What Happens If You Turn Off a Self-Cleaning Oven Early?

If you turn off a self-cleaning oven early, the process won’t break down the dirt for an easy wipe over. The doors will not open until the oven cools down. Please refer to your owners manual on how and when to switch off your self cleaning oven.


Out of all of the appliances in a home, the inside of the oven is probably the messiest and yet cleaned the least often. There are a few reasons for this. For one, commercial oven cleaning sprays are used a lot less often than they once were, since more people are choosing not to have harsh chemicals in their homes. 

Self-cleaning ovens may seem like the solution, however, some people shy away from using this feature because it can be very time-consuming. 

While the short answer is, “yes, you can turn off a self-cleaning oven early,” there are a few things that you need to consider before you do.

Preparation: Before You Use the Oven’s Self-Cleaning Mode

The owner’s manual for your oven should tell you exactly how to use the self-cleaning mode. There are several steps that need to be taken before you are ready to state the self-cleaning process on your oven.

  • Before turning the oven on, be sure that there are no pots, pans, utensils, parchment paper or aluminum foil inside of the oven. It should be completely cleared of anything besides stuck-on foods.
  • Wipe up any loose food debris, spills, crumbs, etc. from the sides and bottom of the oven.
  • Make sure that the vent to your oven is uncovered. (Many ovens are vented through the back right burner.) Also, make sure that your range hood is on so that the smoke and unpleasant fumes will be sucked outside instead of filling your house.
  • Open your kitchen windows to be sure that your home is well-ventilated.
  • Make sure that any pets or small children are not in the kitchen area, and that they are being attended to. You want to be sure that they will not come into the kitchen until the oven’s self-cleaning process is complete.
  • Be sure that you have several hours to spare so that the oven will not be left unattended. It can take from a couple of hours up to six hours for an oven to completely finish a self-cleaning cycle. Do not start a self-cleaning cycle if you have an appointment later or if it is close to bedtime.

Self-Cleaning Oven Owners Manual


Once you have followed all of the preparation steps above, you’re ready to start the self-cleaning process on your oven. Instructions may vary according to the brand and model of your oven.

  • If you have the owner’s manual for your oven, you should use the directions printed there to self clean it.
  • You might also be able to find the owner’s manual online. The site Manuals Online has hundreds of free user manuals for ovens. 
  • If an owner’s manual is not available, you should determine whether your oven’s self-cleaning function works by steam, high heat, or both.
  • If your oven uses both methods of self-cleaning, you should choose the steam function for light cleanings and the high heat function for heavier messes. The steam function will take less time than the high heat setting.


Using the oven’s self-cleaning function for the first time can be a bit intimidating, especially if you have never used it before.

  • Double check your preparation list to be sure that you’re ready.
  • Close the oven door and choose the desired self-cleaning settings. 
  • With a simple press of a button, your oven door will lock and the timer on the cleaning process will begin. 

High Heat Self-Cleaning Oven Process

  • This process can take three to six hours, and temperatures can reach as high as 800 degrees, depending on the make and model of the oven and how dirty it is inside.
  • This high temperature cleans by incinerating any left-on food that is sitting inside of your oven. 
  • Once the entire cleaning cycle has finished and all of the gunk has turned to ash, it can be easily wiped away with a wet cloth.

Steam Cleaning Oven Process

  • Ovens which have the steam-cleaning feature tend to work at lower temperatures. In most cases, the oven will not go over 400 degrees Fahrenheit for a steam cleaning session.
  • This process will likely take between an hour and a half and three hours. 
  • Once this cleaning process has completed, you will need to wipe away any residue, just as you would with a high-temperature cleaning.

What To Do When Self-Cleaning Is Finished

  • Even though you can open the oven at this point, you should wait until the inside is cool enough to touch.
  • Take a damp cloth and wipe away any residue that may be inside of the oven.
  • It is not recommended that you use any additional chemical cleaners because the fumes can be harmful to your family. A simple wet cloth will be enough to wipe away the loose dirt and grime.

How Long Does Self-Cleaning Take

How Long Self Cleaning Takes
  • When using the self-cleaning function on some ovens, you will be able to decide which cycle to use.
  • This will depend on how dirty the oven is. It usually takes from one and half to three hours, but there are some models that will clean for as long as six hours!
  • Some ovens allow you to choose whether to deep clean, which is a longer cycle, or light clean, which takes less time.
  • If your oven gives you this option, you can easily estimate how long it will take to finish cleaning.
  • If you have an oven that does not give you options, however, you might need to be prepared for it to take several hours.
  • Some older model ovens simply lock down and reach very high temperatures without an option for time or intensity of the cycle. 

What If I Have an Emergency?

  • If you have to leave due to an emergency while using the self-cleaning cycle on your oven, you can simply turn the cycle off. On some ovens, you will need to press “cancel,” while on others you may need to press “clear.”
  • It will not harm your oven to stop the cycle before the cleaning is finished.
  • Once you cancel the self-cleaning process, the oven will start to cool down. This can take anywhere from thirty minutes to three hours, depending on the type of oven that you have and which type of self-cleaning process it is using.
  • Once the oven has finished cooling down, the door will unlock. 

What If The Self-Cleaning Session Hasn’t Finished?

  • Once you have made arrangements to be available for most of the day, follow the steps to prepare for self-cleaning, and start the entire process over again.
  • Once this process is complete, the oven will turn off automatically and the doors will unlock.
  • Then you can wipe the inside of the oven down once it has cooled enough to touch.

Which Cleaning Products Should Be Used in Self-Cleaning Ovens?

Oven cleaners contain very harsh chemicals that can damage the oven and be harmful to your family and pets. You should instead wait until the self-cleaning session has finished and wipe out any remaining residue with a damp cloth. 

If you find that a cleaning solution is necessary, it is best to use an all natural cleaner with no toxic chemicals. Here is a good one you make yourself at home:


  • 1/2 cup dish soap, such as Dawn;
  • 1-1/2 cups baking soda;
  • 1/4 cup vinegar.


  1. Combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Mix until you have a paste similar to pancake batter.
  2. Remove the oven racks.
  3. Wear protective gloves to smear the paste inside of the dirty oven.Do not apply to the heating elements.
  4. Let it sit for around 15-20 minutes.
  5. Use wet paper towels to wipe away the grime.
  6. Wipe down the inside of the oven with a wet paper towel that has been dipped in a solution that is 3 parts water, and 1 part vinegar.

Repeat if necessary for tougher stains. Once you have finished cleaning the inside of the oven with the cleaner of your choice, be sure to use a damp cloth to wipe out any remaining residue from the cleaning solution, This may help to lessen any harmful fumes when you turn the oven on again.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a Self-Cleaning Oven Clean the Racks Too?

Yes, the racks of the oven will be cleaned as well if you leave them in during the self-cleaning process.

How Often Do I Need to Clean My Oven?

It is best to use the self cleaning function on your oven every 6 to 8 months.

Does the Self-Cleaning Option Clean the Window?

It will clean it slightly, but you will have to give it a bit of manual love too. Just spread the baking soda and vinegar mix we talked about earlier across the window, let it sit for a bit and wipe it 10-15 minutes later for a clean window.

How Long Should I Run The Self-Cleaning For?

Most self-cleaning ovens typically run for around 3 hours, the time is pre-defined. Refer to your owner’s manual for more information.

Scroll to Top