Steam Cleaning Oven vs Self-Cleaning Oven

Bryan Katiewick
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Best All-Purpose Steam Cleaners

Buying new kitchen equipment is a tedious process even for seasoned home cooks. Deciding between hardwood and stainless steel, automatic or manual, gas or electric is just the first step. You can easily get overwhelmed with information overload from salespeople more interested in selling you an oven than giving you the best information possible.

To make the process more relaxed, I did the heavy lifting and research for you. My enthusiastic kitchen is now the proud owner of a brand new, self-cleaning oven. Needless to say, I was very excited to try it out, so I thought about how I might convince you to join me in this process.

If you have a small kitchen, a self-cleaning oven is probably not for you. Model selection is what really matters when it comes to cleaning ovens. If you want to get a brand new oven, look for non-condensation models. They will allow you to clean the oven yourself, with the push of a button. In this case, the best overall steam cleaning oven is the Eureka Easy Clean II, Model F2094A.

If you already have an oven you love, and don’t want to buy a new one, you could consider having it professionally cleaned, possibly every six months or so, depending on use. To clean your self-cleaning oven, you turn it on, as you would normally and use the self-cleaning menu.

Traditional and steam-based self-cleaning

Both traditional and steam-based self-cleaning ovens clean the oven, but a traditional oven uses a mixture of water and chemicals to self-clean while a steam based self-cleaning ovens uses steam to provide the cleaning action.

The great thing about steam-based self-cleaning ovens is that they can save you money, time, and energy. Water and chemicals are used to clean a traditional oven and the power and gas is also used. The steam just has to travel to the oven and is generated on-site, which saves energy. Steam-based ovens use 20% of the energy of a traditional self-clean oven because they only use a fan to produce the steam.

Steam-based self-cleaning ovens are more environmentally friendly, too. A traditional oven uses chemicals to get the job done, but the steam clean doesn’t use chemicals. This means that the steam is safe to use and free from any chemicals.

The process is also fast. Normal self-cleaning is 7 hours, but steam-based self-cleaning is 4 hours.

Pyrolytic self-cleaning ovens

That operate at 1300 degrees using only heat are common, but only a few manufacturers make steam cleaners.

Some oven manufacturers, including Whirlpool, Electrolux and Frigidaire, offer the combination of a steam cleaner in the door of their ovens. Other manufacturers offer steam cleaning as an extra-cost option.

When you use a steam cleaner, you are removing baked on material rather than just blasting it with heat. If you would like to do the cleaning yourself, a steam cleaning oven is a good choice and there are no special safety considerations.

Steam cleaning is a hands-off way of cleaning your oven. It works very well at cleaning hard to reach places and especially for cleaning the door and the seals. For the door and the seals, you could actually remove the racks to get them fully clean, but I have not seen anyone do that. You have to be mindful of steam cleaning the racks in your oven because they get very hot. Some oven steamers have a way to keep the rack, or racks, moist.

Steam cleaning is good for glass cook tops as well. If you have burned food on your glass cook top, then well, you'll get lots of practice!

PROS

AND CONS OF EACH:

Steam Cleaning Oven

Advantages:

  • -Save time. No need for repeated cleaning cycles over time. Quick, thorough scrubbing even in the hard to reach, nooks and crannies.
  • -Efficiency. Cleaning an oven typically takes at least an hour or two depending on its size. Oven cleaning, especially spring cleaning, can be a time consuming chore.
  • -Environment friendly. Saves on energy since there's no need to run oven cleaning cycles and not to mention the energy needed to heat the oven in the first place.
  • -Can clean with or without the door closed. The cleaning process is 100% effective even with the door still attached versus closing the door, imagine all the hard to reach places being cleaned.
  • -Bacteria removal. Steam gets deep into the nooks and crannies to remove tough baked on residue and gunk. With the risk of bacteria and the threat of food poisoning, regular oven cleaning cycles go a long way in preventing such instances and worries.

Disadvantages:

  • -Cost. Some might say that it is expensive to use a steam cleaning oven to clean your oven. The price of steam cleaning oven can be more than twice as much as an oven cleaning service.
  • Self-Cleaning Oven

Advantages:

CONS

Of Self-Cleaning Oven Features:

Below are some cons to Self-Cleaning Ovens, but before we begin we will start with the good.

