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Nov 6, 2012 05:00 PM

Probably stupid question about self-cleaning ovens

I'm embarrassed to ask this, but here goes . . .

My mother bought a new range with a self-cleaning oven back in the 1970s. She declared that she would never use the self-cleaning feature because she had heard that it will make the oven so hot that the inside coating will crack. I never took any of my mother's appliance and technology urban legends (there were lots more) seriously, so I just thought it was silly to have such a convenient feature and not use it.

I bought my first range with a self-cleaning oven about two years ago. When my parents saw it the first time, my mother repeated her belief that the feature was too dangerous to use. I would have just shrugged it off, but my father, my rational and scientific parent, agreed!

So, I ask the CH's, has anyone ever heard of a self-cleaning oven cracking during cleaning?

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  1. I haven't. Mine has survived just fine :)

    1. I believe the manual that comes with your oven may say that hairline cracks may develop, and that they aren't dangerous. When it is cooling down, you might hear what sounds like crackling, but I don't ever see any cracks. It's a wonderful feature. Make sure you read the directions. Take the racks out, they'll get discolored if left in the oven. Wipe up any big spills on the bottom before starting it up.
      Now for a fun story. My brother is a cleaning nut. When the kids were little, eating at their little table and chair set, he'd be on the floor, wiping up the spills while they were eating! One Thanksgiving he saw my sister in law take the turkey and sides out of the oven, and he went right over to it, flipped the switch to start the self cleaning. They leave the racks in, apparently. Well, the rolls were STILL in the oven!!! He couldn't open the door, because the safety lock had already engaged, since the oven was already heated. Whoa! So when the process was done, and they opened the oven, all that was left of the rolls were cinders!

      1. Sometimes people have crazy ideas no matter how much they conflict with logic. If, in fact, self-cleaning ovens caused the damage your mother suggests, wouldn't all of the ovens with the self-cleaning feature be returned to the store and then make it a huge problem for the manufacturers?

        The only problem we have had is if we wait too long between using the self-cleaning cycle and the oven starts to leak a little smoke. Go ahead and use the self-cleaning feature and invite your parents over to witness it.

        4 Replies
        1. re: John E.

          Never use self-cleaning mode!!! Ask any repair tech and he will tell you that it is the number one reason for burned-out panels and cracked porcelain. I've repaired quite a few circuit boards myself, (or at least received them), that came from customers who used the self-cleaning mode. Most of the time it works fine but it just gets too hot for most ovens to handle and all it takes is one time. If you use it enough times, you will regret it. Trust me.

          1. re: Eatme1001

            I have used the self-clean option on all my ovens that were equipped this way, and have not observed any damage. HOWEVER, my current Thermador dual-oven has what I believe to be a serious design flaw. On self-clean, vaporized particles will enter the probe port which renders the entire oven useless. Frantic cleaning-drying with q-tips solved this problem but I am reluctant to try it again (because of how they're wired, the entire panel goes into fail mode even though only the top oven has a port, so neither oven will function until it's resolved).

            I am fortunate enough to also have a commercial oven which has ZERO electronics in it. Works every time.

            1. re: Eatme1001

              A repairman told me that it is important to use the self clean bc there are temperature sensors that can get coated with a build up of grease and the self clean function keeps the sensors from getting gummed up.

              1. re: Eatme1001

                I'm sorry you have had bad luck with the self-cleaning feature. We only use ours maybe a couple times each year and will continue to do so.

            2. <my mother repeated her belief that the feature was too dangerous to use. I would have just shrugged it off, but my father, my rational and scientific parent, agreed!>

              It depends on what you mean by dangerous. During the self cleaning cycle, the oven does get very hot. You may burn yourself if somehow you open the oven door and touch something inside (though most have a door lock during the self cleaning mode). Even the exterior surface of the oven can be fairly hot. Needless to say, the oven remain quit hot even after the self cleaning mode. Thus, the self cleaning mode is dangerous in this sense.

              Now, the self cleaning oven would NOT be so hot to crack the coating. I have used the self cleaning oven mode many times for seasoning/reseasoning my cast iron cookware. I have never crack anything.

              Now, what is true and common inconvenienc is that the self cleaning mode can make the oven racks dull and rough:


              1 Reply
              1. It scares me half to death every I have ever turned on the self cleaning oven. It gets so hot I worry it will burn the house down .i don't like it I don't like it, I don't like it.....

                2 Replies
                1. re: miss_belle

                  Self cleaning ovens are safe. Let's get real, in this litigious society what company will knowingly sell a dangerous product?

                  I used my self cleaning oven feature a lot with no ill effects. No, my kitchen did not burn down. No, it did not burn me. No, it did not crack anything. It worked as it should but, it would heat up the kitchen a little which was nice in winter and not so nice in summer.

                  1. re: Sid Post

                    Yes. I know all that ok. I just still don't feel comfortable with it on. To each his/her own...