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You have the basics covered. A nightly cleanup includes washing the dishes, wiping down the counters, and putting everything back where it belongs. Nevertheless, there are still things in your kitchen you’re just not cleaning, but should. Let’s uncover one of the biggest offenders.

Cleaning the oven is one chore that most people dread as much as dirty laundry and cleaning the bathroom. But, after being faced with the relentless grease splatters and sauce spills day after day when you open the oven door, you realize it’s time for the mess to go.

Just as you think you’re destined for a horrendous job, you notice a button on your oven for self-cleaning. As visions of robotic arms scrubbing the inside of your dirty oven strike your mind, a eureka moment occurs–you don’t have to clean it yourself!

But, don’t rush into thinking that the self-cleaning mode on your oven is a lifesaver. Unfortunately, you should never rely on this setting.

Why You Should Never Use The Self-Cleaning Setting On Your Oven

Self-cleaning ovens, contrary to popular belief, do not “self-clean” per se. Rather, this less than helpful feature only aids in burning off spills and splatters using an extremely high temperature of up to 900 degrees. As a result, the high heat burns debris to ash for easier cleanup.

Consequently, while this simple truth may be disheartening to those who hope to open their oven door to discover a sparkly clean interior, there are also more sinister reasons as to why you shouldn’t use this setting. Surprisingly, it’s not just because it doesn’t function like most would expect. 

Smoke, Awful Odors, Carbon Monoxide, Oh My!

With the self-cleaning mode, high temperatures and large amounts of food splatter in your oven can only spell disaster. In addition to triggering some smoke that might have you thinking about dialing 911, the fumes created during this mode are also potentially dangerous. 

In fact, according to the North Iowa Municipal Electric Cooperative Association, when food debris is charred during the self-cleaning cycle, it can create carbon monoxide, which is toxic to both humans and animals. 

While it’s entirely possible to open a window in order to reduce carbon monoxide levels, the most obvious way to avoid this danger is to never use the self-cleaning cycle on your oven. Use a little elbow grease and clean it yourself without the heat.

Fire Hazard  

While the self-cleaning mode can emit some unpleasant odors, it can also create smoke–enough to set off your fire alarms. However, sometimes there’s enough grease and or oil splatter in the oven to ignite an actual fire. 

If this happens, the best course of action is not to attempt to fight the fire yourself. This is because opening the oven door will allow oxygen to rush in, thus fueling the fire. Instead, you should immediately call 911 and evacuate the house.

To avoid this scary situation altogether, we advise just using a little elbow grease and cleaning the oven yourself–without the heat.

Oven Malfunction

In case kitchen fires and toxic fumes aren’t a sufficient reason to keep you from self-cleaning your oven, perhaps the potential costly repairs may do the trick. Extreme heat can put considerable strain on many of the oven’s major components and can lead to costly repairs.

For instance, an oven can become stuck in the locked position during the cleaning cycle, at which point service is necessary. It is also possible that high heat can damage the oven’s thermostat, causing errors in temperature readings. Further, intense heat from the self-cleaning mode has the potential to damage internal wiring.

While self-cleaning may appear to be a time-saving convenience, it may not be the best option in the long run. Although the high heat will help remove stubborn buildup, you’ll still have to clean up leftover ash and potentially risk your safety. Rather, be safe and regularly clean your oven with mild soap and water.  

Source: This post first appeared on

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