The Perils of Self Cleaning Ovens

By on 16th January 2012 (updated: 10th March 2020) in Oven Cleaning

The latest innovation in the oven market has been the development of self cleaning ovens. Designed to make the chore of cleaning your oven that little bit easier, they’ve been well received from the buying public. However in addition to misinformation about their effectiveness, there are now stories emerging regarding safety.

Just after Christmas 2011, a home in Meridian, Idaho, USA was the victim of a faulty self cleaning oven which had disastrous consequences. The oven was switched to self cleaning mode, but the action had actually sparked a fire. Consequently, more than $25,000 (£16,000) of damage was caused from the smoke and fire. Thankfully no one was injured, but the fire-fighters at the scene did explain that this kind of situation happens more often than people would care to think.

Self cleaning ovens work by using extremely high temperatures to reduce the grime and spillages contained within the oven to ash. This way, the oven doesn’t allow a build up of dirt, but rather lets you simply clean the ash away, once it has been incinerated. However this is where safety issues can sometimes arise.

Some believe that buying a self cleaning oven will put an end to using the marigolds, scrubbing brushes and cleaning products. Unfortunately, this isn’t exactly true. Spillages, grease and grime can build up on the surfaces and contained within the oven itself. Whilst the high temperatures will remove most of the dirt build up, it will never be entirely spotless. The oven can only do so much, and will never be a complete alternative to cleaning the oven yourself, or having oven cleaning professionals to do the job.

Regarding the safety of your oven, the story from Idaho perfectly illustrates the risk of using such a device. Self cleaning ovens do have their benefits, and many people in the UK and around the world will continue to buy them, but there are some safety tips that you should consider if you do decide on purchasing this type of oven.

First of all, regardless of the fact that your oven is self cleaning, you should still ensure that it is kept reasonably clean. Any food spillages or debris can have an adverse effect when your oven is self cleaning and cause excess smoke.

Before switching on your oven to self clean mode, locate where the circuit breaker for the oven is. This maybe a switch above the hobs or located elsewhere in the kitchen. This is useful to know, because when an oven is switched to self cleaning mode, it is then locked within that mode and the only way to stop it is by cutting the power.

Always stay in the house once you’ve switched on the self cleaning mode. This is true of other appliances, but for the sheer fact that a self cleaning oven operates at extremely high temperatures, it heightens the safety precautions you should take.

Rik Hellewell is the Founder & Managing Director of Ovenu and a member of the Approved Franchise Association. He established Ovenu in 1993, cleaning 4,000 ovens and proving his concept over five years before starting the franchise business. Since then he has helped over 200 franchisees achieve their dreams of running successful businesses of their own. Established for over 25 years, the Ovenu concept has proven successful across the UK, New Zealand, Australia and the USA.