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why you should not use the self cleaning option in the oven

Reasons to Avoid Self-Cleaning Oven Feature


Every year manufacturers come up with more and more features for the units to have better sales. Sometimes those features are implemented without proper testing or have design flaws that can cause issues down the road. One of those features is known as the self-cleaning option on the oven.

How to properly use the self-cleaning option?

While this option can cause damage, it does make day-to-day life easier, and here are some tips for its use:

  1. Remove all the content from the inside of the unit. All removable racks need to be removed. You can use vegetable oil to improve the sheen on the metal. In some units, it’s required to fill the bottom of the oven with a specific amount of water. It’s best to review in the manufacturer’s manual.
  2. Close the oven door and choose the option of self-cleaning, activate it. Once the option is activated, it will lock the door automatically. You will not be able to open the door until the end of the cycle because the door will be locked for safety reasons.
  3. Once the oven starts the process, it will reach the maximum temperature possible. The unit will activate all its heating elements, and the temperature inside can sometimes reach up to 700 Celsius.
  4. The oven will burn all remaining dirt and food particles on the walls of your oven and might produce a little smoke and smell. Make sure that your kitchen is well ventilated.
  5. After the cycle is complete, the unit will automatically unlock the door and notify you that self-cleaning is done. Wipe down all the remaining ashes with a wet sponge.

The self-cleaning option seems like a great idea and will save you some time, but the reality is harsher than expectations. To produce high temperatures, the unit will have to put all of its components under colossal stress and maintain parts for some time under very high temperatures.

What parts of the oven can be damaged?

Unfortunately, this stress test might cause component failure at some point. Here is the list of parts that might be affected:

  1. Thermal fuses / thermostat. If this would be the only part affected, consider yourself in great luck. It’s a simple fuse that probably melted inside from high temperatures. It is usually the least costly material in any appliance repair.
  2. Door lock. The lock mechanism malfunctions and gets stuck. This issue is usually tough to deal with. Sometimes, if it’s built into the oven, the mechanism at the back panel must be removed to access the door lock. The stove is secured by screws attached to the cabinet located behind the door. If the door is locked, the access to screws is restricted. The door cannot be removed unless fully opened.
  3. Mainboard / Control board. For the heating element to reach peak performance, the mainboard must conduct maximum power available. This kind of stress test burns mainboards and control panels. Motherboards are usually pretty expensive parts and sometimes not available in stock.
  4. Bake, broil, convection heating elements. Have you ever tried to heat your oven to the maximum temperature and see how elements turn bright red from the heat? Elements get to extremely high temperatures and may fail, in which case replacement is the only option.
  5. Wiring, terminal connections. In order to supply power to all elements, all connections and wires are going to be under high electrical current. Sometimes the connection can wear off and burn due to bad connection. This can cause smoke and sometimes a dangerous situation.

Important safety concerns when it comes to self-cleaning oven feature

  1. It is important to have carbon monoxide and smoke sensors. You are highly recommended not to run self-cleaning options If nobody is home. An adequately installed sensor will activate high-pitched noise and make anyone who is home aware that something is burning.
  2. Make sure you and your family always stay safe. If your oven catches fire, do not attempt to open the oven door and call 911 immediately.
  3. Keep your pets and children away from a working self-cleaning oven. The oven glass door and metal panel can get very hot and cause burning injuries.

Now that you are aware of all pros and cons, there is always an option to do internal cleaning manually. You can use either commercial chemicals or homemade tricks such as baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar.

Author: Jacob Dillard
My name is Jacob Dillard, and I am the author of articles at Appliance Repair Expert. Since childhood, I have been fascinated by technology and spent much time reading different books and trying to repair my first CD player. Then, I graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Applied Science and Engineering. In a year, I got my first job as a technician at an appliance repair company. After years of practice and working with professionals, I decided it was time to share my knowledge and experience here at Appliance Repair Expert. I want to help you understand everything related to appliance repair, maintenance and installation in the simplest way possible. It will be fun, believe me!

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