5 Reasons to Opt Out of the Self-Cleaning Oven

To date, there are 3 cleaning systems in ovens: hydrolytic, catalytic and pyrolytic. The latter is considered the most advanced, it is usually called “self-cleaning”, and it is found in more expensive and advanced models. If the first two systems do not eliminate the need for manual cleaning, but only simplify it, then the pyrolytic system almost completely eliminates human intervention.

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With all the apparent attractiveness of self-cleaning, the disadvantages of this technology should not be overlooked: there are at least 5 reasons not to use this function.

Unpleasant odors

When you start the pyrolytic self-cleaning function, the oven heats up to 470°C – 500°C, which is about twice the maximum temperatures in cooking modes. Thanks to this, the remains of food, fat and other contaminants on the walls of the oven are effectively destroyed, namely burned. The user only needs to sweep away the ashes before the next use of the oven.

There are no ovens with a chimney on sale, and therefore all volatile combustion products (including carbon monoxide) inevitably enter the air of your house or apartment. This means not only an unpleasant odor, but also a potential health hazard. It would seem that the problem can be completely solved by turning on the kitchen hood, opening the window and going for a walk for several hours, but leaving the room during self-cleaning is quite risky, more on that below.

Possibility of ignition

A temperature of 500°C is even higher than the average temperature of Venus, the “hottest” planet in the solar system. To cope with such heat, ovens with a self-cleaning function are equipped with much more serious thermal insulation of the inner chamber. Unfortunately, practice shows that this is not always enough.

The risk of fire increases the more food remains were in the oven before self-cleaning was started. If you have not sufficiently cleaned the inner chamber before starting the function in question, then due to the combustion products released into the air, a fire alarm (if any) may go off. The worst-case scenario would be self-ignition, such cases are already known.


The self-cleaning function is the most common cause of oven failure. Scott Miller, an appliance repair specialist, told FamilyHandyman about this. The lock mechanism often breaks – after self-cleaning, the oven door remains locked. Also, strong heating leads to failure of the thermostat, electronic boards and controls (especially if they are touch sensitive).

Minor damage is also possible: “twists” melt and light bulbs burst – such damage is not so difficult to fix on your own, but there is little pleasant in this.


The outer part of the oven, namely the glass door, can become very hot even when the standard baking modes are turned on. If the self-cleaning mode is started, the door heats up much more, and the risk of burns increases accordingly. Therefore, those few hours that self-cleaning takes, it is better to keep children, cats and dogs away from the kitchen.

The self-cleaning function also carries an unobvious danger for birds – parrots are especially sensitive to air pollution and to smoke from the combustion of food residues in particular.


Depending on the manufacturer and model of equipment, the self-cleaning process takes an average of 3 to 5 hours. After that, the oven door can remain locked for about 1-2 hours until the temperature inside drops to at least 250°C. During this time, theoretically, you can have time to manually wash the oven several times, and even cook several dishes in it.

Of course, comparing manual labor with machine labor is not very correct, but given the above factors, self-cleaning is not such a bad option. The process is greatly simplified by special household chemicals or steam cleaners. By the way, many steam cleaners are cheaper than the difference in price between an oven with and without a self-cleaning function.

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