Pyrolytic Oven Cleaning: How Do Self-Cleaning Ovens Work?

Do you hate having to set time aside to clean your oven out? If so, you’re not alone — multiple studies have found that cleaning the oven is the most hated chore in UK households. And, it’s no wonder why: keeping your oven spick and span can mean spending a great deal of money on specialist cleaning products, and it can require a lot of time and elbow grease, too.

At a time when new technologies are constantly being developed in an effort to make your life easier, it was only going to be a matter of time before this issue was addressed. And, self-cleaning ovens are now a staple of many modern kitchens. But, how do they work and are they worth investing in? To help you decide whether your next oven should have a pyrolytic cleaning feature, we’re going to fill you in on everything you need to know. Read on to find out more.

What is a pyrolytic oven?

Pyrolytic ovens feature an automatic cleaning feature, which removes the need for tedious scrubbing and the use of detergents. They heat up to an incredibly high temperature, which burns off any spills and encrusted food that might be hanging around in your oven. The ash is then very easy to brush away, so your oven is as good as new. How does a self-cleaning oven work?

When you cook, spills and splashes happen, and food inevitably ends up being baked onto the inside of your oven. This is what makes cleaning the interior so difficult — detergents can only do so much, and you’ll usually have to put lots of time and elbow greasing into scrubbing your cooker’s cavities clean. That’s why pyrolytic ovens are becoming increasingly popular: they take a lot of the effort out of the process by burning everything inside the oven to a crisp, so it can be wiped away with ease.

However, it’s worth noting that these pyrolytic features will only clean the actual cavity of your oven, and you’ll still need to clean the door, shelves and exterior by hand. How hot does a self-cleaning oven get?

When the self-cleaning feature of a pyrolytic oven is activated, the cavity will get incredibly hot. The exact temperature can vary from model to model, but Stoves pyrolytic ovens will typically heat up to around 450°C. This means that absolutely nothing gets missed and, when you wipe the debris away, you can rest assured that your oven is as clean as can be.

It’s worth mentioning that, to keep you and your family safe while cleaning is in progress, pyrolytic overs have an automatic lock, which will only allow you to open the door once everything has cooled down to a safe temperature.

How long does a self-cleaning oven take?

Self-cleaning oven features will differ slightly from model to model, so you should always check your appliance’s instruction manual to get an accurate idea of how long each cleaning cycle will take. You can usually decide how intense you want the cleaning processes to be, depending on how dirty the inside of your oven is. When it comes to the pyrolytic ovens you’ll find here at Stoves, it will take 1 hours 30 minutes for a standard clean, and 2 hours for a more intensive programme.

Are pyrolytic ovens safe?

In short, yes, pyrolytic ovens and their self-cleaning features are safe to use. They come with a lock that prevents anyone from opening the door during the cleaning cycle, so you can rest assured that there won’t be any accidents.

Of course, with the debris in your oven being burnt to a crisp, smoke can be created, but this should be minimal. And, as long as your home is well-ventilated, this shouldn’t cause your family any problems. If you prefer, you can even reduce how much smoke is created by giving your oven a once-over with a damp cloth to remove any fresh spillages before you start the self-cleaning process.

How to clean a self-cleaning oven

When your oven’s pyrolytic feature has done its job, the door will unlock and you’ll find that there’s a layer of thin ash covering its interior. Here’s how you can remove this to get your oven looking spick and span:

  1. Wait for your oven to cool down once the self-cleaning cycle has finished.
  2. Fill a bucket with warm water, then soak and wring out a cotton rag. Use this to wipe away the ash and residue from the bottom and walls of your oven’s cavity. You should see the surfaces beginning to regain their shine.
  3. Rinse the residue off your rag in the bucket and refill it with clean water if the water becomes too dirty.
  4. Use a clean rag to dry the interior of your oven and, if you’re satisfied that all of the ash and residue is gone, leave the door open for a while so any leftover moisture can evaporate. Just make sure you don’t leave your oven unattended while the door is open.

Once you’ve completed this process, your oven should look as good as new.

Pyrolytic vs catalytic

Pyrolytic and catalytic ovens are both self-cleaning, but they work in slightly different ways. We’ve already explained how pyrolytic ovens work: when you activate their self-cleaning features, they heat up to around 450°C, so any leftover food is burnt to a fine ash, making it very easy to wipe away.

Catalytic ovens, on the other hand, are fitted with liners that are treated with special chemicals and materials that make them great at absorbing grease. Around once a month, you can use the self-cleaning programme, which will heat your oven up to 200°C or higher. This will burn off and soften any excess grease deposits, which you can then wipe away with soapy water. You’ll rarely need to remove these liners to clean them, but you do need to make sure you regularly heat your oven to high temperatures to keep them in good working order.

Although both types of oven will take a lot of the effort and expense out of the cleaning process, pyrolytic systems tend to be the most effective, as well as the easiest to use. However, pyrolytic cleaning programmes can take a few hours, compared to around 30 minutes for a catalytic oven. Here at Stoves, many of our built-in ovens come with a pyrolytic or catalytic self-cleaning system, giving you plenty of freedom to choose one that will suit your household best.

Do you dread cleaning your oven out by hand? If so, opting for a model that has a pyrolytic cleaning feature could be a fantastic solution. Having to spend hours scrubbing spillages away will become a thing of the past, and you’ll simply have to wipe a layer of thin ash off your oven’s interior surfaces every couple of months or so. So, you’ll save a great deal of time and energy that will be better spent elsewhere.