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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 to increase sales of their ovens. Sometimes, these features are introduced without proper testing or have design flaws that can cause problems in the future. One of those features is known as the self-cleaning option in the oven. Jacob Dillard, appliance repair engineer of Appliance Repair Expert, will tell us more about it in this article.

oven cleaning

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 is best to read the manufacturer’s instructions. Each oven (Whirlpool, Maytag, etc.) has its own warnings and functions.
  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 cannot open the door until the end of the cycle.
  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 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.smoke in oven
  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 that will save you time, but the reality is harsher than expected. To reach high temperatures, the device must subject all of its components to a tremendous amount of stress and hold the parts at very high temperatures for a long time.

On average, ovens take between 1.5 and 3 hours to clean, with some models taking as long as 6 hours. For ovens with a steam cleaning function, the cycle time is usually shorter – less than an hour for cleaning and cooling.

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 is the only affected part, consider yourself very lucky. It’s a simple fuse that probably melted inside from high temperatures. It is usually the least costly material in any appliance repair.thermal fuses/thermostat
  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.oven door lock
  3. Mainboard / Control board. The mainboard must conduct maximum power available for the heating element to reach peak performance. This kind of stress test burns mainboards and control panels. Motherboards are expensive and sometimes not available in stock.oven control board
  4. Bake, broil, and 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; replacement is the only option.heating elements in oven
  5. Wiring, terminal connections. All connections and wires will be under high electrical current to supply power to all elements. Sometimes, the connection can wear off and burn due to a bad connection. wiring connections in oven

Important Safety Concerns When It Comes To Self-Cleaning Oven Feature


  1. It is important to have carbon monoxide and smoke sensors. It is strongly recommended not to run the self-cleaning options when no one is home. A properly installed detector will activate a high noise level that will alert everyone in the home that something is on fire.carbon monoxide and smoke detector
  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 know all the pros and cons, you can always do internal cleaning manually. You can use commercial chemicals or homemade tricks such as baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar.

Manual cleaning products


The oven’s self-cleaning feature puts much pressure on the components, often resulting in costly repairs or replacement parts. High heat can damage thermal fuses, door locks, control boards, heating elements, wiring and connections.

Using the self-cleaning feature without proper precautions can be dangerous. It’s important to have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, not use self-cleaning without someone home, and keep children and pets away.

While self-cleaning can save time on oven cleaning, the costs often outweigh the benefits. Manual cleaning with baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice may be safer and cheaper in the long run than relying on the self-cleaning feature.

If the self-cleaning function has already damaged your oven, Appliance Repair Expert can help you, providing a warranty for parts and labour. 

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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