Self-Cleaning Oven Issues...Help!!

Animal112081October 10, 2013

So I am house/pet-sitting for my brother and sister-in-law for the next two weeks while they are out of town. They mentioned to me that the inside of their oven needed to be cleaned because they were cooking something the other day and the bottom heating coil caught fire from whatever residue was on it. They didn't have time to clean it for me before they left but they did buy me some fume-free oven cleaner.

I am a novice at cleaning ovens but I followed the instructions on the container, removed the racks, and sprayed the inside of the oven. I left it overnight to do it's thing and returned in the morning to wipe everything out. When I wiped it out the next morning, everything came out pretty easily except of course the residue on the lower heating element that was said to have caught fire. I scrubbed, but it still wouldn't come off (even after another application of the oven cleaner). So now of course I am worried it will catch fire again if I try to cook with it.

This is a self-cleaning oven (Electric Frigidaire Gallery Series) but I initially decided to use the oven cleaner because I assumed the self-cleaning feature would catch the oven on fire like what happened before. After being unsuccessful with the oven cleaner, I researched online and it said that even if the self-cleaning feature caused flames initially, that this was normal and to simply expect a little more smoke than usual. I also noticed that it said NOT to use oven cleaner.

Now that I have I am afraid that if I use the self-cleaning feature, any residue from the oven cleaner I used might cause a more serious fire hazard and fumes might be overwhelming. I have two large dogs and a cat I am taking care of and I of course don't want to endanger them, myself, or my brother's house while simply trying to clean the oven. However, I also don't particularly want to live off of microwave food and take-out for the next two weeks either. What should I do? Is it safe to still use the self-cleaning feature despite having used the oven cleaner already? Thanks for your help!!

Worried in South Florida

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I have had self cleaning ovens and ovens that clean when you push the button. First rule is never use cleaners because they will ruin it.

I agree about the fire hazard and I would just leave it for them.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 9:52AM
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Animal, some of the newer oven cleaners are said to be safe for self cleaning oven surfaces and won't damage them. I haven't tried them myself but my SIL uses them in hers in between running the self cleaning cycle without any ill effects. (to her oven or herself)

So, what does the product say on its label. You said 'Fume Free' - Fume Free Easy Off is one that is said to be safe if that's what you had.

I think if it were mine, I'd wipe it out with warm wet cloths to pick up any of the cleaner residue. Run the cleaning cycle since they've asked you to do that and be prepared for some smoke the first several minutes. Put the pets in another area, open windows and ventilate either with the cooking area fan or a manual fan in the room. If there were birds in the home my answer would be different, but I don't think dogs/cats temporarily away from the kitchen they would have any problems. Or you either :)

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 10:53AM
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If I were you, I wouldn't pursue cleaning the oven any more on my own. I also wouldn't use it for cooking while I'm alone in the house. Explain to the homeowners you tried your best, you used the product they bought but that one area is still dirty. You are not a professional licensed cleaning person, are you? You were simply housesitting. Wouldn't you feel awful if you started a kitchen fire by using the self-clean cycle? I had a bad experience with my Amana self cleaning gas oven. A cotton potholder near the stove caught fire on me. Luckily I was right there and tossed it in a sink full of dishwater.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 8:35AM
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I use a self=cleaning feature on my oven regularly. Many times the interior is covered with a lot of spatters from fat when I roast chickens. I also use Easy-Off fume free oven cleaner to wipe off as much grease as I can before I start. I am especially carful to scrub off any burnt sugars like when a pie overflows as much as I can. I have had a lot of smoke (kitchen smoke alarm goes crazy). Just open doors and windows and run the fans to get rid of it as fast as possible. The only fire hazard I can think of is from an installation that doesn't meet code or the instructions that came with the oven. Can you contact the owners and ask them? find out why they didn't tell you to use the self-clean. Some ovens have been reported to lose their electronic controls from the heat too.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 11:02AM
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I advise not using the self cleaning feature on the oven.

The third time I used the self cleaning on my oven it blew out the control panel due to the excess heat.

Let the owners blow out their control panel, not you.

I now have a new oven and do not plan on using the self cleaning feature, ovens are too expensive to replace.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 12:34PM
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I have had 3 self cleaning stoves and none blew out. Yours may have been faulty and not insulated properly.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 3:23PM
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Is this Kitchen Aid? Don't use the self clean. I know 6 people who have them and when U self clean, the electronic panel fries out. Some R free standing and some R built ins with a Micro above. I have had more KFC @ holiday dinners, due 2 the fact that the ovens never reached over, 250.

Click in the appliance forum, and search 4 Kitchen Aid oven problems and there hundreds of posts. I have a friend that has a KA built in and a GE Profile gas, freestanding range and they both fry out when ever they use the cycle.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 6:33AM
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