A self-cleaning oven cycle works to expel food and grease buildup with the help of extreme temperatures, higher than what's used for cooking. The high heat allows food and soils inside the oven to break down, leaving behind a small amount of ash that can easily be wiped away later. 

How to use a self-cleaning oven

Get instructions to help streamline your cleaning process and keep your oven looking like new. If you're wondering how to clean a self-cleaning oven, learn more by following these steps:

Step 1: Prep the oven for cleaning
Step 2: Lock down and heat up
Step 3: Run the oven self-clean cycle 
Step 4: Wipe away the mess

Starting a self-cleaning cycle

Step 1: Prep the oven for cleaning

First, remove everything (including racks) from your oven. On ranges, make sure there's nothing on the cooktop or in the storage drawer. Wipe the interior and frame with a damp cloth, avoiding the gasket so it will seal properly. Then, select a cleaning setting, following recommendations from your self-cleaning oven instructions. Whirlpool® self-cleaning ovens have settings for light, moderate or heavy soil.

Cleaning tip: To self-clean less often, clean up baking spills right after they happen. Dilute a little mild hand-wash dish detergent, baking soda or lemon juice in water. Use a clean cloth to scrub your oven with one of these cleaning solutions.

Model shown: WOS31ES0JS

A Whirlpool® self-cleaning oven

Step 2: Lock down and heat up

Next, your oven locks and heats to a very high temperature. While self-cleaning ovens have extra insulation to help handle heat, it’s important to keep children away. No one should touch the oven while it cleans. Failure to follow these instructions can result in burns.

A Whirlpool® range with a self-cleaning oven
Dishwasher tablet icon

Electrical Shock Hazard
• Disconnect power before servicing.
• Replace all parts and pannels before operating.
• Failure to do so can result in death or electrical shock.

Step 3: Run the oven self-clean cycle

High heat reduces stuck-on food and grease to ash in a process called pyrolytic cleaning. Your oven will stay locked and a fan will run until it cools. A cycle on a Whirlpool® range can take anywhere from 2.5–4.5 hours, while a wall oven can take 4-6 hours.

  • Self-cleaning safety tips:
  • Always move pets, especially birds, to another closed and ventilated room or outside in a cage until cleaning finishes.
  • Turn on your hood fan and open windows to make sure that your kitchen is well-ventilated during the self-cleaning cycle to help get rid of heat, odors and smoke.
  • Never use commercial oven cleaners or oven liner protective coating, as these can harm your oven’s interior.
Wiping down a self-cleaning oven

Step 4: Wipe away the mess

A special enamel coating makes it easy to wipe away the ash at the end of the cycle with just a damp cloth. This can provide a helpful alternative to manual cleaning.

How long does a self-cleaning oven cycle take?

Depending upon the amount of soil, the self-cleaning oven cycle will take between one and a half hours to three hours. The more food grease and residue inside the oven, the more time it’ll take to clean. Chemicals, sprays and other commercial oven cleaners and oven liners should not be used while the self-cleaning oven cycle is on.

Find the right self-cleaning oven for your family

Interested in an oven that helps make clean-up easier? Shop Whirlpool® self-cleaning ranges and self-cleaning ovens.

Shop Whirlpool® Self-Cleaning Ovens and Ranges

Learn more about using oven features

Choose the cooking method that fits your family

Convection oven vs. regular oven

What, exactly, is a convection oven? Learn more to determine if you should stick with convention – or cook with convection.

Which range features can be disabled for religious holidays?

What is Sabbath mode on a stove?

During Sabbath and religious holidays in Judaism, there may be restrictions on certain activities that can extend to the use of appliances.

Cut down on steps between your food and the table

Whirlpool® smart ovens

The Smart Slide-in Range lets you cut down on routine steps to get food to the table fast. Learn how you can rush a little less and do a little more.

Appliance IQ

Want more answers to your kitchen and laundry questions?

Was this article helpful? Pass it on