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How Does a Steam Clean Oven Work?

by Albert Lee Appliance

A person using the steam clean feature on the Café CTS70DP2NS1 oven

At a Glance:

What is a Steam Clean Oven?

Do Steam Clean Ovens Really Work?

Steam Clean vs Self Clean Oven

Recommended Ovens with Steam Clean Settings

Why Trust Us?

Cleaning the inside of our oven is not a job we necessarily love to do, but it’s one that simply can’t be ignored. Thankfully, there are some great cleaning features in ovens that make this unbearable job a bit easier. Read along for information about steam clean ovens, what they are, how to use them, and what brands offer the best steam cleaning ovens.

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What is a Steam Clean Oven?

A steam clean oven is an oven that uses water and high heat to soften debris and spills from the inside of the oven. Adding about a cup of water to the bottom of a steam-clean oven and activating the “Steam Clean” feature allows the oven to go to work creating steam from the added moisture and high heat setting. Steam clean is a great maintenance feature for keeping your oven looking clean while you’re in between deep clean cycles. Additionally, not having to use harsh chemicals is a big incentive for households that want to go green.

How Do I Use Steam Clean on My Oven?

 A person pouring water into the GE JTS3000SNSS wall oven

Wondering “How to steam clean oven?” Well, the process is simple, and we’ve broken it down step by step for you! Take a look.

Step 1: Remove Racks

Start by removing any racks, trays, or other accessories from the inside of your oven. Typically, these need to be cleaned separately, and in some cases, cleaning them together with an oven’s self-cleaning cycle can result in unwanted damage.

Step 2: Select Steam Clean Setting

Next, you’ll want to select the steam clean setting on your oven and allow your oven to start doing the work. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's recommendations, as some models ask that you add water after setting the cycle, and some ask that you add water before.

Step 3: Add Water

Refer to the owner’s manual for your oven, and add the directed amount of water. To avoid any mineral or water build-up, be sure to use distilled water when steam cleaning your oven. Make sure to check where you should be placing the water inside your oven, as some models can hold water in the bottom of the oven, and some require you to place an oven-safe bowl or pot in the bottom to fill with water. If you notice that your oven is extra grimy, add a splash of vinegar to the water for some extra cleaning power.

Step 4: Wipe Down

Once the cycle is complete and the oven has completely cooled down, take an old sponge or rage to wipe up the grime that the steam has loosened up.

Step 5: Additional Scrubbing

If you notice stubborn messes that didn’t loosen up during the steam cleaning process, make a mixture of water and baking soda, and scrub the mess with a non-abrasive brush. You can also use your appliance’s recommended oven cleaner if desired, but be sure to read the manual to be sure oven cleaners are safe. Some ovens have protective enamel coating, which can become damaged when oven cleaners are applied to them.

Do Steam Clean Ovens Really Work?

Steam clean ovens are great options if you want to maintain a clean oven while you’re in between deep cleans. Steam clean ovens work well at preventing the build-up of grease and grime, and get the job done relatively quickly. Most steam clean cycles run for about 30 minutes, so it's an easy option to choose while you’re cleaning up from dinner and notice the start of build-up inside your oven. So, while they’re not the most ideal for large oven messes, steam clean ovens offer versatile cleaning abilities for those smaller, “in-between” moments before a deep clean is needed.

Steam Clean vs Self Clean Oven

 A side by side of a cleaned and uncleaned oven surface

There are some major differences between self clean and steam clean ovens. Let’s take a look at those differences, as well as the pros and cons of both.

As stated before, steam clean ovens use water and high heat to loosen up grime and grease from inside your oven. You simply place water in the bottom of the oven, turn on the setting, and allow the high heat to create steam from the added moisture. Self clean ovens, on the other hand, use extreme heat to burn off the leftover food and residue from inside your oven—in some cases, up to 900°F.

Steam clean ovens are fairly odorless, while self-clean ovens can create an undesirable odor throughout your home. In addition, self-clean ovens generally take 2–6 hours to complete a cycle, while steam clean ovens generally only take 30 minutes to two hours. Self clean ovens also emit toxic chemicals and odors that are not safe for children and pets to be around, so be sure to keep them away when you are using the self clean option.

