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Using Your Self-Cleaning Oven


weinoo
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I've had a self-cleaning oven for about the past 8 years or so. But I've never used the self-cleaning function. I guess it kind of scares me; the unknown of what type of fumes and how much of a stink it will make. Or will it kill my cat? I've always been able to keep my oven fairly clean by basically wiping up spills when they happen and using some baking soda or Bon Ami for slightly tougher stains, but I think my oven needs a real cleaning and now I'm thinking of using the self-clean.

So - do you use yours? And, does it work well? Or would you suggest I use Easy-Off or something like that?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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I've never used the self cleaning feature, because it scares the crap out of me, even in the nearly-new Gaggenau, which is presumably reliable enough to not burn our place to the ground when this feature is deployed.

Oven cleaner? US oven cleaners may work better than the Danish ones, which do not even make a dent in the polymerized chicken fat that pretty much blankets the entire interior of our oven. I just flake off whatever burnt bits I see coming loose, but it's a losing battle.

I'd love to hear that everyone else routinely uses the self-cleaner, and it works brilliantly, and nothing horrific happens.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
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I had one with the special lock down function on the door to seal the fumes in. The first time it drove us out of the house for the day and I was on the phone with customer service in a panic. Never used it again. It spurred me to clean up any messes on a daily basis. They did tell me the first cleaning would be the most noxious but I was not willing to give it a second chance.

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What temperature does your oven reach when it's self-cleaning?

According to Wikipedia, "...between 900–1000 °F (482–538 °C)". In other words, pretty damned hot. Steel starts becoming red hot at anything over 1000F.

I used the self-cleaning on my range once after I got it. It took so long and used so much gas (propane) that I've never used again. In the time it took, I could have cleaned it by hand two or three times.

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According to Wikipedia, "...between 900–1000 °F (482–538 °C)". In other words, pretty damned hot. Steel starts becoming red hot at anything over 1000F.

Does that mean that the self cleaning setting could be used to make a really mean pizza?

Yes, some people hack their self-cleaning oven for the purposes of making pizza.

PS: I am a guy.

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According to Wikipedia, "...between 900–1000 °F (482–538 °C)". In other words, pretty damned hot. Steel starts becoming red hot at anything over 1000F.

Does that mean that the self cleaning setting could be used to make a really mean pizza?

More of the Wiki quote, "reduces foodstuffs to ash with exposure to temperature between 900–1000 °F (482–538 °C)..." Doesn't sound like it would work for pizza, especially since you can't get the oven door open.

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I have an old-school self-cleaner that doesn't lock the oven door during cleaning. I rarely use that setting to clean the oven (I'm with the majority - a wipe a day negates the need) but I do use it for pizza. I believe the temp last time I did this was around 550-600 F.

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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I've never used the self-cleaning feature on the oven I have now, but I did use it on the oven at my FIL's---once. I figured I would set it to run after I put the children to bed. Bad plan. Off went all of the smoke alarms in the house. That was the last time for me.

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I'd love to hear that everyone else routinely uses the self-cleaner, and it works brilliantly, and nothing horrific happens.

We use it every six months. It works fine. Nothing horrific happens. We use the self-clean on cool, windy days when we can open every window in the house. Because, yes, it is a bit smoky.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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I use it, it works fine. The oven is a GE electric. All the gunk turns to ash, which is easy to wipe off. There's a latch on the door, so you can't open it, but the fumes still ventilate out from it. I keep a window open and I make sure I'm home to watch it. The cycle does take a few hours.

Keep your pet out of the kitchen, especially any pet birds, and in another well-ventilated room. They should be fine.

Jeffrey Steingarten once wrote a memorable article about how he hacked his self-cleaning oven to make pizza. He messed with it so it would override the temperature safety controls. As I recall, the excessive heat created a vacuum in the oven, and he couldn't open the oven door when the pizza was done. When the oven finally cooled down enough to unlatch, his pizza was a lump of coal. Not to mention, his apt building neighbors probably did not appreciate his efforts when they read about them in Vogue.

