How to Clean a Self-Cleaning Oven by Yourself

Clean a Self-Cleaning Oven by Yourself

Most modern ovens come with a self-cleaning feature but you also need to know how to clean a self-cleaning oven by yourself. The goal is to keep your oven in good shape, but the truth is those self-cleaning routines run upwards of 1000 degrees, and can actually do more damage to your oven than they’re really worth.

Your home’s self-cleaning electric oven also needs manual scrubbing. Grease and grime build up around the door, an area unaffected by the potent self-cleaning system. Also, while the self-cleaning mode burns all that baked-on grime to ash, you do still have to scrape the debris out of the oven and wipe the interior clean. The most difficult part of cleaning an electric oven is scrubbing around the sensitive heating element at the bottom of the oven.

Follow these Simple Tips to Clean a Self-Cleaning Oven by Yourself

Remove the racks from the oven.

  • Gently wash the electric heating element with warm, clean water. Allow it to dry. Place small strips of aluminium foil over the element to protect the element from dribbling cleanser.
  • Scrape the surface of the oven with a rubber spatula, digging up large chunks of debris. Wipe out the debris with paper towels dipped in clean water and toss the soiled contents into the garbage bag.

Place the racks into the oven.

Pour a cup of non-sudsing ammonia into a small plastic bowl and set it on the top rack. Bring a saucepan of clean water to a boil and place it on the bottom rack in the oven. Close the oven door and allow the contents to sit overnight. The next day, slowly open the door. The fumes may be strong, so run the range hood ventilation fan to remove odors. Remove the ammonia and saucepan and allow the oven to air out.

Remove the racks.

Wipe the inside of the oven with clean, hot water. Use an old toothbrush to scrub the areas around the heating element where it is secured to the bottom of the oven. Wash the oven door in the same manner, taking care to get underneath the door gasket where dirt tends to collect.

Wipe the inside of the oven with clean, hot water.

Use an old toothbrush to scrub the areas around the heating element where it is secured to the bottom of the oven. Wash the oven door in the same manner, taking care to get underneath the door gasket where dirt tends to collect.

Scrub the burned-on dirt and grease with green scrubby pads or steel wool.

Rinse constantly while scrubbing, using the paper towels to sop up the grimiest messes.

Rinse the oven and door well with clean, hot water.

Remove the aluminum foil and wipe the heating element with warm, clean water. Scrub the oven racks with hot, soapy water, and replace them.


Lay thick layers of newspapers on the kitchen floor all around the oven to protect the floor from grease and dirt.

Also Read: How to Clean a Stainless Steel

How To Clean A Self Cleaning Oven Yourself

How to Clean a Self-Cleaning Oven by Yourself
(Image credit: Lauren Volo)
  • First, you’ll need to remove all oven racks, foil, and anything else that is removable from the internal oven. Refrain from spraying any type of cleaner inside of the oven and dispose of the foil and wash racks in the sink.
  • Once you’re looking at the bare bones of your oven, flip on the self-cleaning switch. Self-cleaning cycles usually last three hours. Because the oven temperature gets extremely hot during this cycle, you should expect the oven to smoke.
  • When the cycle ends, let the oven cool down for a few hours. Then, using a damp cloth or sponge, wipe the ash and other debris from the inside of the oven. Be sure to pay special attention to the seals and the front exterior of the oven door as these areas will not be cleaned by the self-cleaning cycle. You can easily clean these areas with a damp cloth and hydrogen peroxide.
  • If you prefer not to use the self-clean cycle and want to hand clean the interior liner of a self-clean oven, please follow the steps below:
  • Wipeout minimal soils with dishwashing liquid soap & water solution using a cloth, sponge or plastic pad. If heavy soil exists, we recommend the use of the self-clean cycle.
  • If you prefer to hand clean, a scouring pad (sos or plastic) may be used, rubbing the soiled area lightly to prevent scratching into the oven liner surface. Do not use scouring powders.
  • Household ammonia can also be used when manually cleaning a self-clean oven. Place 1/2 cup in a shallow glass or pottery container in a cold oven overnight. The ammonia fumes will help loosen the burned-on grease and food. Do not turn the oven on while ammonia is inside.
  • To remove any remaining stubborn, baked-on stains, apply a non-abrasive cleaner, such as Bar Keepers Friend Soft Cleanser, using a sponge or clean cloth.
  • Rinse the oven liner well after hand cleaning. Soap residue left on the oven liner can cause staining or discoloration when the self-clean cycle is used.
  • The above procedure may also be used for the inside of the oven door; hovers, be sure to avoid rubbing or cleaning the door gasket.
  • When the baking gets tough, here are four genius ways to help you learn how to clean an oven. Grab your rubber gloves!
    Wear protective gloves while cleaning oven with a rag.

Why You Shouldn’t Use The Self-cleaning Option

  • Self-cleaning ovens are lined with Teflon, and when the temperature of the oven is running at around 900 degrees, toxic gasses are emitted into the air. How toxic? Toxic enough to kill birds, just like cooking in a Teflon coated pan (AvianWeb). The danger doesn’t stop with birds though; the coating is also toxic to humans – the smaller the body, the more the person can be affected.
  • According to Environmental Health of California, “A scientific advisory panel to the US Environmental Protection Agency recently unanimously recommended that PFOA (a key component of Teflon) should be considered a likely human carcinogen. This classification means that there is evidence of cancer-causing effects from both human and animal studies.”
  • Teflon isn’t the only chemical to be wary of with a self-cleaning oven. Substantial amounts of Acrolein and Formaldehyde can be emitted from self-cleaning ovens on the first cleaning cycle. Our bodies cannot readily breakdown the chemicals used in making Teflon, nor can it fully eliminate Formaldehyde and Acrolein in a timely manner.
  • The result is a host of symptoms, including asthma, headaches, dry and itchy eyes, birth defects and lung irritation.

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