Why You Should Never Use The 'Self-Clean' Button On Your Oven

If you're a fan of lasagnas, baked ziti, and anything that bubbles and oozes as it bakes, chances are that your oven is starting to look a little worse for wear. Although CookingLight recommends giving your appliance a deep clean every three to six months, look out for greasy residues, splattered stains, crumbs galore, or smokiness, as this stuck-on grime could wreak havoc on the quality of your favorite recipes. Cleaning your oven is the only solution, but you might want to think twice before pressing that 'self-clean' button.

Invented in the '60s, Designer Appliances explains that the self-cleaning oven was introduced as a solution to avoid manually cleaning the kitchen appliance. With a press of a button, either steam or high heat (reaching up to almost 900 F) can be used to loosen and burn away any leftover food deposits, notes Good Housekeeping. Seemingly convenient and stress-free, if this sounds too good to be true, it's because it is.

It's more problematic than it is helpful

The 'self-clean' button certainly sounds magical. However, it doesn't totally live up to its name. According to Food & Wine, when the oven door clamps down and the oven starts its multi-hour cycle, it works to incinerate every leftover crumb, resulting in outrageously vile fumes, but also a mountain of ash — ash that you will then have to clean. What did we tell you? The promise of a self-cleaning oven is just an illusion.

In addition to being tasked with clean-up, Bob Vila reports that as caked-on residue chars, both steam and high-heat self-cleaning ovens can diffuse unpleasant and even dangerous fumes like carbon monoxide. The extreme buildup of heat can also cause the heating element to burn out, meaning you might need to call in a handyman once the cycle is over.

If pressing the 'self-clean' button is starting to sound less than appealing, stick to manual labor. While it might sound overwhelming at first, the process is actually fairly simple and might even take less time and effort in the end. GE Appliances recommends wiping down the sides and racks using a sponge (or steel wool pad for tough grime) and soapy solution, before wiping down everything with a damp cloth. In fact, chemical-free remedies for cleaning your oven can often be just as effective.