Different types, how they work & how to clean them.
There are three types of self cleaning ovens, although the first is the most common in the UK.
Continuous cleaning ovens
A matte or rough finished grey with white specks. Usually in the form of removable side and back panels. The idea is to spread out the grease spatter over a wide surface area. So the continuous cleaning oven has a rough, porous enamel finish on its interior walls.
That enamel contains catalytic metal oxides that help the deposits turn to ash at when exposed to temperatures higher than 200°C. The downside is that the catalytic oven liners need to be replaced once they’ve absorbed a certain amount of material.
These panels are most effective for light splatters, but doesn’t handle larger spills very well. So wipe off any substantial grime as soon as you can. If you do a lot of fat spitting roasts then keeping your ‘self clean’ panels clean can be a problem. The best method is to put the oven on full heat and let the panels burn the fat off themselves.
Not all self clean ovens have removable panels, sometimes the coating is applied directly to the oven shell.
To clean these panels yourself, pick a time to clean when you’ll be at home but out of the kitchen for a few hours. Help the cleaning along by turning the oven to full heat for an hour or so while it’s empty.
Don’t use metal scrapers, scouring pads or wire brushes on self-cleaning ovens. These can damage the panels and make the self-cleaning process less effective.
Also don’t use caustic cleaning solution on self cleaning ovens, this can wreck them.
Professional oven cleaner tips-
Generally, when we are called out to clean one of these ovens, the self cleaning panels will have done their job and won’t need any cleaning.
However if they have become clogged up with excessive grease and dirt then we can steam them for a couple of hours. After this we lightly scrub with a soft nylon bristle brush and rinse.
However these panels are not really designed to be cleaned by this method and it may not look like we have made much difference.
We would advise that you follow the manufacturers instructions. Either clean these panels with heat from the oven or replace them if they have stopped working. So from our point of view ‘self clean’ usually means more work rather than less. However this depends on how difficult the panels are to remove and replace.
Pyrolytic cleaning ovens
These burn the fat/grease first into carbon and then ash. The ash residue can then be easily wiped off with a damp cloth. These ovens have cleaning cycles that heat the oven upto around 500 degrees centigrade for 2-4 hours (depending on how much dirt there is to burn off). They have smooth enamel coating on the interior walls.
You will want to try to wipe up as much grease as you can before the cleaning cycle as the fumes they emit can be toxic to pet birds, opening doors/windows is a good idea. Also make sure you are in the house during the cycle, in case of any problems. You’ll want to avoid touching the outside of the oven, as it can get hot. Always keep children away.
Professional oven cleaning issues-
These ovens are very heavily insulated in order to maintain the high temperatures required. The problem for a professional oven cleaning service can be the oven doors. These can be triple or quadruple glazed which means a lot of work to dismantle and clean. Some ovens e.g Smeg really require a service engineer for the reassembly.
Steam cleaning ovens
These are quicker self cleaning than pyrolytic cleaning, usually less than an hour. The ovens don’t need high temperatures and don’t give off fumes, but they don’t clean as thoroughly as pyrolytic ovens. These are expensive and quite rare in the UK.
When the cycle is finished, let the oven cool down. Then loosen dirt using a scrub brush or nylon scouring pad. Soak up any remaining water with a sponge or cloth and leave the door open to air-dry the oven.
How effective this cleaning cycle is will depend on how dirty the appliance was before cleaning.
If you have tried the cleaning cycle and still not got a clean oven then we can clean these ovens manually without doing damage.
Professional oven cleaning tip-
DO NOT be tempted to remove dirt from the oven glass with green scouring pads, Brillo Pads or stainless steel pads. This will scratch the glass which could later shatter, as it is tempered glass (like a car windscreen). If your oven is still dirty then you could consider a professional oven cleaning service