Self-cleaning ovens reduce food soiling to ash with exposure to temperature around 932 °F (500 °C). 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 600 °F (316 °C).
Self-cleaning ovens are considered more convenient and time saving, and 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 smoke alarm. According to most professionals, this can be avoided by regular usage of the self-cleaning program.
Catalytic "continuous clean" ovens rely on high-metal 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.
Another alternative to self cleaning ovens is steam cleaning ovens. It uses water with lower temperatures to clean the oven.
- "How do self-cleaning ovens work?". www.howstuffworks.com. Retrieved 2010-07-28.
- Kelly, John. "How Self-cleaning Ovens Work". HowStuffWorks. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
As a bonus, pyrolytic ovens save energy during normal baking because of the extra insulation that's added to contain the high heat.
- "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.