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Is It Safe to Use the Self Cleaning Oven Cycle Before the Holidays?
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self cleaning oven dangers

With the winter holidays fast approaching, many home cooks like to start the season with a clean oven. And with so many other holiday tasks looming, the self-clean feature on the oven seems like an easy way to get this job done. But is it safe to use the self-cleaning oven? And is it wise to do so right before the holidays?

Safe to Use the Self-Cleaning Oven?

There are several reasons why it may not be safe to use the self-cleaning oven and we’ll discuss some of these self-cleaning oven dangers below. We’ll also provide you with a simple and safe oven cleaning method to use instead. But first, here’s a little info about how the self-cleaning oven feature works:

How Do Self-Cleaning Oven Cycles Work?

The self-clean feature on your oven works by using high heat to virtually incinerate food particles, grease, and grime. This high heat goes way beyond typical cooking levels. The self-cleaning cycle will reach temperatures between 800 and 1000 degrees during the course of a 2-5 hour cleaning.

safe to use the self cleaning oven
Image from Frigidaire

Self-Cleaning Oven Problems

If these temperatures sound like it may not be safe to use the self-cleaning oven feature, that’s certainly a possibility. When leftover food and even the oven’s enamel walls mix with high heat an unpleasant smell can result. This can irritate children, pets, and those with breathing difficulties. Also, it’s been proven that some ovens even emit carbon monoxide from the rear vent during a cleaning cycle.

Still wondering should you use the self-clean feature on your oven? High cleaning temperatures can also harm your oven, causing these components to fail and require professional repair:

  • Control panel: high heat can damage the panel’s computer, making your oven unable to respond to commands
  • Thermal fuses: these parts can short out, leading to incorrect cooking temperatures
  • Heating Element: the actual components that heat the oven can burn out and break if they become too hot

There is no guarantee that these repairs will be completed in time for you to cook a holiday meal. If you must use the self-cleaning oven feature, do so well in advance of a holiday or important dinner.

How to Clean Your Oven With Vinegar Steam

Now that we’ve reviewed why it may not be safe to use the self-cleaning oven feature, we’ll provide you with an alternative method for how to clean an oven. Cleaning your oven with vinegar steam is fast and effective, using simple kitchen ingredients in a few easy steps:


Mix together 1 part vinegar to 1 part distilled water in an ovenproof dish.


  1. Remove oven grates, placing them in a tub of warm soapy water to soak for at least several hours. Scrub off any remaining food particles with a heavy-duty scrubber.
  2. Using your vacuum’s nozzle attachment, vacuum out any loose debris from the oven.
  3. Replace the oven’s bottom rack and place the dish with the vinegar solution on the rack.
  4. Set the oven to 250 degrees and shut the door for several minutes. The vinegar solution will bubble and steam.
  5. Turn the oven off and remove the dish. Use a spray bottle with the same vinegar solution to spray the oven’s interior. Close the door for at least 30 minutes.
  6. When the oven’s interior cools, wipe it down with a sponge. Any remaining debris should come off with little effort.

Though you may decide it’s safe to use the self-cleaning feature once in a while, Moore Appliance Service is here to help if you need an oven repair. Call us today for expert service and the best in customer care!

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Serving North Carolina throughout Moore, Lee, Cumberland, & Hoke Counties

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