What are the Dangers of a Self-Cleaning Oven?

There are a few household chores everyone hates to do – amongst the top-ranked is cleaning the oven. Now branded as the UK’s most hated chore, the technology that apparently fixes this problem is a self-cleaning oven. Do you have a self cleaning oven?

Perhaps you were excited to see your oven had a self-cleaning option. Saying goodbye to back-breaking scrubbing and toxic oven cleaning products. A sparkling clean oven at the touch of a button – are self cleaning ovens too good to be true?

What is a Self-Cleaning Oven?

A self-cleaning oven uses high temperatures to burn away food deposits and leftovers, without the need for toxic oven cleaning products. A self clean oven has a typical cleaning cycle that takes several hours to complete, and locks for safety reasons.

The oven reduces food to ash with exposure to temperatures of around 932 degrees Fahrenheit. The self-cleaning oven sounds convenient, time-saving and cost-effective, making these ovens appealing to consumers.

However, there are some self-cleaning oven dangers. The high temperatures can release carbon monoxide and other fumes, which are dangerous in poorly ventilated areas. There are also potential risks to pets, particularly birds, which are more sensitive to fumes.

How to use the self-cleaning oven function

Using the self-cleaning function on an oven can make cleaning easier and more effective. There are a few things to do in preparation:

  • Read your oven’s manual for specific instructions and safety guidelines, as procedures can vary by model.
  • Remove oven racks, pans and any other items inside the oven.
  • Clean up any food debris with a damp cloth to reduce smoke and odours during the cleaning cycle.
  • Ensure your kitchen is well-ventilated.

During the cleaning cycle, it is important to monitor the amount of smoke being produce and keep the area well-ventilated for the whole process. Once it is complete, you can use a damp cloth to wipe away the ash that remains in the oven, once it has cooled.

Is it safe to use the self-cleaning feature?

Generally self-cleaning ovens are safe if used correctly, but concerns include high temperatures and fumes. Self-cleaning ovens can produce dangerous fumes into the air with an unpleasant burning smell. Self-cleaning ovens reach high temperatures and emit fumes from the burning of food particles and enamel lining. These fumes circulate within the indoor air and can affect occupants.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Research has concluded that many self-cleaning ovens can produce and release carbon monoxide emissions into the kitchen and home. The baked-on food in the oven is exposed to high temperatures, releasing this emission into the air. This poisonous gas is odourless, tasteless, and invisible. Carbon monoxide can significantly affect the air quality and health of those breathing in the gas.
Safety tip: If you have a self-cleaning oven ensure that the windows are open during the process and keep a working carbon monoxide detector in your house.

Is a Smoking Oven Dangerous?

Some smoke is normal, but excessive smoke indicates potential issues with residue. Excessive smoke from ovens can be dangerous, especially if it contains harmful compounds from burning food residues. It is important to ensure good ventilation and avoid inhaling the smoke.

Children and Pets

Young children and pets can be at risk of burns when the oven is in self-cleaning mode. The front of the oven becomes very hot during the cleaning process, so children and pets should never be left alone while cleaning.

The glass oven door is also at risk of shattering when in self-cleaning mode. The glass in oven doors has been strengthened to make it more resistant to heat. However, the extreme heat caused by self-cleaning can cause the glass to shatter in some circumstances.

Asthma and Respiratory Issues

Toxic fumes can emanate from the oven when cleaning, which can be dangerous to someone with asthma or respiratory problems.

The inside of your oven is coated in Teflon, which can withstand normal oven temperatures. However, when the Teflon is exposed to extremely high temperatures it breaks down and releases fumes. Inhaling these fumes can lead to coughing, sweating, breathing issues and flu-like symptoms.

If anyone in the household suffers with existing respiratory issues, it is advised that they stay away from the oven during the self-cleaning process.

Fire Hazards

Self-cleaning ovens can be fire hazards. Even if all the large food partials are removed before cleaning, the temperature gets so high in the cleaning process that even grease can ignite a fire according to Fix Appliances.

The fuse of a self-cleaning oven may blow out due to extreme heat caused by the self-cleaning process. As a result, the control panel may burn and lead to a fire.

Pyrolytic vs Catalytic Oven Cleaning: What is the Difference?

If there is one chore that is hated by the whole nation, it’s cleaning the oven. However, self-cleaning ovens offer a hassle-free way to clean the oven without the worry of manual scrubbing and harsh products. Self-cleaning ovens are typically split into two types: Pyrolytic and Catalytic. But what is the difference?