Pros of Steam Clean Ovens

✅ Faster cleaning time

✅ No chemicals necessary

✅ Doesn’t heat much or emit foul odors

✅ Eco-friendly (doesn’t require high temperatures like self-clean)

✅ Options for natural cleaning methods like vinegar or lemon juice


Cons of Steam Clean Ovens

Requires a thorough wipe-down afterward to remove debris

Not as effective on larger messes

Needs to be used more often to be more effective

Oven walls don’t get cleaned as well as the bottom


Pros of Self Clean Ovens

✅ True deep-clean capabilities, efficient at removing stubborn residue

✅ A gentle wipe-down can clean out the debris effectively

✅ Safety-lock feature to prevent accidents


Cons of Self Clean Ovens

✖ Longer cleaning times

Can emit foul odors and chemicals into the air

High temperature uses more energy and can damage the inside of the oven if overused

Potentially dangerous for pets or children


Related: Don’t Let Your Oven’s Self Clean Feature Ruin the Holidays

Recommended Ovens with Steam Clean Settings

These days, several oven manufacturers offer steam clean settings on popular models, meaning it’s easier than ever to find an alternative to a self-cleaning oven. There are plenty of brands to explore, but through our research, these are the top brands we recommend.

GE Steam Clean Ovens

GE offers steam clean ovens in gas, electric, or dual-fuel ranges, and the process is relatively simple. When you choose a GE steam clean oven, you get the convenience and versatility of quick, 30-minute cleans when you’re in a pinch. Simply place 1 cup of water in the bottom of the cooled oven, and select the Steam Clean Cycle. Once the 30-minute cycle is complete, wipe out moisture and debris with a soft cloth. It’s as simple as that!

✔ Recommended: GE® 30" Stainless Steel Single Electric Wall Oven

 Front view of the GE JTS3000SNSS oven

Shop This GE Steam Clean Oven

This GE steam clean oven also doubles as a self clean oven for when you need a good, deep clean on pesky messes or build-up, offering you both cleaning options for the ultimate versatility. With the Never Scrub heavy-duty racks, you can easily leave them in for both the self clean and steam clean cycles, because they are built to withstand high temperatures without compromising the quality of the racks themselves. In addition, you get innovative features like Scan to Cook and Built-In Wi-Fi for an elevated culinary experience.

Featured GE JTS3000SNSS review: Great oven with premium features at the base price. The app really compliments the usage of the oven.”

Whirlpool Steam Clean Ovens

Whirlpool offers steam clean ovens that are also pretty effective at loosening grime and grease from the interior of your oven. Whirlpool steam clean ovens get the job done in about 1–1.5 hours and typically max out at temperatures around 400ºF. To use your Whirlpool steam clean oven, you’ll want to remove the racks, add 1 cup of water to the floor of your oven, shut the door, select the steam clean setting, and allow the cycle to run through. Once the cycle is finished, Whirlpool recommends wiping out residual water and debris with a wet cloth.

✔Recommended: Whirlpool® 30" Stainless Steel Electric Built In Single Oven

 Front view of the Whirlpool WOS51EC0HS wall oven

Shop This Whirlpool Steam Clean Oven

This Whirlpool® 30" oven offers remote access to keep you connected to your oven from anywhere in the house. Whether you want to monitor cooking progress, send cooking instructions, or check the self-clean or steam-clean cycle, you can easily do so right from your smartphone or tablet. With the Steam Clean setting, you can keep your oven looking brand new without the need for frequent self clean cycles.

Featured Whirlpool WOS51EC0HS review: I got this oven a month ago and love it. The features are wonderful and I am baking all the time now!!”

Frigidaire Steam Clean Ovens

Frigidaire offers a steam clean cycle on certain oven models, and the process is relatively the same as other steam clean ovens. With Frigidaire steam clean ovens, you’ll want to start by removing the racks and scraping any loose debris from the bottom of the oven. Add one cup of water to the bottom of the oven, and then close the door and select the steam clean feature. Allow the cycle to run and then wipe out the inside of your oven. Frigidaire also recommends placing a paper towel down in front of the oven to catch any loose moisture or debris that comes out when wiping.

✔Recommended: Frigidaire Gallery 30" Smudge-Proof® Stainless Steel Single Electric Wall Oven

 Front view of the Frigidaire Gallery GCWS3067AF wall oven

Shop This Frigidaire Gallery Steam Clean Oven

Make your favorite dishes using Frigidaire’s No Preheat baking and Air Fry, or even the Slow Cook feature. Once it’s all said and done, use this Frigidaire oven’s steam clean feature to get a quick, 30-minute clean to the inside of your oven, perfect for small spills or messes. When your oven needs a deeper cleaning, choose the Self-Clean cycle for the ultimate cleaning flexibility.