Some of the pros of having a self-cleaning oven is they are relatively easy to use as long as you are patient enough. All you need to do is to set the temperature gauge right before you plan to go to sleep. This will allow the heating element and self-cleaning feature to kick in overnight.

This will allow the heating element and self-cleaning feature to kick in overnight.

The self-cleaning feature is also made safer by a thermal fuse that turns off the power if the oven's temperature goes too high. This feature also prevents any fires if there is any sort of serious problem.

Pros:

Cons:

It is an incredibly important tool to have in the kitchen when cooking or baking and it is an essential part of any decent kitchen appliance. However, if you are on the fence about purchasing a self-cleaning oven, it is important to consider the pros and the cons.

Steam-cleaning ovens

If you are unable to turn off your oven completely for a set of timed cleaning, you should at least consider cleaning it with a steam cleaner. The problem with self-cleaning ovens is that the temperature reaches very high levels and can damage the oven. Many items you use to clean your oven (no matter how careful you may be) will cause damage to the self-cleaming process.

For the most part, the self-cleaning process is safe if done correctly at the appropriate temperature. Since many self-cleaning ovens are hard to reach, it is unlikely that many people will clean their oven regularly. That is why steam cleaners are a good backup option.

Steam cleaners can go into the harder-to-reach places while maintaining a temperature that is safe for you and your family. This is another reason to consider getting a steam cleaner for your oven. Steam cleaners handle many other household items like countertops, bathrooms, floors, and the list goes on. Therefore it is likely that if you purchase a steam cleaner, you'll have a second useful tool in your home, other than your oven cleaning.

To Clean an Oven with a STEAM CLEANER (aka: NOT self-cleaning oven cleaning):

PROS

AND CONS OF EACH:

Steam Cleaning Oven

Advantages:

  • -Save time. No need for repeated cleaning cycles over time. Quick, thorough scrubbing even in the hard to reach, nooks and crannies.
  • -Efficiency. Cleaning an oven typically takes at least an hour or two depending on its size. Oven cleaning, especially spring cleaning, can be a time consuming chore.
  • -Environment friendly. Saves on energy since there's no need to run oven cleaning cycles and not to mention the energy needed to heat the oven in the first place.
  • -Can clean with or without the door closed. The cleaning process is 100% effective even with the door still attached versus closing the door, imagine all the hard to reach places being cleaned.
  • -Bacteria removal. Steam gets deep into the nooks and crannies to remove tough baked on residue and gunk. With the risk of bacteria and the threat of food poisoning, regular oven cleaning cycles go a long way in preventing such instances and worries.

Disadvantages:

  • -Cost. Some might say that it is expensive to use a steam cleaning oven to clean your oven. The price of steam cleaning oven can be more than twice as much as an oven cleaning service.
  • Self-Cleaning Oven

Advantages:

CONS

Of Self-Cleaning Oven Features:

Below are some cons to Self-Cleaning Ovens, but before we begin we will start with the good.

Some of the pros of having a self-cleaning oven is they are relatively easy to use as long as you are patient enough. All you need to do is to set the temperature gauge right before you plan to go to sleep. This will allow the heating element and self-cleaning feature to kick in overnight.

This will allow the heating element and self-cleaning feature to kick in overnight.

The self-cleaning feature is also made safer by a thermal fuse that turns off the power if the oven's temperature goes too high. This feature also prevents any fires if there is any sort of serious problem.

Pros:

Cons:

It is an incredibly important tool to have in the kitchen when cooking or baking and it is an essential part of any decent kitchen appliance. However, if you are on the fence about purchasing a self-cleaning oven, it is important to consider the pros and the cons.

Household steam cleaners

Clean oven racks, with caution.

I wondered if a steam cleaner would work well on my oven racks, when the hand sprayer, that came with my oven, stopped spraying effectively; so I began some exploratory testing.

First, I tried an Oasis steam cleaner. It produces a LOT of steam and a lot of water. I ran the steam cleaner, without a sponge, across my wire, oven rack. The water quickly poured from the rack, pooled on the shelf below. But the wire itself remained quite wet and the wire racks on the middle and bottom levels of my oven were more difficult to clean than when using the original hand spray from my oven. The steam cleaner left behind a lot of gunk and I had to use a damp sponge to get it clean.

