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How can different types of ovens be cleaned?

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Ovens can be classified by the type of cleaning method required. A manual clean oven has a porcelain enamel finish that is smooth, durable and designed to withstand high oven temperatures. Detergent and water, or a mild abrasive cleaner used with a scouring pad will clean most spills. Tough spills may require the use of a commercial oven cleaner. A continuous clean oven has a special catalytic oven finish that must be in contact with hot air in order for cleaning to occur. Cleaning takes place while the oven is in use. Spills and splatters are actually wicked up by the porous black surface much as a blotter absorbs ink. The spill is hidden in the porous nature of the oven finish. Trying to clean the interior really isn't recommended. If you just have to do something, hand dishwashing detergent and water or an all-purpose cleaner are the strongest solutions that should be used on a continuous-clean surface. Commercial cleaners may damage the surface. If the door can be removed from the oven, you can try flushing the surface with soapy water to clean unsightly spots. Since the door doesn't get as hot as the interior walls, more stains may be visible there. Self-cleaning ovens have a separate cleaning cycle that reduces spills to a powdery ash. This residue is then wiped away.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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