The self-cleaning option on newer Whirlpool oven models means no more spraying harsh chemicals and scrubbing stuck-on food. The feature heats the oven to much hotter temperatures than baking or broiling, effectively burning those tough food spots into powdery ash. Self-cleaning takes two hours for lightly soiled ovens, or up to four hours for heavily soiled ovens.

Some Whirlpool ovens also have a steam cleaning option that uses hot water to soften stuck-on food so you can wipe it right off. The steam option only takes about 20 minutes to complete.

Things You'll Need

Self-Cleaning Option

Before starting the self-cleaning cycle, remove everything from inside the oven and oven drawer, including the oven racks and any stored pans. The racks are best hand washed because the high heat discolors them and makes them more difficult to slide. Wash them in the sink with mild dish detergent and a sponge or a steel wool soap pad.

To make self-cleaning easier, wipe up any loose spills or debris inside the oven with a damp cloth or sponge—no need to scrub.

Clean the frame around the oven door and oven front—the front-facing part of the oven that the door touches when closed—with mild dish detergent and a sponge or a steel wool soap pad. Do not clean or otherwise disturb the gasket around the oven front, because this can damage the seal and affect the oven’s functionality later.

Close the oven door securely. Remove everything from the top of the range, particularly anything that blocks the oven vent or is made of plastic. Open a window to vent the room, or turn on the exhaust fan above the stove.

Press the “Auto Clean” button on the oven’s control panel; the button might say “Precise Clean” on some Whirlpool models. For double oven Whirlpool models, press “1” to clean the upper oven or “2” to clean the lower oven. The self-cleaning feature can only clean one oven at a time, with a mandatory 12-hour waiting time before you can clean the other.

Press the “up” or “down” arrows on the control panel to adjust the cleaning time. After making the oven selection, the display panel presets to an automatic self-cleaning duration of usually 3 1/2 hours for medium-soiled ovens. For lightly-soiled ovens, set cleaning time to 2 to 2 1/2 hours. For heavily-soiled ovens, the upper range is 4 to 4 1/2 hours. Some models also offer a delayed-time option so you can opt to start the cycle later.

Press the “Start” button to begin the self-cleaning cycle. The door will lock automatically—”Locked” lights up on the display panel.

The oven cools down for the last 30 minutes of the cleaning cycle and unlocks at the end. Allow the oven to cool to room temperature before attempting to open or touch it.

Wipe out the oven with a damp sponge to remove any ash residue left from the cleaning process. If any stuck-on debris remains, scrub it with an abrasive steel wool soap pad. A sprinkle of baking and a few squirts of apple cider vinegar can help lift stubborn debris. Replace the oven racks and continue with normal use.

Steam-Cleaning Option

Remove the oven racks and clean them separately by hand. Clean the door frame and oven front by hand with a soapy sponge or steel wool pad. Wipe up any loose debris in the oven with a sponge.

Press the “Steam Clean” button on the control panel. Press “1” or “2” to select the upper or lower oven in double oven models.

Pour 4 ounces distilled water into the bottom of the oven and shut the door. Distilled water works best because it won’t leave mineral deposits on the oven surface.

Press “Start” to begin the steam cleaning cycle. Wait for the beep to signal the end of the cycle, usually after about 20 minutes.

After the cycle, wipe up any remaining water from inside the oven with a sponge or cleaning cloth. Whirlpool recommends a non-scratch copper scrubbing pad to clean stubborn spots.