How to Stop Self Cleaning Oven Early [Step by Step]

Last Updated on December 22, 2022 by Claire

The self-cleaning feature available on most modern ovens will keep the door locked shut so that it can’t be opened until the oven has attained the high temperatures required to burn off all the grime, dirt, and moisture inside the oven. This is an easy and convenient way to clean your oven without stress.

But what if the oven has accidentally been put into a self-cleaning mode? Can it still be stopped mid-cycle without damaging it?

Keep on reading to find out how to stop self cleaning oven and the answers to a few related questions about this feature.

How to stop self cleaning oven

Can I stop my self-cleaning oven early?

You can actually stop the self-cleaning of most ovens early, but turning a unit off during self-cleaning is discouraged as damage can occur if self-cleaning does not complete.  However, the best way to know this is to check your oven’s user manual as this depends on the make and model of your oven.

Logically the safest workaround is to set the oven’s self-cleaning cycle to the lowest amount of time first, then re-run the cycle as necessary since it’s easier to add more time than to try stopping it abruptly. Otherwise, you should plan as if you don’t have the option to stop the self-cleaning oven early.

Also note that if the self-cleaning is canceled or interrupted, the door stays locked until the unit cools to a safe temperature level.

How to stop self cleaning oven

Here’s how to stop an oven that has inadvertently been put into self-cleaning mode and take it out of this intense heat cycle with just a few steps.

Step 1

Press the keypad button marked ‘cancel’ or ‘off’. This should immediately stop the cleaning cycle.

Step 2

Press the ‘Timer’ button twice to stop this function.

This button can also read: ‘Timer Off’ or ‘Timer Set/Off’.

Step 3

Press the ‘control lock’ button for three or four seconds (depending on the model) to finally stop the feature and unlock the oven door.

For ovens that have a ‘warm’ feature, you might need to press the ‘warm zone’ or ‘warmer drawer off’ buttons before you press the ‘control lock’ button to halt the process.

You should check your oven’s model number to get its manual online if you don’t have the instructional manual or if you aren’t sure if your oven has this feature.

It’s recommended that you allow the oven to cool off for a period between 30 minutes to an hour and a half before you attempt to unlock the door. However, most ovens with a self-cleaning feature will automatically unlock their doors when the appliance has cooled down to around 200° F.

These instructions differ depending on your oven’s model so it’s best you consult the self-cleaning option section of the owner’s manual for exact instructions for that model and tips for ensuring that the cycle is started, and stopped, safely.

What does my oven do when it’s self-cleaning?

The fact is that the self-cleaning feature doesn’t mean you don’t have to clean your oven at all. You’ll still have to clean off any residue, drippings, and other particles that are left over after the self-cleaning cycle is done.

When you start your self-cleaning oven, it is going to get very hot- around 800°F to 875°F. This is because it creates enough insulated heat to turn any grease, fat, and other leftovers into ash.

When should I self-clean my oven?

The answer to this actually depends on what you use your oven for and how often you use it.

  • If you bake often, then it’s advisable that you run the self-cleaning option at least once every four months.
  • If you using your oven sparingly for general cooking, then it’s recommended you run it once a year.

Regardless of how often you use your oven or what you use it for, you should run the self-cleaning process a month before using it for any important events as a lot of things could go wrong if it is not done properly.

So it’s best if you leave enough time to fix any mistakes.

Do I need to do anything before self-cleaning the oven?

Ideally, you don’t need to do anything before self-cleaning the oven, just start it and walk away for a while.

However, if you like to keep things in line, there are a few things you can do before starting:

  1. Make a cleaning plan – you should run the self-cleaning process a month before using it for any important events as a lot of things could go wrong if it is not done properly.
  2. Proper ventilation – Make sure fumes easily exit the house and fresh air can get in easily as this will help lessen the heat to your home and smell from whatever may burn off.
  3. Do a quick pre-clean – Although the whole point of self-cleaning is to ease the stress of cleaning, you can simply get a rag or towel to do a quick clean of the inside of your oven to make things even easier and faster for yourself.
  4. If you have a steam-cleaning oven, emptying a cup of distilled water on the floor of the oven will make emptying out the ‘junk’ at the end even easier.
  5. Lock the door immediately after the self-cleaning cycle starts – Even if your oven has an automatic locking feature, you need to be sure it is actually locked as this will help keep the heat and smell inside the oven, rather than all around your house.