Edited by djyee100 (log)
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We use it routinely. Nothing bad happens. Cat is 20 and going strong.

What temperature does your oven reach when it's self-cleaning?

I think around 550. We wipe up after each use, and run the self-clean every couple of months or as needed. It is smoky in proportion to the extent that your oven is dirty. I find this much preferable to using chemicals.
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The big issue I have is that not only is my oven out of commission for up to 7 hours but so are all the burners. I use it but not often and, like others, make sure I can open windows and that I will be able to stick around until it finishes. It certainly gets a lot hotter on self-cleaning mode than its highest cooking temperature.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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The big issue I have is that not only is my oven out of commission for up to 7 hours but so are all the burners. I use it but not often and, like others, make sure I can open windows and that I will be able to stick around until it finishes. It certainly gets a lot hotter on self-cleaning mode than its highest cooking temperature.

We go to work. House hasn't burned down yet. Edited by nibor (log)
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In my previous home( and relationship), we had a GE Profile dual fuel. We were both scared to run the self clean feature. Finally, after a year, we ran it while we slept. The oven was so clean in the morning. We both said " why didnt we do this sooner". My ex got a nasty chemical burn on her arm from using easy off.

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According to Wikipedia, "...between 900–1000 °F (482–538 °C)". In other words, pretty damned hot. Steel starts becoming red hot at anything over 1000F.

Does that mean that the self cleaning setting could be used to make a really mean pizza?

Best pizzas I've ever made! I read this long thing and followed his instructions: http://www.varasanos.com/PizzaRecipe.htm

Edited by Hassouni (log)
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I used the feature on my previous two stoves, both Jenny-Aires. The first one was electric, the second dual fuel. Both of them had downdraft vents which vented to outside. I had no problems using the self-clean on them. The new range is Electrolux and has an induction top and a convection oven. I have not tried the self-clean on this oven yet although it is getting close to needing it. It does not vent to outside so I am actually a bit worried about the smoke it will generate. Winter is coming, though, and here in the frozen north it will need to be done soon while we can open windows.

Our cat also just turned 20 and has not been affected by the self-clean oven. Or, cats being cats, not that we can tell.

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I've always used self-cleaning on all my ovens. My current range is the Kenmore/Electrolux induction with electric oven and the first time I used the self-clean on the oven, it did stink a lot. I've never had that much stink in my prior ovens. If I lived in an apartment and had to leave a cat in there with the oven while it cleaned, I don't think I would use it. It was pretty bad. Luckily I live in a house and the cat (and I, and the dogs) can just go outside. The cat is 18, by the way, and a veteran of many cleaning cycles. Also, I don't know what oven cleaning products are like these days, but the ones I remember from 20 years ago were way stinkier and more toxic-seeming than what the self-cleaning cycle puts out.

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I have a Dacor and self clean it once a year...regularly wipe up and when there are lots of crusty stuff I scrape it with an old credit card and vacuum it out, making sure to get around the seal as well...very happy w/ the performance, To me, Eazy Off and the like are worse than self cleaning...

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I've always used self-cleaning on all my ovens. My current range is the Kenmore/Electrolux induction with electric oven and the first time I used the self-clean on the oven, it did stink a lot. I've never had that much stink in my prior ovens. If I lived in an apartment and had to leave a cat in there with the oven while it cleaned, I don't think I would use it. It was pretty bad. Luckily I live in a house and the cat (and I, and the dogs) can just go outside. The cat is 18, by the way, and a veteran of many cleaning cycles. Also, I don't know what oven cleaning products are like these days, but the ones I remember from 20 years ago were way stinkier and more toxic-seeming than what the self-cleaning cycle puts out.

Sounds like we have the same sort of stove. It is good to have been forewarned. I live in a house so can open all the windows. Better do it soon, though. Winters a comin'.

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