Self Cleaning Oven Fire—Is This Okay?

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Your oven is full of grime and gunk after months of heavy use. Thank heavens it has a self-clean feature! But you notice that there's a small fire inside your oven and of course, you panicked! That's why you're here, checking to see if this is okay, right? We asked the experts about this, and here's their answer.

If large food pieces and/or grease residue remain in the oven prior to self-cleaning, the procedure can cause an oven fire. Food or grease bursting into flame during oven self-cleaning is normal. You shouldn't open the oven door when this happens. The flames will eventually die down due to the absence of air.

Keep on reading to know more about why you see flames inside your self-cleaning oven and what you should do about it. We'll also talk about the disadvantages of using this feature. This article will answer if you could put water on an oven fire. We'll also teach you how to clean your oven thoroughly so you can get rid of the burnt smell. Let's get started!

Using yellow protective glove for cleaning oven, Self Cleaning Oven Fire - Is This Okay?

Is it normal to see flames inside my self-cleaning oven?

Your oven's self-cleaning feature is very convenient. You won't have to manually deep clean the oven. It would be such a tedious task considering all the food residue, grease, and grime that have accumulated due to this appliance's constant use.

The location of your oven only makes cleaning difficult as you have to be in an awkward position. Aside from the effort that you have to exert, you also have to expose yourself to the smell of accumulated food debris and the cleansers that you use.

With the self-clean feature, you can do the cleaning with just a click of a button. This process works by heating your oven to a very high temperature, about 900 to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, to turn all that dirt into ashes.

steam cleaning oven house cleaning

All you have to do is wipe off the ashes from the oven cavity once it has cooled down and your oven is all clean and ready for use again. However, experts warn homemakers regarding the use of their oven's self-clean feature. It has certain disadvantages in spite of the conveniences that it brings.

Your oven can catch fire during the process because of the extremely high temperature. The grease and large food residue in the oven can cause too much smoke and may even spark and start small fires inside your oven.

This can happen when you don't remove as much food residue and oil as you can before starting the self-clean procedure. That's why it's recommended to still scrape off the large chunks of these residues prior to using this feature.

We know it kind of defeats the self-cleaning feature, but it's the only way for you to prevent oven fires and too much smoke while the procedure takes place.

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When you notice that there's a fire in your oven while it is self-cleaning, do not interrupt the process. Your oven is on automatic lock so don't unlock it. It is important that its door is properly sealed so that no air coming from the outside can enter and fuel the fire. The flames will die down on their own due to a lack of oxygen.

It is only when the self-cleaning process is over, the oven has cooled down properly, and it has deactivated the lock feature that it is finally safe to open your oven.

Can you put water on an oven fire?

Fire Coming Out From Oven In Kitchen

We've been so used to the notion of using water to put out the fire. That's why it is understandable if you would think this way. However, it is not recommended to put water on an oven fire.

In the first place, you shouldn't open your oven even when you see flames inside. This is quite normal and expected, especially when huge chunks of food and grease residue are subjected to extreme heat.

Opening the oven door, you would only make the fire worse. Air would enter the oven and fuel the fire. This is why your oven is automatically locked upon the start of the cleaning process.

It needs to be sealed tightly to prevent air from getting in. The lack of air will also be the reason why the fire will die on its own. There's no need to add water anymore. Just wait for the cycle to finish and get ready to clean a buildup of ash after.

Is it dangerous to use self cleaning oven?

The inside of an oven

As mentioned earlier, the use of your oven's self-clean function comes with certain drawbacks. It is best to be aware of its disadvantages so that you can use this feature with caution.

Smoke and Foul Odors

This is expected since you're using very high temperatures to reduce all the gunk into ashes. When there are large chunks of food residue, it'll be even worse. This also happens when dealing with lots of sugary drippings since they get burnt easily.

It could come to a point when your smoke alarms would be triggered. The smoke and fumes could also irritate your eyes and lungs, especially if there's no proper ventilation in the room. Those with asthmatic conditions and pets are advised to leave the room or house while the cleaning process is underway.

Not self-cleaning all the way

Before you start the self-cleaning process, it is recommended that you scrape off large food residues and remove excess oil at the bottom of your oven. This is key in preventing oven fires from happening.

After the oven cleans itself, you have to sweep the ashes off from the oven's base.

You also have to remove the oven racks prior to the procedure so that they won't be damaged. This means that you have to clean them manually. It could be quite a challenge since the racks can get pretty dirty, too.

You also need to clean the oven's door (interior and exterior side), as well as its frame, edges, and seal. So, you can't escape the cleaning part entirely.

Oven parts can get damaged

Since everything inside the oven is subjected to very high temperatures, the internal components are prone to extreme wear and tear. They can weaken over time. This could damage certain parts such as your oven's heating elements and control panel.

Fire Hazard

It could be quite dangerous to use your oven's self-cleaning function. It is considered a fire hazard which is why you cannot leave the house while this process is underway. It might take 2 to 5 hours, depending on the condition of your oven. You should supervise it to ensure that no one will touch the unit as they could get serious burns if they do so.

These are just some of the risks involved when using your oven's self-clean function. Do take the necessary precautions to avoid adverse effects.

How do I get the burnt smell out of my oven?

Open oven an the aroma of the baked food in the food flows to the air

When your oven smells like burnt food each time you use it, there's no other way to remove the burnt smell but to clean your oven. If you don't want to use the self-clean feature, you can do the cleaning manually.

Here's how.

  1. Make sure the oven is completely cool before you attempt to clean it.
  2. Open the oven door and make sure there is proper ventilation in your kitchen area. Open as many windows as possible and turn on the exhaust fan or your ceiling fan.
  3. Turn off your HVAC system in the meantime so that the burnt smell won't reach other parts of your home.
  4. Remove the oven racks and soak them in hot water. Once the food residue has softened, you can scrub off the remaining dirt and grease using a soft-bristled brush. You can also make a paste by combining baking soda with a little water and use this on the rack's surface.
  5. Rinse off and allow to dry completely.
  6. Use a food scraper to remove as much of the food residue on the oven floor as possible.
  7. Use a paper towel to absorb the grease.
  8. For stubborn dirt, put some water on the area to help soften it. You can also use baking soda paste on these burnt areas.
  9. Continue scrubbing until you get rid of the food debris.
  10. Wipe everything off using a damp paper towel.
  11. Clean the interior and exterior sides of your oven door. Spray an all-purpose cleaner on the surface.
  12. Use a soft cloth to spread the cleaner, moving in a circular motion.
  13. Make sure you clean the edges of your door as well.
  14. Use another clean cloth to polish the surface.
  15. Let it dry completely.

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There you have it! You now have a completely clean oven. You can expect that there's no more burnt smell of food whenever you're cooking.

Final Thoughts

Using yellow protective glove for cleaning oven

While it is quite normal to see small flames in your oven while it is self-cleaning, it is still best to remove as much of the dirt and grime as you can before the procedure to prevent this from happening.

To read more on related posts, feel free to visit the following links:

Why Is My Toaster Oven Smoking?

Why Is My Dutch Oven Burning On The Bottom?

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