Next, I tried an easy, hand held, aluminum, steam cleaner. It produced much less steam, but it still left a lot of water and gunk on my oven racks.

Finally, I tried an easy-to-operate steam cleaner that is made for cleaning bathroom and other surfaces, such as carpet. This one seemed to work well, at first; but, on closer inspection, it also left a lot of gunk on the oven rack.

PROS

AND CONS OF EACH:

Steam Cleaning Oven

Advantages:

  • -Save time. No need for repeated cleaning cycles over time. Quick, thorough scrubbing even in the hard to reach, nooks and crannies.
  • -Efficiency. Cleaning an oven typically takes at least an hour or two depending on its size. Oven cleaning, especially spring cleaning, can be a time consuming chore.
  • -Environment friendly. Saves on energy since there's no need to run oven cleaning cycles and not to mention the energy needed to heat the oven in the first place.
  • -Can clean with or without the door closed. The cleaning process is 100% effective even with the door still attached versus closing the door, imagine all the hard to reach places being cleaned.
  • -Bacteria removal. Steam gets deep into the nooks and crannies to remove tough baked on residue and gunk. With the risk of bacteria and the threat of food poisoning, regular oven cleaning cycles go a long way in preventing such instances and worries.

Disadvantages:

  • -Cost. Some might say that it is expensive to use a steam cleaning oven to clean your oven. The price of steam cleaning oven can be more than twice as much as an oven cleaning service.
  • Self-Cleaning Oven

Advantages:

CONS

Of Self-Cleaning Oven Features:

Below are some cons to Self-Cleaning Ovens, but before we begin we will start with the good.

Some of the pros of having a self-cleaning oven is they are relatively easy to use as long as you are patient enough. All you need to do is to set the temperature gauge right before you plan to go to sleep. This will allow the heating element and self-cleaning feature to kick in overnight.

This will allow the heating element and self-cleaning feature to kick in overnight.

The self-cleaning feature is also made safer by a thermal fuse that turns off the power if the oven's temperature goes too high. This feature also prevents any fires if there is any sort of serious problem.

Pros:

Cons:

It is an incredibly important tool to have in the kitchen when cooking or baking and it is an essential part of any decent kitchen appliance. However, if you are on the fence about purchasing a self-cleaning oven, it is important to consider the pros and the cons.

For a quick and easy oven cleaning solution that doesn’t require any elbow grease, then a steam cleaning oven which uses high pressure steaming water to whip through grease and grime, is the way to go. You will be able to unclog the crevices of your oven to leave it bright and shiny without the hassle of a heavy scrubbing. For this review, we have unboxed the Smart Oven Pro and done some testing on its cleaning abilities.

A quick guide to cleaning an oven with a steamer

Before you start cleaning the oven, unplug it from the electrical outlet. Next, remove any food particles that could be under the racks using a nylon scrubbing pad. It’s amazing what you can remove even if you haven’t used it in a while. Use a solution of one part white vinegar and one part water with a few drops of dish soap. Use the steam cleaner on the oven door until it is completely dry to prevent rusting.

There are many different brands of steam cleaners, but here are a few household items that can also be used:

Showerhead: This can be used in place of a commercial steam cleaner. Simply attach the hose of the showerhead to a pot of boiling water and you can clean any surface in the house.

Steam Iron: Cleaning cloths that were used to remove ironing water can also be used fine for cleaning the oven.

​Tea kettle: Instead of using water, fill the pot with your cleanser of choice and use the steam to clean those hard to reach places.

Paper towels: To manually clean the screen on a microwave, wipe it down with a moist paper towel.

Cleaned to impress and last

Steam cleaning your oven can save you from a lot of headaches and challenges. Many people have ovens that take a lot longer than it should to heat up, or heat up unevenly. Steam cleaning can fix this problem. Also, you may have noticed that steam cleaning will make your oven shine more, and will possibly make it last longer. This is because steam cleaning restores your oven to the proper temperature and it prevents from overheating and rusting.

Steam cleaning ovens is a great way to prepare your oven for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Your food will bake faster and more evenly, and it will cook more thoroughly.

However, if you have a self-cleaning oven and you would rather clean it yourself, make sure that you read the manual that came with your oven, carefully. To find out if you can steam clean your oven, look for water piping or other signs that your oven was steam cleaned.