Can I be in the house when the oven is self-cleaning?

Yes, you can be in the house when running a self-cleaning cycle. Although there might be some stinky fumes exiting from the oven, it is completely safe to be in the house when the oven is self-cleaning.

However, you shouldn’t run the self-cleaning function if there is a major fault with your oven, or if there’s no proper cross-ventilation in the house.

How long does it take for an oven to unlock after self-cleaning?

Most modern ovens (whether they have an automatic lock or not) can be unlocked once completely cooled after a self-cleaning cycle.

However, this can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half depending on the age and make of your oven.

Why can’t I unlock my oven door after self-cleaning? Don’t panic if your self-cleaning oven isn’t unlocking the door, even after you’ve allowed enough time for it to cool down.

Here are some quick tips you can try in order to unlock your oven door before calling a technician.

If the door of your self-cleaning oven does not lock automatically:

  1. Make sure your ‘Temperature’ and ‘Set’ knobs are both positioned on the ‘Clean’ option.
  2. Gently slide the latch all the way to the left in case there is no ‘release’ button.

If your self-cleaning oven has an automatically locking door:

  1. Wait for the required 30-90 minutes for the oven to cool down.
  2. Start another short cycle (1-2 hours), then press and hold the ‘Clear/Off’ button for a minute.
  3. Run another short cycle, then allow the oven to cool down completely.
  4. Turn off the power to the oven for a minute, and then turn it on again.
  5. Turn the circuit breaker off for about five minutes before turning it back on.

If you still can’t find a way to unlock your oven door even after trying any of these steps, then it is highly recommended you call a technician to service it.

Why isn’t my oven working after a self-clean?

Here are the most common reasons why your oven might not be working after a self-clean cycle:

  1. A failed door lock will prevent you from opening your oven, even after it has cooled down completely.
  2. The electrical safety failed or shorted out; an electrical safety is there to prevent your oven from overheating. If it fails, it won’t be able to reset and the power for the bake and broil element will also be turned off. This means that although your oven will cool down and unlock, you won’t have any heat the next time you try to use it.

Although there might be other reasons your oven isn’t working after a self-clean cycle, the two aforementioned points are the most common reason for this.

That’s why it is recommended that you run the self-cleaning process a month before using it for any important events, so you can have time to fix anything that goes wrong.


What happens if I leave the racks in a self-cleaning oven?

The racks left in the oven during self-cleaning may become warped and discolored due to the extreme heat created during this cycle. This can also cause damage to the rack guides of the porcelain oven cavity due to expansion and contraction as a result of heat. So it is not recommended for you to leave racks in the oven during self-cleaning. Meanwhile, Whirlpool, in their manual, advises that if the rack must be moved while the oven is hot, you must not let the potholder contact the hot heating element in the oven.

Is it OK to self-clean the oven overnight?

Yes, you can self clean your oven overnight.  Just make sure you open the windows, turn on the fans, and remove the racks as the high temperature will damage the finish on them. Also, remember to never use caustic oven-cleaning chemicals or oven liners if you have a self-cleaning oven.

How long should a self-cleaning oven stay on?

Depending on how dirty the oven is, the self-cleaning cycle can take anything from one and a half hours to three hours. A slight odor may also be emitted the first few times the oven is cleaned.

Do you have to turn off a self-cleaning oven?

The oven will automatically turn itself off when the cleaning cycle is over, but you won’t be able to open it until it has cooled down completely.


The self-cleaning feature available on modern ovens is a great and convenient option to help you keep your oven clean without the stress and hassle of doing it yourself.

You just need to make sure you adhere to the safety standards outlined in your user manual and follow instructions to the letter to use this feature safely.

As with everything automatic, you actually need to make sure you keep an eye on things to make sure there are no problems associated with their use.