Is Your Self Cleaning Oven Dangerous? (2022)

that If you are an avid chef that is frequently using your stove each and every day, the dirt, grime, and odors that can develop in this appliance will require immediate attention. Over the years, stoves were cleaned using commercial grade cleaners that contain an amalgam of chemicals that work to remove the ash, grime, and dirt from the surfaces of the stove – this will produce a strong-chemical odor into the air of the home following the use of these intense chemical cleaners. However, in recent years stoves are coming fully-equipped with self-cleaning modes that can easily be initiated with the click of a button. These self-cleaners work to thoroughly clean the inside of the stove using high temperatures to accomplish this extensive cleaning.

When you use the self-cleaning mode on your oven this cleaning process will result in dangerous fumes and toxins that may become emitted into the air of the home and lead to compromised air quality that can lead to health issues.

In this article we are going to discuss the potential dangers of self-cleaning ovens and what you can do to protect your indoor air quality and health from these toxic oven fumes.

What is a Self-Cleaning Oven?

A self-cleaning oven uses high temperatures to burn off leftovers from baking without having to use any toxic chemical cleaning agents. This cleaning process reduces foodstuffs to ash with exposure to temperature around 932 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the self-cleaning oven is started, the oven will lock until the high temperature process is completed – once the temperature is brought down to cooler temperatures around 600 degrees Fahrenheit the door can be re-opened. The convenient, time-saving, and cost-effective aspects of self-cleaning ovens contributes to its significant appeal to consumers.


There are two different types of self-cleaning ovens that can be used and found in homes: traditional high temperature and steam self-cleaning ovens. These different self-cleaning ovens work in completely different mechanisms and thus it is important to know these key differences and identify which type of oven you have before you use it in your home.

  • Is Your Self Cleaning Oven Dangerous? (1)High Temperature Self-Cleaning Oven: As we discussed above, a high temperate self-cleaning oven uses high temperatures to burn off food residuals and ash from the bottom of the oven. The temperatures that these self-cleaning processes can get to during their cleaning can range from 900 to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Typically, this type of self-cleaning process on your oven will last from 2 to 4.5 hours – depending on the amount of soil found within the stove prior to the initiation of this cleaning.
  • Steam Clean Self-Cleaning Oven: Many ranges will offer a steam clean option that will aid in the cleaning process of your oven. This process will allow you to clean the oven in less time and reduce the smells produced into the air from this oven cleaning (like high temperature self-cleaners). Steam cleaning was designed to clean the range more frequently with less debris inside the oven. This cleaning process requires water that is added to the bottom of the range, producing steam within the oven to aid in the removal of debris from inside this appliance. Typically, this steam cleaning process takes between 20 to 40 minutes to complete in your oven.

How Does a Self-Cleaning Oven Work

Self-cleaning ovens, also known as pyrolytic cleaning occur in ovens that have a smooth enamel coating on the interior walls that make it easier to get rid of dirt after its reduced to ash by the high temperatures used during this pyrolytic cleaning. The high temperatures that are achieved during this cleaning process help to diminish the baked-on crust and grease to a powder that is easily removed after the conclusion of this self-cleaning process. During the oven’s self-cleaning, smoke and fumes may be produced into the air and enter into the home, which led to the use of catalytic converters in these self-cleaning ovens to help eliminate those emissions from the air space of the indoor environment. The production of fumes from self-cleaning ovens is not the only issue that you face using this appliance setting, there are other major issues that can occur when the proper maintenance and procedures are not followed before using this setting function on your oven.

Before you use your self-cleaning oven, there are a few pieces of information and tips that should be followed to ensure that you are effectively cleaning the oven without producing altered issues into the environment. These self-cleaning oven tips include the following:

  • Remove any pans and foils that are located inside the oven before you begin the self-cleaning. It is recommended to remove the racks and wash them separately.
  • Perform a quick clean of the oven prior to starting the self-cleaning. Clean up as much of the baked-on food and grease that is found in the oven to help reduce the fumes that are emitted during your oven’s clean cycle.
  • If your oven does not have a self-lock that initiates upon the start of the self-cleaning, be sure to manually lock the oven door to prevent anyone for opening the door during the cleaning cycle.

