Get Your Oven Ready for the Holidays

By Lyle Weischwill | Oct. 30, 2023 8:09 am PST

Image of a Homeowner Getting an Oven Ready for the Holidays

Your oven can expect to get a rigorous workout over the holidays. Now is the time to get it in shape so that Thanksgiving and Christmas roasting and baking goes smoothly. Getting your oven ready early will help you enjoy festive holiday baking.

Here are some important tips to help you get your oven holiday ready.

Start by Cleaning Your Oven

Meats have splattered grease, casseroles have dripped foods and pies have spilled over into your oven during normal use throughout the year. It’s time to clear residue and spill out of the oven as the first step in holiday preparations.

How to Clean Your Oven Using the Self Clean Cycle

When your oven has a self-cleaning option, it’s fairly simple to thoroughly clean the inside of your oven. Self-cleaning ovens work by heating up to a super hot temperature and burning off all spills, drips and splatters into bits into fine ash that you can simply wipe out of the oven after the cycle finishes and the oven cools.

What to Do Before You Self-Clean Your Oven

Although using the self-clean cycle to clean your oven is convention, there are some important preparations that you’ll need to make before starting the self-clean mode in the oven. Here’s a list of precautions to take before starting the cleaning mode:

  • Follow the directions in the owner’s manual to prepare your oven for starting the self-clean cycle. Oven models differ and the directions for preparing the oven that you have may require some unique steps not covered in the general directions and precautions provided below. You may need to remove oven racks to prevent their discoloration in some oven models.
  • Wipe out heavy spills. High oven temperature will burn off any food residue remaining after you wipe out heavy spills. Leaving a pool of grease in the bottom of your oven will create a small, controlled burn that will go out within minutes due to lack of oxygen inside the oven because the oven door is locked shut. Still, you’ll want to avoid the flames by wiping out heavy residue — especially greasy spills. Excessive grease in the bottom of the oven can trip a fuse or high-temperature limit switch in the oven.
  • Ventilate your home. Open windows to dissipate the smoke that will come out the oven vent during the self-clean cycle. If you don’t wipe out heavy spills, the excessive smoke coming from the oven vent can trigger smoke alarms in your home.
  • Protect your pets. Ventilating your home goes a long way in helping protect pets. Birds are especially sensitive to smoke. Other pets can also be bothered by smoke even though you have all the windows open. For best protection of your pets, move them outside or to another location before running the oven’s self-clean cycle.
  • Because the clean feature will automatically lock the oven door and keep it locked until the oven has cooled, you’ll want to make sure to remove baking dishes or containers before you start the cleaning process. Once the clean cycle starts, heating elements raise oven temperature to over 750 degrees Fahrenheit, so anything left inside the oven will likely get damaged or break.

Caution: If you discover that you left items inside the oven after starting the self-clean option, you won’t be able to remove them until the oven cools down. The oven door stays locked to limit oxygen supply to the oven cavity during the cleaning process. If you were to open the door when the oven is above 750 degrees while residue is being burned off, the abundant supply of oxygen in the air entering the oven would immediately cause a fire to flare up. Don’t try to force the door open to retrieve items accidentally left inside the oven. Cancel the self-clean feature and open the oven door once the oven cools.

How to Start the Self-Clean Cycle

Once you’ve prepared the oven and your home for running the oven self-cleaning cycle, set the control and start the cleaning mode.

You can set the self-cleaning cycle to run between 2 and 4 hours on most ovens. Clean option settings vary by model so check the owner’s manual for your range or oven to see how long the self-cleaning cycle will take in your range.

Keep in mind that the oven door stays locked until the oven cools down after the high temperature clean so you’ll need to add about 45 minutes to the cycle time before you can use the oven.

Manually Cleaning Your Oven (The Old-Fashioned Way)

If you don’t have a self-cleaning oven, you can get the job done the old fashioned way – with oven cleaner and elbow grease. Although not as easy and effective as a self-clean mode, this procedure will get the job done.

Clean the Oven Racks

Remove the oven racks and place them in a large sink or bathtub, fill with water and allow to soak. Use a scratch resistant scouring pad to scrape away residue and burnt food bits. Rinse the oven racks and dry with a towel.

Clean the Oven Cavity

Ventilate your home and use an oven cleaner to get rid of spills, residue and deposits from the inside of your oven. You can also use baking soda to clean the oven cavity by following this procedure:

  • Make a cleaning paste by mixing a little water into a bowl of baking soda. Spread the paste over inside of the oven cavity.
  • Allow the baking soda paste to sit overnight.
  • The next day, fill a bucket of water and use a sponge to wipe away the baking soda paste.
  • If any dried baking soda paste remains, use a cleaning cloth soaked with vinegar to wipe it away.
  • Wipe down the oven cavity with a cloth moistened with plain water. Dry the inside of the oven with a towel.

Image appliances covered by a Sears Clean & Maintain bundle

Get Your Oven Professionally Checked and Maintained

Don’t risk a holiday disaster with your oven. Sears Home Services is your best, most-trusted option for an oven check-up and maintenance. Schedule Clean & Maintain Service by Sears Home Services to get your oven in top shape for the holidays. Better yet, get all of your appliances professionally maintained to avoid any problems during the busy holiday season. Bundle appliance maintenance and save while ensuring that your entire home is ready for the holidays.

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