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"Self Cleaning" Ovens - Reality or Myth

Every day I go out and clean "Self Cleaning" ovens. No matter what the brand the same problems exist.

To say that an oven will self clean itself is a great showroom sales pitch but it is a gross exaggeration. "Self Cleaning" is really a misnomer - "Easier to Clean" is closer to the truth and reality from my experience having cleaned hundreds of them.

If you have the time I will briefly explain -

Basically there are two types of so called "Self Cleaning" ovens - Catalytic and Pyrolytic

Many ovens in New Zealand and Australia have self cleaning panels known as Catalytic liners. The liner has a microporous coating that absorbs fat splashes during cooking those wonderful big roasts that we all love.

To keep the liners themselves clean you need to heat the empty oven to a very high temperature for at least an hour on a regular basis. This of course uses a lot of electricity and will reflect on your power bill. Also be aware that burning off carbon debris may cause cancers according to some US research.

So, while the Catalytic liners may look reasonably clean you cannot see the grease and carbon that builds up behind. You have to remove the liners to clean in-behind plus you still have to clean the oven floor, grill, racks and rack shelves, door and fan.

My oven cleaning experience shows that the fan area and the fan itself are prime for gathering grease and carbon. The fan should be a gleaming silver not a greasey gold colour. Out of sight and out of mind maybe but not good for you or your family's health.

Likewise with Pyrolytic "self cleaning" ovens. The more expensive Pyrolytic oven needs to heat up to a staggering 500*C for up to three hours and it converts food residue and fat splashes into ash which then falls and gathers in the bottom of the oven for you to clean out. Sure the oven automatically locks during the cleaning process however the exterior of the oven also reaches a very high temperature so please ensure all children are kept out the kitchen. Again, like the cheaper Catalytic oven you still have to clean the oven floor, racks, rack shelves, door and fan.

This is why you still need a professional oven cleaning specialist.

The option of trying to deep clean the oven yourself or having your house cleaner do it is fraught with danger.

Danger, danger!

Most oven cleaning and bbq cleaning products from supermarkets and DIY stores come in an aerosol and may contain caustic soda. As the labels will warn, these products are very dangerous to your health and are not eco-friendly so why take the risk?

In addition these aerosol products can also severely damage your beautiful and expensive oven. I often come across ovens where the oven floor has been stripped of its enamel coating along with damage to door seals, door glass and chrome racks. Once damaged it is difficult or impossible to repair.

Oh yes, and please to not put tin-foil on the bottom of your oven. All manufacturers say this is a no no as it interfers with the thermostat and the temperature and can damage the oven or even cause a fire.

The Answer to Every House Wife's Wish

The OvenGuy is Auckland's leading specialist oven and bbq cleaning service. I love cleaning ovens and bbqs. With my specially formulated cleaning product that is 100% biodegradeable, non toxic and safe along with my van mounted steam tank, I guarantee you a prompt, personal and professional service.