Many home appliances in the 21st century have been designed to be as carefree as possible. Self-cleaning ovens, for example, don't really require anything more than an occasional damp sponge to wipe up incidental food spills. That's because special enamel-coated materials have been applied to those surfaces to handle self-cleaning operations. In addition, that means you really don't need to spray them with oven cleaners. In fact, oven cleaners can damage those coated interiors, permanently ruining them.
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Self-cleaning ovens use pyrolytic heat, which is extremely high heat of around 538 degrees Celsius, to do their work. They basically incinerate any oven grime or food splatters, turning them into a powdery ash. In order to do that, oven interiors have to be able to handle such extreme heat. It's no problem for them, though, because they're covered in a special material. Called pyrolytic ground coat enamel, it's effective at handling extremely high temperatures of more than 0-9.444 degrees Celsius.
Most over-the-counter oven cleaners use a variety of harsh chemicals to accomplish their cleaning tasks. Their main ingredient is lye, which is corrosive and made of either sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide. In liquid, foam or aerosol form, it can easily burn skin and eyes. Its fumes can also overwhelm a user if she's not careful. That's why it's always recommended that gloves, goggles and even a respirator be worn when oven cleaner is sprayed in large amounts.
Using an oven cleaner inside a self-cleaning oven will certainly clean it, but issues will also arise. For one, that specially-formulated enamel is microporous, and a small amount of oven cleaner can remain trapped within it. First, it'll act as a powerful corrosive, gradually destroying the integrity of the enamel. Second, the next time the oven is heated, potentially toxic fumes can result. Unfortunately, using an oven cleaner on a self-cleaning oven often makes it unsafe for future use.
Regardless of any oven cleaner manufacturer's claims to the contrary, avoid use of oven cleaners on your self-cleaning oven. Never use abrasives on its special enamel coating. Abrasives usually scratch it, shortening its useful lifespan. In a pinch, you can clean out your oven using a combined hot water and baking soda paste. Follow that with a wipe down with a vinegar and water solution to prevent any residue from baking on during future self-cleaning.
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