Cleaning Oven Racks in Self-Cleaning Oven

Old 02-11-11, 12:32 PM
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Cleaning Oven Racks in Self-Cleaning Oven

Hello, I have a electric self-cleaning oven(dual-fuel, gas top). It will not start the clean cycle with the oven racks in place. I must take the level racks out and remove the sidewall racks before cleaning. The book says to take racks out also. If I lay the racks inside of oven bottom, the clean cycle will begin to heat. Although the cycle will start, I have never cleaned them this way and want to ask first if it is alright to put deep heat to them? They are the glide-out racks. The racks themselves are very sturdy but the slide-out arms don't seem to have thick sturdiness of the racks themselves. It seems, the glide-out arms could be bent with good force unlike the racks themselves. The racks need deep cleaning just like other parts of the oven. Awhile back I made beef jerky and hung the meat directly from the racks with a drip pan. I did not realize at the time, I may not be able to put these racks thru a deep cleaning cycle like the rest of the oven. Is it possible the racks could be warped or damaged in the cleaning cycle or is it ok to send them through a good cleaning? Thanks for all your good info here![/FONT]
Old 02-11-11, 12:52 PM
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I did that once to the chrome racks in my oven...they kinda warped and discolored. Since then, I take the racks and put them in a heavy plastic garbage bag (or 2) and dump in about 2 cups of ammonia. Let them sit outside in the sun or where its warm for a day. Even the heaviest deposits should come off with a bit of scrubbing from a green pad.
Old 02-11-11, 01:15 PM
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Thanks, I will try the ammonia and see if I can get them clean.

Gosh, That take Electrolux's street value way down if you can not clean their baking
racks in their clean cycle. That's the whole point of 'self-cleaning'. Their 'self' means myself. ugh.......
Old 02-12-11, 09:54 AM
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i never "self clean" my oven.

i spray oven cleaner on the spots, cold oven. and just let it sit. after a while the stuff wipes out. good as new.
Old 02-13-11, 09:20 PM
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I have 21 self cleaning ovens in my apartment block, and I leave the racks in the oven through a self clean cycle. The racks WILL discolour from the heat, but I've never had any of them warp at all. The self cleaning occurs at about 900 deg. Fahrenheit, and that's so far below the melting point of steel that the steel won't soften sufficiently to allow any change of shape at that temperature. Otherwise the walls and ceiling of the oven would sag under their own weight during a self clean cycle, and they don't.

The chrome plating on the racks does discolour because of the reaction with oxygen in the air, and they will turn a dull greyish colour rather than remain a shiny chrome. But, in my case, I'd rather live with the discoloured racks than spend time cleaning them by hand.

If you want to keep the racks looking shiney, then I'd suggest you phone up any restaurant supply place and get a stainless steel baking tray large enough to soak your racks in oven cleaner. Oven cleaner (sodium hydroxide, NaOH) won't harm stainless steel or chrome plating. It will, however, react with aluminum to form a white powder, aluminum hydroxide, or AlOH.

Oven cleaner works by converting animal fats (which is what baked on grease is) into soap through a chemical process called "saponification". Google "saponification" and you can learn all about it. As the baked on grease is converted into soap, it becomes much easier to remove because the soap it is converted into is soluble in water.

Always wear rubber or vinyl gloves when working with oven cleaner because oven cleaner can give you a chemical burn on your skin.

PS: Here are a few tips on cleaning your oven:

1. If you find that there are some place spots and areas of your oven that don't respond to oven cleaner, it's because those areas don't have any grease or animal fat left in them. What you have there is basically charcoal, and it can be removed simply by scraping it off with a razor scraper or sharp paint scraper. The coating on the inside of your oven is probably the hardest coating in your house (much harder than even the baked on enamel on a steel bathtub. You're not likely to accidentally harm it by using a razor or paint scraper to scrape charcoal off of it. As long as the coating is cool (rather than still at 900 deg. F), you'd have to intenionally damage the coating to harm it with a razor or paint scraper.

2. Rub a candle or block of parrafin onto the edges of your oven racks before putting them back in the oven. The wax or parrafin will serve as a lubricant to allow the racks to slide in and out of the oven smoothly.

3. You can also clean the drip pans under your surface elements with oven cleaner or by leaving them on the racks during a self clean cycle. The porcelain enamel coating on the drip pans is a high temperature "ceramic coating" just like the blue gray coating on the inside of your oven. But, any exposed steel will rust profusely at oven cleaning temperatures during the self cleaning cycle.

Last edited by Nestor; 02-13-11 at 09:41 PM.

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