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Self cleaning oven - dumb questions

OK, I've never used the self cleaning function on my oven and it's way past due for a cleaning.
Take the racks out and lock the door, set it to "clean", right?
About how long does a cycle take? It's a 10+ year old GE Monogram oven (gas).
Figured I better run it while it is still cool out.

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  1. More or less right. I leave my racks in (but mine's electric); do you have instructions? Always safer to leave the racks out if you don't know. In mine, the only downside of the racks being in is that they aren't quite as "smooth" afterward. But they're clean! Usually there's a time setting on it as well. Standard cleaning time is 4 hours on mine; I do 5 if it's really really dirty, 3 if it's not so. Usually the locking of the door happens automatically but maybe not on yours.

    1. Take the racks out. If you do leave them in and they are hard to move afterward just coat the sides with a bit of cooking oil and they'll be as smooth as new. The cycle can take 3 hours. My oven had a way you could set the time for 2 hours. You can always stop it during the cycle though. Mine is electric so not sure if there is a difference with gas models.

      1. Hi Bee,

        Like DGresh said, many racks can be left in the oven, but few are not. To some extend, it also depends on your preference. Many ovens has a timer for self-cleaning. In other words, it will stop after a set time. If yours does not have a countdown, then set it for 3-4 hours. That should be sufficient in most cases.

        1. My oven automatically locks itself and unlocks itself when it has cooled

          1. Yep, take the racks out. Also open a few windows and don't panic when you smell that awful burning smell. It's normal--the oven superheats and literally burns the crud off the walls and floor of your oven. The more crud there is, the worse the smell. Since you've never cleaned it, set it for the full time, usu. 4-5 hours. Also keep plastics and paper away from the surrounding area, as it can get pretty warm.

            1. In addition to what others have said my oven manual (GE Profile) also recommends:
              - clean heavy spills off the bottom before self cleaning
              - clean the door frame and door outside the gasket, since the self cleaning cycle will not clean these areas and the heat may bake residue on
              - if soap is used in the above steps rinse it off well with vinegar and water mixture
              - turn off the oven light because it may burn out if left on during self cleaning

              3 Replies
              1. re: BruceMcK

                I have a GE Profile that's 15. I do what the manual says except that I don't clean the bottom first. If there is charred gunk there when the clean cycle is done, I just wipe it out. Normally, if there is any, it's just white flaky stuff. I leave the racks in there. I have a Hearthkit that I leave also. Maybe I'm lazy but I hope that self clean means self clean.

                1. re: BruceMcK

                  Well, I didn't blow the house up (although I did need to keep the windows open).
                  The oven wasn't hugely dirty (I don't use it that often) but the glass window on the door did not come clean, which was really the biggest issue.
                  Any rec's for this stubborn (and now thoroughly baked on) issue?
                  It is sort of a golden brownish color when you look at the inside surface of the glass.

                  1. re: BeeZee

                    Try some ceramic range cleaner, barkeepers friend, or maybe try a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

                2. This has always been a mystery to me as well. When the oven cleans itself, where does all the gunk go?

                  It seems to me that a self-cleaning oven defies a basic law of physics. Unless the gunk is converted into energy which is dissipated ...

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: redfish62

                    "This has always been a mystery to me as well. When the oven cleans itself, where does all the gunk go? "


                    "It seems to me that a self-cleaning oven defies a basic law of physics. Unless the gunk is converted into energy which is dissipated ..."

                    Nope, it is well within the laws of physics. Mass is converted to mass (e.g. no mass-energy conversion). Phase change, from solid state to gas state. Think about dry ice.


                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      No. There is no phase change. There isn't a gaseous form of charred food. The baked on charred food does not become a gas through sublimation (solid to gas) like dry ice. It burns it out. The char at the bottom burns off into tiny solid particles that we call smoke.

                    2. re: redfish62

                      After you run the cleaning cycle there will be a little bit of gray ash in the oven. Just take a damp rag and wipe it out. If the window in the oven door is still icky, clean it with stove top cleaner or Easy Off but be careful to contain the cleaning substance and don't get it on the inner surface of a self-cleaning oven. Use steel wool on any bad spots on the window.

                    3. One thing I learned the hard way - if your son wins a fish at the school fun fair, don't leave the fishbowl in the kitchen when you run the self clean cycle on the oven. Oops. Didn't know that the fumes go right into the water. We made a little cross with popsicle sticks and had a nice funeral.

                      On a lighter note, I leave the racks in and rub a little vegetable oil afterward on the tracks that they sit on. Makes them slide out nice and smooth.
                      To redfish, the gunk goes the same place your log does when you burn it in the fireplace. It turns to ash.