Safety Concerns About Self-Cleaning Ovens

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The oven is a workhorse for those who love to cook or just want to have a hot meal from time to time. It's subjected to splatters, spills and melted cheese as it does its best to cook meals for its owner. It needs a little looking over from time to time to keep it operating at its full potential. The self-cleaning option can feel overwhelming to use with all the heat and fumes it produces. Know the basics of the self-cleaning oven before you begin.

Safety Concerns About Self-Cleaning Ovens
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How Self-Cleaning Ovens Work

The self-cleaning option on some ovens is actually a bit of a misnomer. There isn't an army of little robots waiting to be launched to clean the oven when the option is engaged. The self-cleaning option has been around since the 1960s, and oven users continue to be wary of using it. The option has been a benefit and a curse for oven owners the world over. Basically, the self-cleaning process heats the oven up to between 900 and 1,000 degrees and burns off the globs of fat and residue that have collected on the walls, ceiling and floor of the oven. The residue turns to ash and falls to the floor. The process can take up to three hours to complete. While it's called self-cleaning, it really means that when the option is put in place, it cuts down on the hard scrubbing the stove will need. It will still need a serious wipe down to return it to a nearly pristine state.

Self-Cleaning Myths

When the oven heats up to that incredible 900 degrees or more, it makes the user nervous. That's a lot of heat for a small space. When the oven is in self-cleaning mode, it can create some fumes. The odor is the result of the residue being reduced to cinders. These fumes are safe for pets and family members as the oven bakes off all that you didn't remove from it after numerous cooking and baking sessions. Not all stains will be removed, so be prepared to still give the oven a good scrub after. The oven is made to withstand the heat, as is the area around the oven, for the relatively short amount of time it will take to use the self-cleaning option.

Before You Begin

Be prepared for the mess that will be left behind after using the self-cleaning option. Have a good, durable pair of kitchen gloves, a bucket of warm, soapy water and a few serious scrubbers to attack the grime that will be the result of self-cleaning your oven. Use old towels to wipe up the soot and ash that will collect in the nooks and crannies of the oven as you rid the cavity of residue.


Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at

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