Self-Cleaning Oven Not Working? Here’s Why

Appliance Express
July 31, 2023
Oven Repair

A self-cleaning oven is a great feature that saves you time and energy, but what happens when it stops working? 

There could be several reasons why your oven isn’t self-cleaning anymore. In this blog post, we’ll go through some of the most common reasons your self-cleaning oven isn’t working and how to fix them.

Why Is My Self-Cleaning Oven Not Working?

A self-cleaning oven cleans itself by essentially getting very, very hot. This incredibly high temperature turns any food stains, spills, or grease into ash, which can then be simply swept out of the oven after the cycle has finished and the oven has cooled.

But getting that hot has consequences.

The high heat can leech out of the oven’s main chamber and into the other more sensitive parts of the oven. This high heat can melt or warp components of the oven over time.

Let’s review some things that can break down on a self-cleaning oven.

Broken Door Lock 

One of the main reasons why a self-cleaning oven may not work is due to a problem with the door lock. The door lock is responsible for keeping the oven door closed securely during the cleaning cycle to prevent injury. 

The oven door lock can break in two ways:

1. The Door Will Not Lock/Close

The oven door locks itself during the self-cleaning cycle as a safety measure. This is to prevent the door from opening while dangerous temperatures are being reached in the oven.

If the door lock has malfunctioned and will not lock, the oven will not enter the self-cleaning cycle. Many newer oven models will also not bake if the door is open.

To fix this issue, the door lock or latch will need to be inspected for blockage or damage.

If debris is blocking the mechanism from working, remove it, and try the lock again.

If the door lock or latch is not working, it will need to be replaced.

2. The Door Will Not Unlock/Open

As stated above, the door locks during the self-cleaning cycle for safety. Occasionally, the door may not open after the cleaning self-cycle has finished.

This is usually because the oven is still too warm to be used safely and needs longer to cool down.

Make sure the oven is not set to CLEAN mode. This mode will automatically lock the door on some models.

However, occasionally, the oven’s internal sensors can become confused, and refuse to unlock the door, even when the oven has cooled. This can be fixed by resetting the oven.

Unplug the oven or turn off the circuit breaker associated with the oven for approximately 30 seconds. Then plug it back in or turn the breaker on. Try to open the door again.

If the door does not open, you will need to call a maintenance professional for further repairs.

Faulty Insulation Wires:

The insulation wires are like the nerves of the oven. They carry signals from the control board, to the parts of the oven, like the fan or heating element.

Consistent exposure to high heat can melt the protective coating these wires have over time.

If the wiring is faulty, the wires will need to be replaced. You will need to call a repair professional to do this.

Too Much Grime:

If your oven is absolutely coated in grime, dust, and grease, the heating element cannot do its job. Instead of heating the air inside the oven, it only heats the built-up debris.

Think of it like putting a blanket around the inside of your oven. The blanket reflects heat back at the heating element, making it think that the oven is much hotter than it actually is.

You may need to give your oven a manual deep clean before using the self-cleaning settings or baking again.

Vinegar and baking soda makes for wonderful cleaning agents and make even the toughest stains easy to clean. Mix an equal amount of water and baking soda to make a paste and spread the paste on any stains, spray with vinegar, and let the mixture sit overnight. The vinegar and baking soda combination will react to help lift stains from the oven.

Malfunctioning Control Board: 

The control board is the brain of your oven, and if it’s not functioning correctly, it can affect the self-cleaning cycle. Check the control board for any visible damage, such as burnt circuits or loose wires. If there is damage, replace the board with a new one. Call a repair professional to do this.

If there is no evidence of damage, turn off the power to the oven, as in the above section for unlocking the door, wait a few minutes, and then turn it back on. This may reset the control board and get the self-cleaning function working again.

Blown Thermal Fuse: 

The thermal fuse is another safety feature in the oven. This fuse will, if it detects too much heat in sensitive parts of the oven, blow to cut off electricity and prevent a fire.

If the control panel works, but your heating element is not giving off heat, the thermal fuse will have blown.

Have a repair professional inspect your oven to replace the fuse and find the issue that made the fuse blow in the first place.

Broken Heating Element: 

The heating element in the oven is responsible for creating the high temperatures needed for the self-cleaning cycle to work. If the heating element is broken, the oven won’t self-clean. 

To repair this, you need to replace the broken element with a new one that’s compatible with your oven. You will need to consult a repair professional to make this repair.


In conclusion, a malfunctioning self-cleaning oven can be frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be a permanent problem. 

You can try some solutions yourself by keeping the oven clean and letting it cool properly after a cleaning cycle. You can also try a quick reset and inspect any common components, like the control panel or door locks, for damage. 

Otherwise, call a repair professional to fix your oven since the damage may be more serious than you can safely handle.


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