Hand wearing blue glove removing oven rack from oven cavity

How to Use a Self-Cleaning Oven: 4 Quick Steps

Self-cleaning ovens bring the heat so you don’t have to spend hours scrubbing. Traditional self-cleaning cycles heat the oven between 800°F and 900°F, helping turn soil and spills to a powdery ash you can then wipe away. They utilize only heat—no chemicals—and are built to withstand high temperatures. They’re also built for safe use, but you should expect some smoke and odor from your oven. A typical cycle on a Maytag® range can take anywhere from 3.5–4 hours, while a Maytag® wall oven can take 4–6 hours.

Self-Cleaning Oven Best Practices

  • Keep the kitchen well ventilated.
  • Remove racks, cookware and any loose items inside the oven.
  • Wipe out loose soil before running a cycle to reduce smoke.
  • Clean the oven window before the cycle to prevent stains. Soil will not burn off glass the same way it will the rest of the oven.
  • Don’t clean with commercial chemical cleaners that could damage the enamel coating.
  • Don’t leave pets or children in the kitchen during a cycle. They could be irritated by the smoke or touch the hot oven.
  • Don’t block oven vents. Air must be able to move freely.
  • Don’t open or touch the oven until it cools.

Note: Not all ovens have a self-clean cycle, and some—like this Maytag® Electric Range with Steam Clean—feature a steam cleaning function that utilizes lower temperatures and water to soften residues for quick cleanup. If you want to avoid using high temperatures to clean your oven, steam clean features could be a good alternative.

How to Work a Self-Cleaning Oven

You can begin the self-cleaning cycle on most ovens with just a few simple steps. First, prepare the oven by removing the broiler pan and oven racks, as well as any cookware, bakeware or utensils. Then, wipe out loose soils and close the oven door completely before selecting and starting the self-cleaning cycle. 

Follow these four steps to run a self-clean cycle. Always check your oven’s Use and Care Guide for model-specific instructions.

  • Cloth

  • Dish soap

  • Vinegar

Close-up of hand in blue glove cleaning around heating coils of oven cavity

Step 1: Remove Loose Items and Quickly Wipe Down the Inside

Remove any loose items to prevent damage: oven racks, the broiler pan, all cookware, foil and any plastic on the range cooktop.


With a damp cloth, wipe out loose soils to reduce smoke during the cycle. Clean as much residue off the oven window as possible; soil left on the glass prior to self-cleaning may leave dark streaks or stains that will require additional cleaning effort.


Wipe inside the door edge and oven cavity frame, being careful not to move or bend the gasket. This area does not get hot enough during the self-cleaning cycle to remove soil.

Close-up of self clean button on oven control panel

Step 2: Run the Self-Clean Cycle

Make sure the door is closed completely or it won’t lock and the cycle won’t begin. On Maytag brand models, press the “Clean” button and select your setting or cycle time. Select more or less time based on how dirty your oven is. You may also need to press a “Start” button to start the cycle, depending on your model.

Stainless steel single wall oven from Maytag brand in white cabinetry

Step 3: Wait for the Cycle to Complete and Oven to Cool

The oven door will lock shortly after the cycle has been started and won’t unlock until the oven cools.


You should be able to stop the cycle at any time by pressing “Cancel” or something similar. But the oven will remain locked until it’s cool.


When the cycle is complete and the oven cools, “End” or something similar should appear on the display.

Close-up of hand in blue glove wiping around heat coils in oven cavity

Step 4: Wipe Out the Oven Cavity

Once the oven has completely cooled, remove ash with a damp cloth. The special enamel coating on self-cleaning ovens should make it easy to wipe clean. If any scrubbing is required, use only mild, non-abrasive cleaners like dish soap and water or vinegar diluted in water, or other cleaning solutions allowed per your owner’s manual. It is generally not recommended to use any commercial chemical cleaners.

Double oven from Maytag brand in beige cabinetry Double oven from Maytag brand in beige cabinetry

How Long Does a Self-Cleaning Oven Take?

Most ovens will let you select how long to run the cycle, usually anywhere from two to six hours. Select more or less time depending on how dirty the oven is. Hand-cleaning the oven as spills happen will make cleaning up after a self-clean cycle easier. Heavy soil results in longer cleaning times and more smoke. Learn how to clean an oven by hand.

Can I Stop My Self-Cleaning Oven Early?

You can usually cancel your oven’s self-clean cycle at any time, but you likely won’t be able to access your oven right away. The cycle uses extremely high temperatures to clean, triggering the oven door to lock automatically. The door will unlock once the oven is cool enough. In the meantime, trying to force the door open may lead to damage.

How Often Should I Use a Self-Cleaning Oven?

How often you use the self-cleaning function on your oven depends on the frequency of use and the oven’s soil levels. The self-clean feature is designed for heavy-duty cleaning, but it’s best to run a cycle before the oven cavity becomes heavily soiled. This way, you can avoid excessive smoking that may otherwise occur as the cycle runs.

Double wall oven from Maytag brand in kitchen with white cabinetry Double wall oven from Maytag brand in kitchen with white cabinetry

Can I Use Cleaners in My Self-Cleaning Oven?

The harsh chemicals found in commercial oven cleaners can release fumes that linger long after you’ve finished cleaning the oven. Instead, opt for a mild, non-abrasive cleaner like a baking soda and water paste combination, dish soap or vinegar diluted with water. Always be sure to consult your owner’s manual before using any cleaners, commercial or natural, in your oven.

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Shop All Maytag® Ovens

Maytag® ranges and ovens offer the power, precision and dependability you need to get dinner done quickly. Maytag® single and double wall ovens can integrate seamlessly into your kitchen’s layout. Features like Power Preheat on select models let you start cooking quicker1 while the Precision Cooking™ system on select models combines three cooking functions to deliver quick, evenly cooked meals.

More Essential Oven Info

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1. Based on single-rack baking with Power Preheat option versus three-rack baking without option selected.