How Often Should You Clean Your Oven

Is Your Self Cleaning Oven Dangerous? (2)The frequency in which you should clean your oven is dependent on the overall usage of the oven. The more and more that you use your oven the larger the accumulation of grime and debris will be collected on the surfaces within the appliance. Baked-on soils that buildup in the oven can make odors spread onto other foods that are being cooked within the oven and will also result in excessive smoke produced in the range during the use of the oven.

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Ovens can be kept clean through routine cleanings that should be done after a noticeable accumulation of grime has developed within the oven that can be cleaned with a rag to wipe up the debris. This type of upkeep should be conducted every month to maintain top efficiency of the oven. When it comes to how often to perform self-cleaning settings on your oven, this will depend on the type of oven you have and how quickly your oven gets dirty – this could be monthly, bi-annually, or annually.

Is Self-Cleaning Oven Safe?

Although having the option on your oven to perform a self-cleaning is a convenience for many homeowners, it is also a potentially hazardous endeavor to both your indoor air quality and to the health of the occupants within the home. The simple act of starting the self-cleaning mode on your oven it can result in a buildup of carbon monoxide in the air that will exacerbate asthma or respiratory disease, adversely impact household animals’ safety, and can even lead to issues with the control panel in the home.

Self Cleaning Oven Fumes

Self-cleaning ovens like high temperature and steam cleaning self-cleaners will produce and emit dangerous fumes into the air that can contain an unpleasant burning odor and traces of harmful by-products like carbon monoxide into the air. High temperature self-cleaning ovens tend to produce larger volumes of noxious fumes into the air because of the elevated temperatures that will be produced from food particles and the enamel lining that coats the inside of the oven. As these fumes circulate within the indoor air it will significantly impact occupants of the home, both human and pets.

When the self-cleaning oven is underway inside of your home, it is recommended to avoid this area in your home during this time, especially those who suffer from asthma or any type of respiratory disease. It has been found that running your oven on self-cleaning mode creates the potential for carbon monoxide to be produced and emitted into the air, which can lead to a number of health issues, particularly for those individuals who suffer from asthma and respiratory problems. The fumes released into the air from the oven can produce symptoms upon exposure that can include trouble breathing, coughing, chills sweating, and other flu-like symptoms.

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Pets will also experience an adverse impact to these hazardous fumes produced from the self-cleaning mode of your oven – and if you have a bird in your home these fumes are toxic. A bird’s respiratory system is constructed to send a vast amount of oxygen to their flight muscles, and their efficient respiratory systems quickly take in the toxins in the air and send them straight through their bodies which is quite dangerous. If you have to clean your oven, it is important to take all pets out of the home and take them outside during the cleaning process.

Detecting Carbon Monoxide Levels in Indoor Air

It has been found that many self-cleaning ovens produce and release carbon monoxide emissions into the air of a home. This pollutant will significantly impact indoor air quality and impact the health of those breathing in this pollutant in high levels. The baked-on, charred food found within the oven before conducting the self-cleaning are the main culprits behind the creation of carbon monoxide, as the high temperatures take over it will burn these items in the oven and produce this emission into the air.

Is Your Self Cleaning Oven Dangerous? (3)Carbon monoxide is a difficult-to-detect gas that is extremely hazardous to all occupants of a home, and thus the monitoring of this gas in the home is significantly important. Many households may have carbon monoxide alarms in the home that will initiate when dangerous levels are found in the air of the home, however, these alarms do not give you the ability to track the exact levels in your home, as they only indicate when they are approaching unsafe levels. With the help of a smart indoor air quality monitor, like the Airthing Wave Plus you can have immediate access to track the levels of pollutants found in your home such as carbon monoxide.

The Airthings Wave Plus is a connected indoor air quality monitor that keeps track of the air around you, measuring radon levels, temperature, air pressure, humidity, TVOCs, and CO2 levels. The LEDs on the Foobot offer a quick snapshot of your current air quality using a smartphone app that give you details for each pollutant in the air for a given space.

