Can Self-Cleaning Oven Kill You? (Answered)

By - Ron Singh

Updated -

A lot of improvements have been made to modern-day technology. While some of these are primarily beneficial, they also have detrimental disadvantages if anything goes wrong. 

An example of such technological advancements is the self-cleaning feature on ovens.

While this feature can save you the stress of cleaning it yourself, there are many downsides to inhaling the fumes that build up during the cleaning process. 

Death may be extreme, but inhaling the fumes from the self-cleaning oven can cause breathing issues, give you the flu, or may result in sweating and breathing issues. If all of these are not well managed and on time, a person will most likely die from the fumes from the self-cleaning oven.  

In this article, I will provide detailed information on the dangers of self-cleaning ovens, how they happen, and how to get rid of the fumes, as they are the major factors that result in damage. 

And by the end, you should properly understand how to use a self-cleaning oven safely.

Can a Self-Cleaning Oven Kill You?

Can Self Cleaning Oven Kill You?

The chances of dying from a self-cleaning oven disaster are very high. The buildup of the fumes when the oven self-cleans builds a good amount of carbon monoxide gas (CO2) around the house.

The dangerous thing about this carbon monoxide gas is that it is difficult to detect in the air as it does not have any unique smell or immediate effect on objects around it. 

Therefore, you may begin to choke, cough, sweat, faint, and lose balance before you detect something has gone wrong.

For adults, it may take a long period to notice such an occurrence, and sometimes, you may be swift enough to open your windows before the damage goes further. 

Nevertheless, you cannot say the same for children and pets. It may take a dead cat or puppy for you to realize that something is off in the air, and sadly, the same goes for infants and toddlers.

The substance released from the oven during self-cleaning that can result in death (carbon monoxide) reduces or overpowers oxygen in the air.

This is what results in those breathing issues, sweating, and coughing. It is perilous because it is not a regular carbon monoxide gas but a dangerous gas called Polytetrafluoroethylene toxicosis

The polytetrafluoroethylene toxicosis does not come from the oven itself. Instead, it is a substance used in producing oven-cleaning agents.

If you think back to when your oven was self-cleaning, and your pets were acting funny, it’s time to do something.

Sadly, just ventilating your kitchen alone won’t help most people and pets around the house. To be on a safer end:

  • Take all your kids and pets out whenever it’s time for the oven to self-clean.
  • Keep all the windows and doors open, so the fumes can expel into a more expansive space and dissolve quickly.
  • Stay far enough from the oven to avoid accidents and close enough to put out a fire or turn it off if it begins to malfunction.

If you are asthmatic or have other respiratory issues, such as pneumonia, etc., please do not use the self-cleaning features on your oven.

You can always try out other options like:

  • Hire people to clean the oven for you. You can check out cleaning agencies around you and see their offers. You will most likely find one that works for you.
  • Clean the oven after every use, so it does not get filthy to the extent of needing the self-cleaning feature.
  • If it is already filthy, clean it bit by bit. Split days and oven parts and clean them accordingly. 

Can Self-Cleaning Oven Catch Fire?

On a scale of 1-10, the chances of an oven catching fire when self-cleaning is around an 8.

Whether you take out all the food particles and oversized food items or you do not, there are still chances of the oven catching fire during self-cleaning. 

The oven attains a very high temperature during the cleaning process because of the pressure needed for the feature to work. 

This high temperature is what results in blow-ups and fire outbreaks. Many people on several review websites have termed the self-cleaning feature on ovens to be a fire hazard.

It is typical to witness ovens catch fire during self-cleaning because of the grease leftover in the oven.

This grease serves as fuel and ignites a fire when the temperature increases. If you must use the self-cleaning feature on your oven, ensure the following:

  • You stand close enough to monitor the temperature and turn it off occasionally to cool down.
  • Use mild cleaning agents that do not carry hazardous chemicals. You can decide to go for your regular dishwashing soap.

Other Disadvantages of the Self-cleaning Feature

Besides being a causative agent for death and causing a fire, the self-cleaning feature on your oven has many other disadvantages.

Some of them include the following: 

  • It could result in a burnt control panel.
  • It could blow up fuses around the house.
  • Cause a power surge.
  • It could also break the oven.

The continuous shaking and repeated temperature spikes during the self-cleaning process can result in the abovementioned issues. 

Unfortunately, you may need to buy a new oven if the present one breaks from the self-cleaning procedure. And Ovens, unlike other house appliances, are costly to fix or repair.

That temperature can also ruin your oven’s control panel and blow up a few fuses in the house.

Imagine buying a new control panel and a new fuse and paying someone to fix them. All because you could not clean an oven yourself. 

How Do I Get Rid of Self-Cleaning Oven Fumes?

If you use the self-cleaning option/ feature on your oven, you will indeed have a lot of fumes around the house. 

To get rid of them, you’ll have to open up all the windows, doors, and any other form of ventilation.

Turn on fans, too, so the fume spreads out faster. If you are battling the odor from the fumes, your best bet is to boil some water.

Place a pot of water on the lowest oven rack, and leave it to boil. The oven should be at least 400° Fahrenheit. After boiling for about an hour, the smell of the fumes should dissipate. 

The burning smell from the self-cleaning ovens is not only harmful to the health but also very unpleasant and may cause nausea.

Differences Between Cleaning My Oven Myself or Using the Self-Cleaning Feature

Below is a tabular comparison of the differences between cleaning your oven and using the self-cleaning feature.

Self-cleaning FeatureCleaning Yourself
Cleaning agents for the self-cleaning feature are expensive.You save more money when you clean yourself using regular products.
The process can cause several damages.Cleaning by yourself is safer for both the oven and the house.
The self-cleaning agents cause damage to the respiratory tract.Mild washing/cleaning products are used.
It saves more time and takes less effort.It may take longer, depending on the amount of dirt accumulated.
It is not a convenient feature for children and forgetful adults. Anyone can manually clean an oven as long as it is not plugged in.
It may affect the oven, which can lead to severe damage.Cleaning an oven manually cannot damage its parts.

A tip for when you want to take care of the oven during or after self-cleaning is to wear gloves and protective glasses. Add a mask if available so that you can be extra careful.


#1. Do All Ovens Have a Self-cleaning Feature?

Only some ovens have a self-cleaning feature. However, it is more familiar with some ovens than with others.  Mostly, the most recent models carry the self-cleaning option/feature.

#2. Can I Self-clean My Oven When No One is At Home?

If no one is home except you, it is okay to self-clean the oven as long as you can monitor it. However, if you are also not going home, do not attempt to let the oven self-clean.


In summary, the aftermath of using the self-cleaning feature on your oven is not worth it.

Especially since it can result in conditions like:

  • Loss of lives.
  • Causing health issues and triggering underlying ones.
  • A fire around the house may burn the whole house down if not controlled on time.

In the end, you stand a better chance if you clean your oven manually using regular cleaning agents that cannot harm your skin or health.

Sharing is caring! Spread The Love!

Why Trust Our Information

At, we are dedicated to delivering precise and trustworthy information. Our content is meticulously developed and validated by a panel of Expert Contributors, adhering to strict Editorial Guidelines. Our commitment is to ensure that you receive thoroughly researched and expertly crafted information.