How often should you clean your oven?
Self-cleaning features can be easy to use.
VANCOUVER -- When was the last time you cleaned your oven? Many of us simply don’t. But it’s been months since the holidays - and even the holidays before that -- and built up grime in your oven can smoke and smell when you use it.
The smell can even transfer to food you’re making, and the smoke could set off the fire alarm. If you don’t want to get on your hands and knees and scrub, try taking advantage of your oven’s self-cleaning feature.
But even when they’re able to self-clean, not all ovens are created equal. Tara Casaregola, an expert with Consumer Reports, put ranges to the test to see which would end up the cleanest. She made a tough-to-clean mix of eggs, grated cheese, cherry pie filling, lard, tomato puree and tapioca. She then painted it all over the inside of a few different ovens and baked it for an hour at 425 degrees.
“We actually call this Monster Mash,” she said. “And we make this test as tough as possible so that the really good cleaning ovens stand out.”
Casaregola’s tests found high-temperature self-clean cycles were the most effective at getting the mixture off. They lock the oven and crank the heat to 800 degrees or higher, turning the applied mixture to an ash that is easily wiped out after the oven cleans down.
“We found that the lowest-scoring ranges use a different, shorter, self-clean process that uses low temperatures. Our testers were able to wipe the residue from the floor of the ovens, but not from the sides,” she said.
If you’re using the self-clean feature, make sure to turn on the vent hood and crack your windows to clear smells from the room. Remove the racks - they can lose their finish and ability glide in and out of the oven. Then start the cycle. And make sure you plan ahead. The process can take between two and six hours to complete. Consumer Reports says you should clean your oven whenever you notice it’s dirty.