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Old 04-14-2011, 09:06 PM   #1
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Self-cleaning Ovens?

This might be a silly question but how does the self-cleaning function work on ovens? I've never quite figured it out. Is it really supposed to clean your oven and how do you use it? Thanks!

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Old 04-14-2011, 09:10 PM   #2
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It temporarily rises the internal temperature of the oven to 500+ degrees, reducing most organic material to ash. You then simply wipe out the residue with a damp cloth rather than having to worry about soaking and scrubbing it with toxic chemicals while making a mess.
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Old 04-14-2011, 09:53 PM   #3
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that's how mine works but i am having trouble with the setting, time mostly. and to tell the truth i am half scared of it.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:26 PM   #4
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The clean function should always include a locking mechanism to prevent you from opening the door when the oven is super hot.

In fact, during the cleaning cycle the temperature in the oven is in the vicinity of 800F - 900 F temperature range.

You can typically choose to leave the shelves in to clean with the oven or take them out while the cleaning is going on.

If you leave them in, they will get nice and clean but will discolor. The won't be shiny bright any more.

If you take them out during cleaning, you'll have to clean them by hand.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:32 PM   #5
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My mom loved her self-cleaning oven. Yes, hers had a lock on it, and it cleaned on a timer. Even if she wanted to she couldn't open it until it finished. The only thing she didn't like is that we had to take the batteries out of the smoke detector nearest the kitchen whenever she used it because it always set it off. I could never have a self-cleaning oven in this house because our smoke detectors are hard-wired and would drive me crazy going off!
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post

If you leave them in, they will get nice and clean but will discolor. The won't be shiny bright any more.

If you take them out during cleaning, you'll have to clean them by hand.
The racks won't slide out as smoothly afterwards either, I wish I hadn't left them in, too late now.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:55 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the responses everyone! These are really helpful tips. Sounds like the self-cleaning feature works really well. I'll give it a try this weekend. Now I'm bummed I've been cleaning ovens the hard way all along. Oh well...better now then never.
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Old 04-14-2011, 11:00 PM   #8
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One more question...my toaster oven doesn't have the self-cleaning option but if I run it at max temperature (which is 450 degrees), will it work the same way as my oven? My toaster oven could use a good cleaning as well.
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Old 04-14-2011, 11:37 PM   #9
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One more question...my toaster oven doesn't have the self-cleaning option but if I run it at max temperature (which is 450 degrees), will it work the same way as my oven? My toaster oven could use a good cleaning as well.
Someone else might know more about this than me, but I would think 450 would be more likely to bake the grease and grime on. Plus you wouldn't want to run it at max temperature too long, I would think.
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Old 04-15-2011, 05:54 AM   #10
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I have self clean never used it yet (new) how long does it run for ?
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Old 04-15-2011, 07:21 AM   #11
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Time varies, depending on your oven. Mine runs for 4 hours, but it remains locked until it cools down to a safe level. I usually run it overnight.
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Old 04-15-2011, 08:27 AM   #12
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The racks won't slide out as smoothly afterwards either, I wish I hadn't left them in, too late now.

After a cleaning, wipe the edges of each rack with a light coating of cooking oil. Problem solved.
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Old 04-15-2011, 09:31 AM   #13
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It is a bit scary the first time. But, it works like magic.

I re-read my oven's user manual each time, and follow its instructions, to be sure because mistakes generally cannot be undone. For example, glass and ceramic faces have to be thoroughly cleaned by hand or any bits of food will bake into them permanently blackened. I take my racks out. Mine is on a timed cycle, but I never leave home from start to finish. Important also to complete the cool down cycle.

Got a quick question for Andy & Caslon...
In a recent post about SS pans, you mentioned a cleaning product, I think called barkeep's friend or something. Do you think the discolored racks might be returned to their original shine with this?
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Old 04-15-2011, 09:49 AM   #14
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... Do you think the discolored racks might be returned to their original shine with this?

Barkeepers Friend is the product. I've never tried it but I don't think it would work.

Personally, I don't care if my racks are discolored. Even if BKF worked, I wouldn't expend the effort to polish three oven racks one rib at a time just so they're shiny.
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Old 04-15-2011, 01:06 PM   #15
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Someone else might know more about this than me, but I would think 450 would be more likely to bake the grease and grime on. Plus you wouldn't want to run it at max temperature too long, I would think.
You're probably right. I've ran my toaster oven at 450 degrees before and I've never noticed a cleaning effect. Maybe the temperature isn't high enough. Thanks for the input!
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Old 04-15-2011, 01:14 PM   #16
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It is a bit scary the first time. But, it works like magic.

I re-read my oven's user manual each time, and follow its instructions, to be sure because mistakes generally cannot be undone. For example, glass and ceramic faces have to be thoroughly cleaned by hand or any bits of food will bake into them permanently blackened. I take my racks out. Mine is on a timed cycle, but I never leave home from start to finish. Important also to complete the cool down cycle.

Got a quick question for Andy & Caslon...
In a recent post about SS pans, you mentioned a cleaning product, I think called barkeep's friend or something. Do you think the discolored racks might be returned to their original shine with this?

Thanks Spork! This is good to know. Our oven came with the house we purchased so we don't have the user manual. I imagine the same rules apply for all ovens so I'll be sure to clean the glass well.
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Old 04-15-2011, 01:20 PM   #17
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Barkeepers Friend is the product. I've never tried it but I don't think it would work.

Personally, I don't care if my racks are discolored. Even if BKF worked, I wouldn't expend the effort to polish three oven racks one rib at a time just so they're shiny.
Good point Andy! I think I'll leave the racks in and use your cooking oil trick. Thanks for the tip!
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Old 04-15-2011, 01:20 PM   #18
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Thanks Spork! This is good to know. Our oven came with the house we purchased so we don't have the user manual. I imagine the same rules apply for all ovens so I'll be sure to clean the glass well.

I used Dawn Power Dissolver to clean the inside surface of the glass in the oven door. It took two applications but came out pretty good.
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Old 04-15-2011, 01:21 PM   #19
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A lot of pizza fanatics modify their kitchen ovens by over-riding the safety or disabling the thermostat to attain these high temps.
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Old 04-15-2011, 01:36 PM   #20
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Do they also disable their smoke detectors so they won't be bothered by that pesky screeching?
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