Self-cleaning ovens have a pyrolytic ground coat, which reduces foodstuffs to ash with exposure to temperature around 500 °C (932 °F). The oven walls are coated with heat- and acid-resistant porcelain enamel.
A self-cleaning oven is designed to stay locked until the high temperature process is completed. A mechanical interlock is used to keep the oven door locked and closed during and immediately after the high-temperature cleaning cycle, which lasts approximately three hours, to prevent possible burn injuries. Usually, the door can be opened after the temperature cools to approximately 300 °C (572 °F).
Self-cleaning ovens are considered more convenient and time saving therefore more cost effective. However, because of the high temperatures of burning, they produce smoke and odors. In some cases, this may set off a fire alarm. According to most professionals, this can be avoided by regular usage of the self-cleaning program.
Two alternative types of self-cleaning oven are available:
- Non-self-cleaning ground coat
- Catalytic continuous clean enamels
The former requires aggressive cleaners to remove soils. The latter relies on high-metals, porous enamels to catalyze the reduction of soils to ash at normal cooking temperatures. The walls of catalytic self-cleaning ovens are coated with materials acting as oxidation catalysts, usually in the form of catalyst particles in a binder matrix. Cerium(IV) oxide is one of the common materials used. Other possibilities are copper, vanadium, bismuth, molybdenum, manganese, iron, nickel, tin, niobium, chromium, tungsten, rhenium, platinum, cobalt, and their oxides, either alone or in mixtures. Highly active coatings typically contain a copper oxide, manganese oxide or cobalt oxide, and copper and manganese oxides are often used together. The binder may be a fluoropolymer or an enamel frit. In the 1990s, SRI International performed a study for Whirlpool Corporation, and changed the composition and application of the porcelain enamel surface found in ovens to one with low ionic content, and a film that makes fat into water-soluble esters.
- "Patent #US20120034472: Enamel coating, coated article and method of coating an article". www.freepatentsonline.com.
- "How do self-cleaning ovens work?". www.howstuffworks.com. Retrieved 2010-07-28.
- "Pros & Cons of Self-Cleaning Ovens". homeguides.sfgate.com. Retrieved 2016-03-01.
- "Patent #3988514: Catalytic Material". www.freepatentsonline.com. Retrieved 2010-07-28.
- Nielson, Donald (2006). A Heritage of Innovation: SRI's First Half Century. Menlo Park, California: SRI International. p. 11-1. ISBN 978-0974520810.