Ovens can get gross very quickly. One small spill from a roasting pan or a few toppings from your pizza falls to the bottom and promptly smells and looks unkempt.
Most modern ovens have either a self-cleaning or steam-cleaning function that you can select and leave the machine to do the work. They’re super handy and save you time cleaning the oven yourself.
However, many of us use these functions and don’t know what they mean or even do. This article will explain each of the functions and which is best for tackling dirty ovens.
Both steam-cleaning and self-cleaning oven functions work well. The choice comes down to personal preference.
Self-cleaning ovens are highly effective at cleaning dirt and grime; however, they are not energy efficient, take several hours, and are hazardous in a home with children or pets.
On the other hand, steam cleaning ovens are slightly less effective at removing grime but cost very little to run and take less time. Alternatively, you can clean an oven using baking soda and dryer sheets.
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Self-cleaning functions attack dirt and grease with heat. The temperature inside a self-cleaning oven can reach up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, enough to burn away any debris in the oven.
The oven cleans itself by burning all the grime and grease into ash, completely carbonizing it. The ash then collects on the bottom and merely requires you to wipe it out at the end.
Pros of a self-cleaning oven:
- The function effectively cooks away dirt and takes much of the work out for you.
- It’s straightforward to use.
- It actually works!
Cons of a self-cleaning oven:
- The oven has to get extremely hot and remains this temperate for up to 4 hours. This can be very expensive when it comes to energy bills.
- The high heat can become a safety hazard as you can’t run it overnight, and it’s also hazardous for households with kids and pets.
- The oven can smell quite bad when running through a cycle, meaning you need a well-ventilated kitchen.
- The cycle takes a long time, up to 4 hours. During this time, you won’t be able to use the oven or stove-stop.
How to Use the Self-Cleaning Oven Function:
Due to the high heat of a self-cleaning oven, there are a few things you can do to make sure the cycle is as safe and effective as possible,
- Ensure all pans and foil pieces have been removed before turning on the cycle.
- Remove the racks and handwash them separately if they are not coated in enamel. Otherwise, they may discolor.
- Remove any large pieces of food debris before turning on the cycle. This will minimize the unpleasant odor during the cleaning cycle.
- Ensure all household members know not to touch or tamper with the oven once it is turned on, and ensure the door is locked.
- Select the correct cycle length for your needs.
- If your oven isn’t super dirty, set it to a 1-2 hour clean cycle, as this will save you money on the energy bill. But if the oven hasn’t been cleaned for a long time, select a longer cycle.
- At the end of the cycle, thoroughly wipe the oven with a damp cloth. Any ash left will cause smells the next time it’s turned on.
Steam Cleaning Ovens.
The difference is in the name here; steam. The steam-cleaning function only reaches around 250 degrees Fahrenheit during a cycle and instead uses water to clean the oven.
The steam-cleaning function requires users to add water to the oven floor before use. The water heats during the cleaning cycle and releases steam to melt away the dirt.
After the cycle, you need to wipe away the residue. The steam cleaning function takes much less time than self-cleaning, usually around 1.5 hours.
Therefore the cleaning cycle is super handy for a quick turnaround and will save you money.
Pros of steam cleaning ovens:
- Short run-time.
- It is energy efficient in its temperature and time.
- The cycle doesn’t cause any unpleasant odors.
- Less hazardous than a self-cleaning oven.
Cons of Steam-cleaning ovens:
- The results are often not as good as those with a self-cleaning oven.
How to Use a Steam Cleaning Oven:
- Use the steam clean function when you notice dirt and grime build up in the oven. Don’t wait for the oven to get properly filthy, as the steam cleaning function may not be able to cope.
- You can leave the oven racks inside while you clean.
- Wipe away any obvious debris before running a cycle.
- Place an oven-safe bowl or casserole dish filled with water on one of the racks in the center of the oven.
- You can use a bowl of plain water or add a little white vinegar for a dirty oven.
- Set the oven to between 250 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit, leave it for around 30 minutes, or set it to the steam clean function.
- After the cycle is finished, turn off the oven and allow it to cool.
- Once cooled, thoroughly wipe out the oven with a damp cloth.
What is better, self-cleaning or steam cleaning?
Deep cleaning household appliances is never a fun task, so finding any methods that speed up the process or make it easier is always welcomed.
Self-cleaning and steam-cleaning ovens are both great ways to refresh your oven, and you ultimately can’t go wrong with either. The self-cleaning function is a better option for those households with a truly grimy oven or one used very frequently.
However, steam cleaning might be better for you if you are concerned about the energy bills and the run-time. Additionally, steam cleaning is safer for households with children and pets.
Method for Properly Cleaning an Oven With Baking Soda.
There are more than one or two methods for cleaning an oven; some do not require even turning the oven on. This method uses baking soda to clean the oven.
Follow this method for the ultimate deep clean of any stove.
What you will need:
Step 1. Pre-clean.
Make sure the oven is completely cooled before beginning the process. Then, start by removing all the oven racks to get them out of the way.
Then, using an old cloth, wipe out as much excess food and dirt as you can.
Step 2. Make the oven cleaning solution and apply.
Mix ½ cup of baking soda with enough water to form a paste. Then, smear the paste all over the bottom of the oven.
Ideally, wear rubber gloves for this step to work the mixture into the oven by hand.
Step 3. Clean oven racks.
Place the oven racks into the bath, and fill with boiling water. If you have any dryer sheets, place a few of these in the tub and leave them to soak overnight.
Then, use the sheets to scrub the racks in the morning thoroughly.
Step 4. Leave to soak.
While the racks are soaking in the bath, close the oven and leave the baking soda to work overnight.
Step 5. Clean the glass door.
Using the same baking soda and water mixture, smear the paste onto the inside of the glass door. Let it sit for around 30 minutes, and wipe it away with a warm, damp cloth.
Step 6. Clean-up
The following day, wipe out the oven with a damp cloth. If the paste is stuck, try scraping it away with a rubber spatula.
Step 7. Vinegar
There are several ways to clean an oven, using heat, steam or chemicals. Removing newer food debris is always easier, so try to get into the habit of deep cleaning the oven every few weeks.
Additionally, try to wipe away spills as they occur, and wipe out the oven frequently. The methods above should give you all you need to get to work cleaning your oven.
Last update on 2023-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API