Below we discuss the differences between Pyrolytic and Catalytic self-cleaning ovens.

Pyrolytic Oven Cleaning

Pyrolytic meaning-  Pyrolytic oven cleaning is typically a lot tougher on food grime than catalytic cleaning. During a Pyrolytic cleaning cycle, the oven is heated to extreme temperatures of over 400 ºC. These high temperatures mean that all food deposits are burnt into ash and can be swept away.

Pyrolytic cleaning takes a few hours to complete, compared to just 30 minutes on a Catalytic. However, on most Pyrolytic ovens you can programme the cycle to begin at a time you will not be using the oven. It is also advised that you do not leave the house when the self-cleaning function is active. If you are worried about the dangers of the self-cleaning oven mode, then why not get a professional oven cleaning quote from Ovenclean?

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Is a Pyrolytic Self-Cleaning Oven Safe?

When the Pyrolytic self-cleaning mode is activated, the oven will reach extremely high temperatures. This can be worrying for families with young children, however when the cleaning cycle is running, the door will remain locked.

For more information on safety, read our What are the Dangers of a Self-Cleaning Oven blog.

Pros of Pyrolytic Ovens:

  • Most effective type of self-cleaning oven, as it gives a much deeper clean than other self-cleaning functions.
  • Easy to use – once the cycle is complete, the grime can be simply wiped away with a damp cloth.
  • Once the oven cleaning programme is set, the door is locked. This prevents someone accidentally harming themselves during the clean.

Cons of Pyrolytic Ovens:

  • Pyrolytic ovens are typically more expensive then Catalytic ovens due to the engineering that is required for the extreme temperatures.
  • If someone accidentally puts the oven into the self-cleaning mode, the door will be locked for around 3 hours.

Catalytic Self-Cleaning Ovens

Catalytic ovens contain special catalytic liners inside the oven’s cavity. These specialist oven liners are fast absorbing so remove grease and grime from the oven. The main difference with Catalytic ovens is that they do not need to reach extreme temperatures to clean. During the cleaning cycle, the Catalytic oven is heated to around 200 ºC, so it can burn off grease and food deposits. Then the excess grease can be removed with a damp cloth. However, it may require some extra elbow grease to remove this mess, compared to the Pyrolytic oven, which burns the food residue to ash.

Pros of Catalytic Ovens:

  • Quicker than Pyrolytic – It only takes around 20-30 minutes for the oven to be cleaned.
  • Typically, Catalytic ovens are cheaper to buy than Pyrolytic ovens.
  • Easy to use – there is no preparation needed, simply put the oven into self-cleaning mode and watch the magic happen!

Cons of Catalytic Ovens:

  • A Catalytic oven will not give you a deep oven clean. You will likely need to manually clean the oven after the process is finished.
  • Not every surface in the oven is covered by the specialist liners. This means you may need to clean the top and bottom of the oven yourself.
  • Finally, this may not be an ideal oven for those who like to bake. Catalytic ovens cannot clean sugar off the oven due to the low temperatures.
  • So, which do you think is the best self cleaning oven?

Self-cleaning Oven Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I use the self-cleaning feature?

Use it as needed based on how frequently you cook and the types of food you prepare. On average, every few months is typical for most households.

Can I stay in the house while the oven is self-cleaning?

It’s safe to stay, but make sure there is suitable ventilation. Fumes from burning residues can be irritating, so consider leaving if you have respiratory issues.

Can the self-cleaning feature damage my oven?

Prolonged or improper use can stress oven components, particularly the door gasket and electronic controls. Follow manufacturer guidelines to minimise risks.

What should I do if the self-cleaning feature isn’t working properly?

Check the user manual for troubleshooting steps. If problems persist, contact the manufacturer or a professional repair service.

Fume-free Professional Oven Cleaning

oven cleaning specialist in uniform next to double ovenNow you are more aware of the dangers and disadvantages of self-cleaning ovens, you can decide whether to use the feature or not. The good news is, all ovens, including self-cleaning ovens can be professionally deep cleaned by Ovenclean.

Ovenclean specialists use our range of unique no added caustic oven cleaning solutions, giving safe, outstanding results to all oven brands and models. Our cleaning system is completely exclusive to Ovenclean’s network of local specialists. The cleaning system and range of products ensure that our customers benefit from a safe working environment and a fume-free home. All cleaned ovens and appliances are completely safe to use just as soon as we’ve finished. .

Get your FREE professional cleaning quote here.


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