Are self-cleaning ovens worth the investment?

Cleaning your oven is a time consuming job, so an oven that self-cleans can sound like music to our ears.


Unfortunately, choosing to buy a self-cleaning oven may not be the hail Mary you’ve been looking for. Cleaning specialists, Oven Bright, explains how self-cleaning ovens work, and why they’re not as tempting as they sound.

What is a self-cleaning oven and how does it work?

A self-cleaning oven uses extremely high temperatures to burn off residual food and oil left in the oven. Unlike a manual clean oven which goes up to around 250 degrees C, self-cleaning ovens can go as high as 500 degrees C.

Self-cleaning ovens need to be completely emptied before the process starts, and once started the oven will be locked for several hours. As food particles are burnt off, the oven may produce smoke so you will need to be in the house during the cleaning cycle in case it sets off the smoke alarm.

Why having a self-cleaning oven is not as good as it sounds

While it sounds ideal, there are several reasons why a self-cleaning oven is not worth the investment.

For one, there is still some level of manual cleaning. As much food debris needs to be removed before the cycle as possible, to reduce the chance of smoke during the clean. The racks and trays will also need to be taken out before using the self-cleaning cycle, and they will need to undergo manual cleaning. The door edges and seals will also need to be deep cleaned, as these are not cleaned effectively using the heat, and you will need to wipe down the oven once the temperature is safe as there will be a build up of ash following the self-cleaning process.

For another, the temperatures which self-cleaning ovens reach can often damage the fuses, wires and control panels. For this reason, many manufacturers recommend that the self-cleaning cycles are only used a few times per year – which means you do not get to benefit from having a clean oven as much as you might want to.

Due to the high temperature used in the self-clean cycle, self-cleaning ovens also present a greater risk of injuries (burns) and fires.

How to make manually cleaning your oven easier

Oven grease can be extremely stubborn but using the proper products can make cleaning your oven a little less tedious. Use a specialist oven cleaner and abrasive sponge or scourer and invest in quality rubber gloves as these cleaners can be harsh on skin.

It is easier to tackle an oven which is cleaned regularly as there is less build up of grease and food. If your oven has got to the point where you can no longer see through the door, invest in a one-off professional clean and commit to monthly DIY cleans after that.


There are also several tactics you can take to prevent your oven from getting dirty as quickly, such as using roasting bags or wiping down the oven with a damp sponge once it’s cooled after each use.