sponge. Slide the clean oven racks back into place.