The kitchen range I bought a few months ago is the first one I've owned with a self-cleaning oven. I got a good deal on it because it was a floor model; I was quite proud of myself, and so happy to know there'd be no more messy, stinky oven cleaners to deal with. As a Flylady dropout, it sounded good to me.
With just Cliff and me to cook for, I don't mess up an oven too badly these days. But Thanksgiving came and I had a spill-over from the apple pie I was baking.
"No problem," I told my daughter, "I have a self-cleaning oven."
So yesterday I got out the "Use and Care Guide" for my Maytag range.
The first sentence I noticed was this: "This oven should be cleaned regularly by wiping up spillovers to prevent excessive smoke and flare-ups," and "Wipe up sugary and acidic spillovers; Porcelain enamel is acid-resistant, not acid-proof. The porcelain finish may discolor if acidic spills are not wiped up before a self-clean cycle."
You mean I have to clean that big apple pie mess myself? By hand? That was the main reason I was going to use the self-clean mode!
As luck would have it, I had baked a turkey after the apple pie spill. When I took a spatula to the glob, I found it had turned to black dust; it cleaned up easily.
I grabbed the book and read more, only to find I was to remove the oven racks.
What? I have to clean those by hand too? Geesh. I pulled them out, then read this:
"Clean oven frame, door frame, area outside of gasket, and around the opening in the door gasket with a nonabrasive cleaner or detergent and water. The self-cleaning process does not clean these areas."
Let me tell you, the oven was already looking pretty darned good, and I hadn't even used the self-cleaning feature yet.
So, having done all that was required, I was ready to set the oven for self-clean. In reading the instructions, though, I was warned that there might be some smoke involved. It doesn't take much to set off the smoke alarm in the kitchen, so I decided I'd better wait until Cliff woke up at 10 A.M. to proceed. I've seen him awakened by smoke alarms before: It isn't a pretty sight.
I continued perusing the book while I waited, and learned that the oven would be going for at least two, and possibly four, hours, depending on whether it was lightly soiled or heavily soiled. I was warned that all parts of the range were going to be hot to the touch, and I should avoid touching the cooktop, door, window or oven vent area.
I wondered just how much expensive propane this process was going to use.
I opened the oven door, took a look inside, and realized that my oven really wasn't all that dirty now that I'd removed the apple pie mess and cleaned the inside of the door.
I don't think I'll be using the self-clean feature of my range any time soon.