One of the most common cleaning methods regarding cast iron is the self-cleaning oven. This method has always been publicized on YouTube, magazines, and television shows. Many cast iron collectors frown upon this method because it's extremely too dangerous. There are more cons than pros.
Here are some helpful tips in what CAN happen when you use the self-cleaning option.
When the self-cleaning option is used the oven becomes way too hot and can cause significant damage to the motherboard and the igniter. I blew out my igniter and it cost me $200 to repair the burnt piece. My $15 cast iron find, turned into a $215 find.
In my recent investigation, I found that this is basically a sales pitch that oven manufacturers made to get their product sold. Most consumers do not want to clean their oven with Easy Off. The temperature in the oven can reach 900 degrees. That is way TOO hot! Especially for cast iron. Plus, cast iron is a great heat conductor. Having more than one in your oven increases the temperature in your oven.
Fire is another risk. I came close to losing my oven to a fire. When the heat starts to burn the crud off on your cast iron, it turns to ash. I came close to having a fire in our oven because the ash was settling on to the base of the oven, resulting in a flare. I turned the oven off and watched the embers die because I was terrified of having a house fire.
Another danger in using the self-cleaning option is carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is nothing to play around with especially if you have young children in your home. Pets can die easily due to the smoke and other toxins that are released from the oven.
What is the self-cleaning option doing to my cast iron? If you have a tiny crack in your cast iron, be prepared to see a much larger crack or two half pieces of cast iron. Heat can expand and crack under intense heat. The bottom of your pan can pop out causing your pan to spin and not sit completely flat. Cast iron spinners ruin the value of cast iron fast.