A self cleaning range may seem like an obvious choice for today's hectic lifestyle. For many consumers, it is! Cleaning the inside of an oven can be a frustrating and time consuming job. Owning a self cleaning range can significantly reduce the hassle of cleaning all the caked-on food that builds up inside your range from the inevitable spills and splatters that result from cooking. As you are doing research for your next range, be sure to look at self cleaning range models as part of your search (and for more info on choosing a new gas or electric range, check out our range buying guide). Let's take a closer look.
Self cleaning ranges were first introduced in the 1960s. These ranges have a few important features that their non self cleaning range counterparts do not have. First, they have a strong enamel coating on the interior of the range that is designed to work with the self cleaning cycle to allow caked-on food to be loosened from the surface and reduced to ash for easy cleaning. Secondly, these ranges have the ability to reach temperatures over 900 degrees during the self cleaning cycle. Non self cleaning ranges can't do this as no food is ever cooked at 900 degrees!
The self cleaning cycle itself typically runs two to three hours. During the cycle, the range will be locked and will heat to an extremely high temperature inside, essentially cleaning the range by burning all the stains away. At the end of the cycle, you'll simply need to clean out all the ash from the interior and then touch-up clean any final stains.
Here are some pros and cons to consider before purchasing a self cleaning range:
Eliminates the need for heavy hand scrubbing of interior
No need for harsh chemicals with noxious fumes
Time saver, as the oven essentially does most of the cleaning itself
Powerful cleaning cycle can remove food that would be difficult to remove otherwise
- Reaches every corner of the oven, including the sides and corners, which is hard to do by hand
High energy consumption to heat the range to extremely high temperatures
Takes several hours
May cause unpleasant odor from food being incinerated
Range becomes very hot, even on the exterior
Some work is still required to clean up residual debris after cycle
Pro Tip: One common issue we see with self cleaning ranges is that consumers rely too heavily on the self cleaning cycle and don't do enough regular maintenance-type cleaning on their range in between self cleans. Regular light cleaning of the range can go a long way to making the self cleaning cycle more effective. Some customers don't clean their range all year and then turn the self clean on the day before Thanksgiving or another big cooking event and end up with a very unpleasant outcome. Don't fall victim to this! Regular cleaning goes a long way. Some housekeeping resources recommend wiping down the oven weekly and doing a more thorough clean every 3-6 months, depending on how heavily the oven is used.
Many mid-range stoves come with a self-clean option of some kind clearly labeled on the control panel. An alternative to self cleaning offered in today's market is steam cleaning, a relatively newer method that takes less time than self cleaning cycles and works at lower temperatures. For more about that option, read our complete article here.
We hope you enjoyed this discussion of self cleaning ranges. Let us know what kind of range you end up purchasing. We’d love to hear from you!
Editor's Note: This blog was originally written in March of 2018 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy as of the publication date noted above.