Noticing Self Cleaning Oven Fumes?
If you have ever used a self cleaning oven or been somewhere when one was being used then you know that they emit a certain, not-very-pleasant smell. Maybe you thought nothing of it, or maybe, like many others, you wondered if perhaps there was a danger behind those fumes.
What causes the smell?
Most of the odor and smoke caused by a self-cleaning oven while in use is the result of old foodstuff being burned at very high temperatures. As you may have learned from some of our other popular articles, the cleaning process uses heat to clean, instead of harsh chemicals.
It may, however, be the result of the off-gassing of a Teflon coating. Some self-cleaning ovens use this kind of coating on the inside to prevent material from sticking to it. These tend to be older models, and manufacturers avoid this now, because the Teflon coating emissions can be dangerous to humans and animals. If you are concerned about your oven, consult your owner’s manual or call the manufacturer to inquire further.
Although it is odorless, the fumes from your oven may be accompanied by carbon monoxide created by burning food particles.
You may have heard the old stories about miners using canaries to test if a mine shaft had dangerous chemicals before going into it. Well, they used canaries because birds have incredibly sensitive respiratory systems. There are many things that may be dangerous to a bird that would only be a mild irritant to a human. Self cleaning oven fumes fall into this category.
If you do have pet birds, make sure to move them far away from your oven while you are using the cleaning process. Make sure they are in a room that has plenty of ventilation and is well away from the oven. If you can bring them outside, that would be ideal. Reports of pet birds dying as a result of self cleaning ovens are numerous!
Any other pets (and children, and everyone else for that matter!) should follow similar precautions. Move everyone as far away from the oven as possible while it is in use. Ideally, have them go outside for a few hours to enjoy the fresh air outside. Many people have reported coughing, sneezing, and headaches as a result of being around a self cleaning oven.
What to Do
Before you run your oven’s cleaning cycle, you should open as many doors and windows as possible. If you have a ventilation hood over the oven, turn it on. Use a fan in the kitchen to help air it out. Basically, get the fumes out! This will stop that strange smell from hanging around your home for longer than necessary. It will also reduce the amount of potentially dangerous chemicals sticking around
Because many people are uncomfortable with the way that these ovens work, alternative means to cleaning kitchen appliances have been developed. There are harsh cleaning solvents available, but these are possibly worse than the smell in the first place! Some all-natural cleaning methods have been devised. More to come on that in the future!
DISCLAIMER: As always, consult with the proper documentation, including your owner’s manual, before using any appliance. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your appliance, contact the manufacturer for clarification. The above information is not necessarily applicable to your particular model.