Can Self-cleaning Oven Kill You? – 5 Reasons to Opt-out

Can Self-Cleaning Oven Kill You? 5 Reasons to Opt-out using self cleaning oven. Cleaning the oven is, frankly, not a very attractive task. However, it is necessary to maintain cleanliness and safe cooking. We often hear about self-cleaning ovens, but mostly without detailed information about how it works. It seems that this is just a commercial move, used only to increase sales, without the presence of any innovation.

Can Self-cleaning Oven Kill You?

And yet, self-cleaning ovens are a real technological innovation. The scientific name for such a device is a pyrolytic oven, where the main distinguishing feature from non-pyrolytic ovens is the self-cleaning function.

What is Self-Cleaning Oven?

Leading household appliance manufacturers are continually updating their goods. So a useful function appeared that allows you to reduce the effort for manual cleaning of such household appliances or even wholly abandon it – the self-cleaning function of the oven.

1. Pyrolytic method

So, the first option for automatic cleaning grease and any contaminants has a powerful effect on the cost of a household appliance in the direction of rising prices. It consists of the oven being heated to a temperature of about 500 degrees.

At the same time, all contaminants burn out and turn into ash, which, after self-cleaning is completed, is easy to remove. This function greatly complicates the design because you will need refractory materials, additional insulation for the outer surface of the device, and the possibility of special removal and filtering of smoke formed from combustion.

2. Catalytic method

Its essence is that the oven walls are covered with a special enamel that retains fats and breaks them down into water and carbon. The process takes place automatically during cooking. In this case, manual cleaning is still required since the bottom of the oven is not covered with catalytic enamel. Another disadvantage of this self-cleaning method is that this smart enamel will collapse within 4-5 years, and the catalysis function will cease to operate.

Can Self-Cleaning Oven Kill You? (The Truth)

The self-cleaning (pyrolytic) oven heats up very quickly to a temperature of 500C, where the stubborn food and fat residues turn into ashes. When the cleaning cycle finishes, use a moist towel to wipe the oven’s interior.

As a rule, pyrolytic ovens have more than one cleaning program, with a cycle of 1 to 3 hours depending on the level of cleaning you need. For example, a 1-hour program will allow you to remove unpleasant odors that appear after cooking some dishes, while a 3-hour program will be able to remove even stubborn dirt.

Pyrolytic ovens or self-cleaning ovens have several advantages over conventional ovens. In addition to being easy to clean, these ovens are more environmentally friendly as there is no need to use chemicals that are harmful to the health and environment. So, self-cleaning ovens are not a threat to health.

Can Oven Cleaner Fumes Make You Sick?

They’re actually mist droplets generated when millions of microscopic bubbles burst and eject the product into the air, rather than fumes. The majority of oven cleansers contain sodium or potassium hydroxide. Inhaling the mist might cause discomfort to the respiratory tract.

Long-term or repetitive overexposure can harm the respiratory system, however this is unlikely to occur when using an oven cleaner on a regular basis. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions while using cleaners. The actual concern with these products is avoiding contact with the skin and eyes.

Is It Okay to Self-clean an Oven Overnight?

No. If you decide to use it, Do it while you have the opportunity to observe it. Because the scent will be unbearable, you’ll need to open the windows and ventilate your kitchen.

5 Reasons to Opt-Out of the Self-Cleaning Oven

To date, ovens have 3- cleaning systems: hydrolytic, catalytic, and pyrolytic. The latter is considered the most advanced; it is usually called “self-cleaning.” 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 eliminates human intervention.

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.

1. 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 oven’s walls 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. It means not only an unpleasant odor but also a potential health hazard. It would seem that the problem can be entirely 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.

2. 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 severe thermal insulation of the inner chamber. Unfortunately, practice shows that this is not always enough.

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

3. Breakdowns

The self-cleaning function is the most common cause of oven failure. Scott Miller, an appliance repair specialist, told FamilyHandyman (The Family Handyman is an American home-improvement magazine, owned by Trusted Media Brands, Inc.) about this. The lock mechanism often breaks – after self-cleaning, the oven door remains locked. Also, strong heating leads to the 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 it is a little pleasure.

4. Safety

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

The self-cleaning oven 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.

5. Duration

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 drops to at least 250°C. During this time, theoretically, you can have time to wash the oven several times manually and even cook several dishes in it.

Of course, comparing manual labor with machine labor is incorrect, but given the above factors, self-cleaning is not such a bad option. Special household chemicals or steam cleaners greatly simplify the process.

However, the difference in price between an oven with and without a self-cleaning function is few.

 However, the intense heat of the self-cleaning oven might be scary. The thought of high temperatures and the smell of burning is alarming. 


One of the kitchen’s most time-consuming and least-liked chores is cleaning the oven. These ovens can save you time and back pain because you must bend over and wipe the dirt. It’s as if the oven cleaning feature is magic. You close the oven door, start the cycle, and after a few hours, all that nasty food leftovers have turned to ash, and you’re one wet rag away from a sparkling oven.