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Appliance World

Make it a Clean Fight: Self-Clean vs. Steam-Clean

            Whether you clean your oven once a week, once a month or maybe less often then that, it’s a task nobody enjoys. Even when shopping for an oven, the need for a self-clean feature is necessary for many of our customers. Most electric ovens today have an option for self-clean and even some gas ranges have been able to incorporate it for its popularity. As helpful as this mode may be there are other methods of cleaning if you do not have this feature or if your oven isn’t that dirty but could still use a cleaning, one of our favorite methods is a steam-clean option you can do in any oven.


There are some things to remember before you turn on the Self-Clean mode to your oven. Ensure you will be home for several hours as it is a long process. Ideally open the windows in your home to assist in letting any odors escape easily. Initially the door will be locked as Self-Clean starts, so be sure to remove all of the oven racks before starting; especially any telescopic racks otherwise they will lose their ability to glide, and to prevent discoloration or possible warping. The high temperatures will turn any remaining food residue in the oven cavity to ash. Once the door has unlocked and the oven is cooled enough, it is best to clean it with a dry cloth towel removing anything remaining.

When using Self-Clean it is not recommended to use any additional oven cleaners simultaneously. Many of the ovens manufactured today have a special coating that causes spills not to burn onto the oven surface easily. At the temperature your oven reaches only during a Self-Clean, this coating can pose a health risk to birds you may have as pets. If you have a pet bird in your home please ensure they are removed during the entire Self-Clean process and any smell has dissipated.

The Self-Cleaning might be convenient for many of us to use, however excessive use may put more strain on your oven then you expect. When using Self-Clean the temperature of the oven will increase to about 900 degrees. While the ovens are built to withstand this intense heat for prolonged periods it shouldn’t be used as a regular cleaning method. Many oven cleaners and sprays are available in any grocery store but if you are trying to avoid the smell and use of chemicals you can always look to steam cleaning your oven. Some brands and models have built-in this feature already as steam can also provide benefits to cooking and cleaning your oven.

With a fairly standard pot or baking dish anyone can perform a kind of Steam-clean in your oven at home. While it may not perform as efficiently as models that have this built in, it will still assist in making your oven come out cleaner, with no chemicals and less need in your frequency to use the Self-Clean mode, helping your oven last longer. First clean out any loose pieces of food within the oven cavity and take out all but one rack, which you should leave on the lowest level after removing particles. Preheat your oven anywhere from 400-450 degrees, since this is a normal temperature range to use while cooking it doesn’t expose the electrical components of your control panel to the same heat as you would while self-cleaning.

Using an oven-safe pot or baking dish, fill it at least halfway with regular tap water. You can additionally add either a cup of pre-squeezed or fresh lemon juice (don’t add the lemon), half of cup of distilled white vinegar or even both for extra cleaning power and put this into your oven. The steam and citric acid will help loosen the grease during this process and make removing the stains easier. Leave the pot or dish in the oven for about 20-30 minutes and check again after no more than an hour total, depending on how much water is left you may continue to leave the dish in the oven or turn it off. Before all of the water has dissipated turn off the oven and let it cool for at least half an hour with the door closed to trap the steam. Be careful when opening the door to avoid any steam that may be released. Once the oven is cool enough to handle remove the pot or baking dish and using a dry, clean cloth towel wipe any grease and grime stains, as most should be removed easily.


This may not remove all blemishes as some may have burned more onto the surface and will need to be spot treated. To continue to avoid using chemical cleaners you can make a paste for this by combining 4 tablespoons of baking soda and 4-5 ounces of water. Spread the mixture over these remaining stains and let it sit for 15-25 minutes before using a non-abrasive sponge to scrub these spots. Then wipe the surface clean of the paste using a damp towel and dry out the oven afterwards. The more frequently you lightly clean out your oven or use the Steam-Clean process the less you will need to use chemical cleaners or the Self-Clean function.


Appliance World wants to help you get as many years out of your oven as possible and keeping it clean is one way to help achieve that. One of the easiest and most efficient ways to keep your oven clean is to use Appliance World’s cleaning and maintenance program, Constant Care, (constant care contact info) who can not only perform a deep clean of your oven but offers services for any appliance in your home that can use a little more attention. For any other cleaning tips or to find out more about ovens with self cleaning please contact one of our helpful sales associates and visit one of our showrooms for more information about your future oven.