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How does a self-cleaning oven work?


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Ovens get dirty quickly – from roasts to casseroles to cakes and cookies, we use this kitchen staple a lot! There’s usually a whole load of sauce splatter or crumbs that get left behind. When grease and sugar turn crusty, it’s time to clean the oven. But scrubbing away on hands and knees can be cumbersome or involve toxic cleaning products. Luckily, self-cleaning ovens are becoming more common. So, what is a pyrolytic oven?

What is pyrolysis?

Pyrolysis is the process of breaking apart organic materials by applying very high heat of around 500°C. It basically turns things like food remnants into ash – that’s how high the applied temperatures are.

How does a pyrolysis oven work?

When you use your oven, the fat and sauce splatters can stick to the ceilings, walls, glass doors of it. They can be very difficult to get rid of once they’re dried on. A pyrolytic oven is the answer. These ovens heat up to around 500°C. This turns any remnants into ash and all you need to do is sweep out the ash remnants. It’s really that simple. The ovens are completely safe, and doors are designed so that they don’t become too hot during the process.

Pyrolytic self-cleaning ovens aren’t as common as traditional ones, but more and more people are getting them. 

Pyrolytic ovens are a lot more expensive with costs starting at around £500 for a cheaper, basic model. As more people buy them, they will become more affordable.

Catalytic oven – a different type of self-cleaning oven

So, there’s another type of self-cleaning oven. They’re called catalytic ovens. They come equipped with so-called catalytic liners on the insider. These are special liners that absorb grease and grime during the cooking process. But they don’t need a lot of heat to do so. Catalytic ovens work at much lower temperatures of 220°C to destroy food remnants. Once cooled down, the oven can be wiped with a damp cloth.

It can take just 15 minutes to clean your oven this way. Catalytic ovens are also a little cheaper. However, they don’t help with baked sugar remnants. Catalytic surfaces will need to be replaced after about five years.

Now you know how to clean your carpet at home, how about checking out our other articles such as, how to dry clothes, how to clean a slate floor or how to clean a washing machine.

Steam-cleaning ovens – for eco-friendly cleaning

For the more eco-conscious cooks, a steam-cleaning or hydrolysis oven may be the better option. These douse the inside of the oven in a steam bath through condensation. The grease and grime is loosened this way. Operating a steam-cleaning oven is as simple as pouring some water and liquid detergent on the floor of the oven and then starting the cleaning process.

Which one’s the best self-cleaning oven?

The type of self-cleaning oven you prefer depends on your needs. While a pyrolytic oven is the easiest and most efficient one to use, it also costs much more and needs more energy to be operated. Catalytic ovens are best if you don’t tend to bake as much because they don’t help clean up sugar crusts. Steam-cleaning types are perfect for the environmentally conscious cook because they waste less energy and are efficient. With catalytic and steam-cleaning ovens, you may still need to use your hands and do some extra scrubbing. 

We hope you found this article on self-cleaning ovens useful for more helpful tips check out our other articles such as how to clean a ceramic hob, how to preheat an oven or a guide to oven symbols.