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How to Remove Toxic Self-Cleaning Oven Smell from the Air

After you have used the self-cleaning mode on your oven, there will be a very distinctive odor hanging in the air, one that is recognized as burnt smell. Nothing is worse the having your home smell completely like burnt food, and the odors will sink into every nook and cranny of the home it will feel like – with no area safe from the odors. The self-cleaning oven smell will linger in the air for some time and will sometimes require the use of an efficient air purifier to help combat and remove these noxious burnt odors from the air thoroughly.

The EnviroKlenz Air Purifier is a top-of-the-line air purifier for noxious odor removal. EnviroKlenz accomplished this noxious odor removal by using a patented earth mineral technology that works through adsorptive neutralization to completely break down and/or eliminate the odorous compounds on the filter media of the technology in the air purifier. This technology is housed in the EnviroKlenz Air Cartridge, which acts as the first stage filtration in the EnviroKlenz Air Purifier to remove noxious chemical and odorous compounds from the indoor air. The second stage filtration is a hospital-grade HEPA filter that effectively works to capture particulate matter larger than 0.3 microns in size at a 99.99 percent efficiency. These two stages of filtration work together to combat air pollutants traveling in the indoor air and work to maintain and improve indoor air quality in the home safely.

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Can you get carbon monoxide poisoning from a self cleaning oven? ›

If you have young children or pets, you need to ensure they stay away from the oven while it's running through a self-cleaning cycle. The main risks for them are touching the oven and getting a burn and breathing in dangerous substances, like carbon monoxide.

Can you be inside while your oven self cleans? ›

Absolutely yes! Though there might be some stinky fumes from the grime essentially being smoked out, it is completely safe to be in the house when the oven is self-cleaning. The only exception would be if there was a major malfunction with your oven, or if there was no ventilation whatsoever.

How do you get rid of self-cleaning oven fumes? ›

Simply, open a box of baking soda and place it on the oven racks. Leave the package there for overnight or longer if necessary. The baking soda will absorb the bad smell.

Can oven self-clean start a fire? ›

Fire Hazard

Last, but certainly not least, the self-cleaning feature can present a fire hazard. Even if you've removed all the larger food particles, you'll likely have grease or cooking oil splatters and spills to burn off.

Is it safe to run a self-cleaning oven at night? ›

Oven Fumes

Self-cleaning ovens can produce and emit dangerous fumes into the air with an unpleasant burning smell. Self-cleaning ovens reach high temperatures and produce fumes from the burning of food particles and enamel lining. These fumes circulate within the indoor air and can affect the home occupants.

Can you run self-cleaning oven overnight? ›

“And make sure not to leave anything on top of the stove—it can get really hot.” The oven door will lock itself for the entirety of the cycle, which takes about 3 to 5 hours, depending upon the model. Keep that in mind—if you start the self-clean cycle later in the day, it might be a good night to order a pizza.

How long does an oven self-clean take? ›

How long does a self-clean oven take? The self-clean cycle can take anywhere from 1 1/2 to 6 hours, depending on the brand and the setting. On some ovens, you'll be offered a choice of run times.

Will cracking a window help with carbon monoxide? ›

Opening a window will slow carbon monoxide poisoning, but it likely won't stop it. There simply isn't enough airflow through most windows to get rid of the poisonous gas, and it could take between four and eight hours for the CO to dissipate entirely.

How long does it take for carbon monoxide to leave your body? ›

Carbon monoxide gas leaves the body the same way it got in, through the lungs. In fresh air, it takes four to six hours for a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning to exhale about half of the inhaled carbon monoxide in their blood.

Are self-cleaning oven fumes safe for babies? ›

When exposed to 600 degrees Fahrenheit – or higher – during the oven cleaning, well, the off-gassing is very toxic to humans, especially babies, young children and pregnant women. The fumes can also cause flu-like symptoms, sweating, coughing and trigger asthma.

How long should you Self-Clean oven? ›

Four-to-five hours is normal, considering that the self-cleaning oven temperature reaches about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit before it starts to incinerate the food particles inside. It's suggested that a manual wiping is best before setting the self-cleaning module to prevent food odors from traveling.


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