You can buy Kenmore ovens only at Sears, and the outlet offers a line of electric and gas models that range in price from about $500 to about $2,000. Some of these models -- both gas and electric -- offer a self-cleaning feature designed to make the task virtually effortless. The procedure is simple and is the same for all models, whether gas, electric, conventional or convection -- even the top-of-the-line Elite models that feature double ovens. The self-cleaning feature can be dangerous, though, if you don't follow all the applicable cautions.
The Self-Cleaning Cycle Uses High Heat -- Be Careful!
The temperature in the oven can exceed 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit during the self-cleaning cycle -- more than double the temperature you need for cooking.
The oven gets hot enough to vaporize grease and grime on the oven walls, and if everything is functioning properly, they vapors are safely vented away. Some may escape into the kitchen, though, so it's important to provide ventilation and keep children away during the cleaning cycle. The fumes can also harm some types of birds -- so move your parrots, parakeets and budgies to another room that's well ventilated.
Avoid Oven Cleaners
You should never use commercial oven cleaners in an oven with a self-cleaning function. When exposed to the heat of the cleaning cycle, residue from these products can corrode the inside of the oven and release dangerous fumes. Moreover, you should never clean the door gasket. Doing so undermines its ability to seal the door. Don't leave racks in the oven during the cleaning cycle -- the high heat can damage them. Instead, remove them and wash them in the sink.
Procedure for Using the Self-Cleaning Function
It's important to remove a large spill from the bottom of the oven with soapy water before initiating the self-cleaning cycle, or the spill may fuse permanently to the oven lining. Remove aluminum foil too, which melts in the high heat, and take all items off the cooktop. When you're ready to clean the oven:
Step 1 Select cleaning time.
Press the "Self Clean" button on the control panel. "3:00" appears in the display -- it means the cycle will take three hours. Toggle up to "4:00" for deep cleaning or down to "2:00" for light cleaning, using the up/down selector. The three-hour cycle is best for routine cleaning.
Step 2 Start the cleaning cycle.
Press the "Start" button after selecting the cleaning time. The door will lock automatically, the "Door Lock" light will come on and "CLn" will appear in the display. At this point, there is nothing left to do but wait for the cleaning cycle to finish. The oven will remain locked and the indicator light illuminated until the temperature inside the oven falls to a safe level, which takes about an hour after the cleaning cycle is completed.
Step 3 Clean residue from the bottom of the oven.
After the cleaning cycle is complete and the door unlocks, open the door carefully, keeping in mind that the inside of the oven may still be hot. As soon as it is safe to do so, clean the powdery residue left on the bottom of the oven with a damp cloth or paper towel.