By Rik Hellewell on 10th July 2020 (updated: 21st March 2022) in Oven Cleaning Tips

Here’s the facts

Seems like it doesn’t matter where we are in the world…the concept of ‘self-cleaning’ ovens exists…and so do the problems…

Please take a couple of minutes to study the facts. This information has taken 12 years to gather but will only take a few minutes to read.

What you are about to read may save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars so please read on…

We at Ovenu have heard the same thing time and time again…so we’ve prepared the facts for you to look over for yourselves…we hope you’ll find the information useful.

So what exactly is a ‘self-cleaning’ oven ?

Manufacturers would have us believe that ovens can clean themselves. To a minor degree this is actually correct. To the main part however this ‘self cleaning oven’ statement is somewhat exaggerated…(in our considered opinion).

We work closely with many manufacturers of quality cooking appliances and offer this advice directly to you, the consumer, to help preserve the appliance you have purchased or are looking at purchasing in the future.

Here’s an interesting question for you to get the ball rolling…

If there was a material that ‘cleaned itself’…why don’t they make cars from it ?

No more ‘car washes’ or weekends spent with a bucket and sponge. In the UK we can’t even use water to rinse the car…..we have to wait until it rains !!

Please let us explain how, why and what this is all about…

Oven interiors are made from metal. They have to be to withstand and absorb heat. The metal is then coated with enamel. Bit like our teeth. A coating that will withstand heat and cold!

There are, however, different grades of enamel. Some enamel can stand low temperatures and some can withstand much higher temperatures. For an enamel to withstand up to 500 degrees centigrade, to be ‘self cleaning’, something has to be added.

This additive is glass. This then makes vitreous enamel…very heat resistant as it is applied to an oven interior at over 1200 degrees Celsius. (In some cases this coating can also be known as porcelain). This material is actually the same as a domestic toilet coating. (The only difference being that a toilet enamel is applied to clay rather than metal).

So the theory is that vitreous enamel can be heated in an oven to a high temperature and that all the debris attached to the metal will just fall off into a heap. The heap can then be brushed away and the oven will look superb. (Same theory in a toilet but in reverse…cold water applied etc, etc…)

Theory fine…practically flawed!

To be anywhere near effective, the ‘self-cleaning’ oven cycle has to be applied weekly as the effect is limited at best.

(Let’s face it here folks, the same theory is being applied to a toilet that is ‘washed’ after every use …and brushed to save a build up !!)

Nearly all ‘self-cleaning’ oven manufacturers recommend this time frame. This means running the oven for 3-4 hours, full on, and with the door locked… least once a week. This process will use lots of electricity and render the appliance useless during the process. There’s also the probability that the kitchen will be filled with smoke and that your eyes may feel uncomfortable with the fumes.

There is also some US research that suggests that burning carbonated debris may cause a cancer related reaction.

No wonder you guys don’t bother going through this ritual too often!

And here’s the good bit as far as we at Ovenu are concerned!

The debris may well be burned off the enamel…(assuming you’ve done what the nice manufacturer told you to do every week)…but what about the other areas that are left…the chrome shelves, the door glasses, behind the fan cover etc.

All still filthy !!…and a potential fire hazard.

That’s where you need a professional oven detailing service…We’ll safely finish off what the ‘self-cleaning’ oven cycle has started.

Now there’s a chance that the folk in the UK and Europe are going to be telling us…..”Hang on Mr Ovenu, we have ‘self-cleaning’ oven liners and won’t need your service”.

So the nice guy in the shop may have told you to purchase a ‘self-cleaning’ oven or ‘self-cleaning’ oven liners…. but let’s have a look at what’s actually going on here!

‘Self-cleaning’ oven liners are made from a similar coating that was made initially to cover the nose cone of the space shuttle. It is known as ‘pyrolytic’ and will withstand very high temperatures. We at Ovenu acknowledge this fact… some oven interiors are made/coated with the same material… the problem, that is also a fact, is that this material doesn’t even start to think about working until it reaches 350 degrees Celsius.

Most ovens only reach 275 degrees so the simple fact is that these liners just don’t work. Your ‘self-cleaning’ oven liner simply traps grease and fat behind it. This grease and fat becomes carbon and , in due course, is difficult to remove. And because you can’t see this debris, you assume you’re oven is clean and safe.

“No problem”…(so we’ve been told !)…“I’ll buy some oven cleaner and do the job myself”…

…A reaction we’ve heard thousands of times over the years. Rightly so on the issue of cost…(let’s face it, a can of potentially harmful caustic aerosol is only just more expensive than a pint of beer)…but when the facts are explained, probably suggests that over 100,000 of our clients every year throughout the UK and beyond can’t be wrong.

Please take a couple of moments to consider the Do-It-Yourself route…or using the services of an ‘oven cleaning professional’…

Should you purchase a well-known brand of ‘oven cleaner’ in an aerosol, it may contain caustic soda…sodium hydroxide.

Some ‘professional’ oven cleaning companies will offer to clean your oven for you using products that contain sodium hydroxide (caustic soda). They’ll turn up and do what you could do yourself in an hour or so and charge you $80 plus for a ‘wipe round’.

They might even turn up wearing jeans and a T-Shirt, warm up your oven and slop over some paste that you can buy at your local hardware store…heat up a ‘billy-can’ in your back yard for your children to trip over and call themselves ‘experts’…what we’d probably call a ‘cowboy’ in the real world!


These people and their products could damage ‘self-cleaning’ oven surfaces….and you and your family ! Your oven might not even work after your cheque has cleared!

Caustic soda will also damage chrome ( your oven racks), polished surfaces (door glasses), rubber (door seals), heating elements and the outer trim of your oven.

So why bother with potentially lethal products that are commercially available to wreck your investment in a quality cooking appliance?

You can also say ‘goodbye’ to any and all decals on the facia of your oven by using caustic soda based products !!

Please read the warnings on the can you’ve bought before you attempt to clean your own oven. Sorry if we’ve frightened you into having a re-think…

Don’t worry….we’re here to help.

So why call OVENU ?…Easy…

  • Our technicians are trained to the highest standards to help you and your oven.
  • ‘We clean the unseen’ and we’ll leave your oven sparkling and safe to use.
  • We only use ‘Ovenu’ products that are guaranteed to be totally ‘caustic-soda’ free.

How do we know this? Because we own the Ovenu brand product formulations. Nobody else can claim to be using ‘Ovenu’ product. Only Ovenu technicians will be using the ‘real thing’…don’t accept imitations…unless it says ‘Ovenu’ on the package…it isn’t the genuine article…(and may contain caustic that will damage your oven).

You’ll probably buy ‘branded’ products every day because they are to be trusted…Tetley Tea, Nescafe coffee, Andrex, Shell or BP petrol….Ovenu is the same…a tried, tested and trusted brand…

We know how to treat you and your ‘self cleaning oven / cooker safely. The same applies to your Range, Aga, Cook tops, Hoods and Microwaves. So the simple question has to be asked….why risk it?

Why risk your health?…or your trusty oven ?… Just for the sake of a few dollars?

It’s fair to say that ‘we don’t do cheap’…but it’s equally fair to say that, with Ovenu, we ‘do, do good’ !

Let’s face it…as in life generally; you do get what you pay for.

Thank-you for taking the time to read all about ‘self cleaning’ ovens and we look forward to seeing you soon.