Featured Frigidaire Gallery GCWS3067AF review: Very happy with this product! Have used multiple cook settings and all work exceptionally well. It is very intuitive and the programming is easy to use as well, which is nice. No annoying sub-menus or hard to find options to set your cook time/temp/style the way you want it.”

Related: 7 Best Air Fryer Convection Ovens | Buying Guide + Reviews

Samsung Steam Clean Ovens

Samsung has an impressive line of steam clean ovens that make it easier to keep the inside of your oven looking fresh and clean. They even have models that come with a descaling feature, which removes minerals from the interior part of the oven that affect the taste of food. To use your Samsung Steam Clean oven, start by emptying any racks or accessories, and pour a cup of tap water into the Steam Clean tray. If your oven doesn’t have a steam clean tray, simply pour the water into the bottom of the oven. Close the door and select the Steam Clean setting, then press start. Allow the cycle to run and then wait for the oven to cool down and wipe away water and debris with a sponge or dry cloth.

Note that some models come with what's called a reservoir and if that’s the case, the Samsung oven’s steam clean function will be labeled as Hybrid Clean, so be sure to check the user manual and follow instructions on how to properly run that cycle.

✔Recommended: Samsung 30" Stainless Steel Single Electric Wall Oven

 Front view of the Samsung NV51CG600SSR wall oven

Shop This Samsung Steam Clean Oven

This Samsung steam clean oven runs a speedy 20-minute cycle to give the inside of your oven a quick clean after small spills or messes, or choose the self clean cycle for a high-temperature deep clean. Enjoy professional features like Air Sous Vide cooking, No Preheat Air Fry, steam baking, and more. Stay in the know with the SmartThings, and easily search recipes, manage your oven’s power usage, select cooking modes, and preheat your oven, all from the convenience of your iPhone.

Cafe Steam Clean Ovens

Cafe is a sister brand of GE, so the process of using the steam clean oven is fairly similar to regular GE products. Start by waiting for your oven to cool down, use a cloth to wipe out any loose debris, and then pour one cup of water onto the oven floor. Select the Steam Clean cycle and allow it to run for the full 30 minutes, and then, once the cycle is complete, simply wipe out the remaining water and debris with a dry cloth or sponge.

✔Recommended: Café™ Professional 30" Stainless Steel Single Electric Wall Oven

 Front view of the Café CTS70DP2NS1 wall oven

Shop This Cafe Steam Clean Oven

This Cafe Professional 30" wall oven offers true versatility in every sense of the word. From unlimited design options to versatile cooking features, this Cafe steam clean oven makes every culinary dream come to life. Enjoy a full-color display that brings light and life to your kitchen, Air Fry for healthier dinner alternatives, No Preheat for less dinnertime hassle, and true convection for melt-in-your-mouth baked goods. Of course, we can’t forget about the Steam Clean feature that is there for you whenever a mess is made, easily evaporating any small spills or accidents.

Featured Café CTS70DP2NS1 review: “I was hesitant to buy this with the price tag but it had a great rating on consumer reports and the next option had no bells or whistles, so I spent the few hundred more and bought this one. It is so easy to use my teenager can use it. It cooks evenly and perfect each time. I also love the sounds with the timer, warm up and 1 minute notification, it almost spa like sounding.”

Steam clean ovens are a great way to keep up with oven maintenance when you simply don’t have time to run a full self clean cycle or just want to give the inside of your oven a quick clean. At Albert Lee, we carry a wide range of steam clean ovens for you to choose from, including models from the brands listed above, and much more. Shop for your favorite brands and features with Albert Lee’s impressive steam clean oven selection!

Why Trust Albert Lee?

Since 1939, Albert Lee Appliance, a three-generation, family-owned business, continues to grow and serve the greater Seattle area with quality products you can count on and service you can trust. We are proud to have served this community for so long and wouldn’t be here without our loyal customers. There is a reason why we are Washington’s largest independent appliance dealer, and it’s not a secret. Simply put: We have the experience. We have been the original appliance experts for over eight decades (and counting).

Shop Steam Clean Ovens at Albert Lee

At Albert Lee Appliance, we provide quality name-brand appliances for great prices. Shop cooking appliances online or visit us today at one of our six locations in Puget Sound, WA. In the meantime, browse our website to shop Albert Lee appliance sales and check out Albert Lee appliance reviews online to ensure every purchase is an informed one. More available than ever, our experts at Albert Lee Appliance are always happy to help you learn more about our steam clean oven lineup, whether you call us or use our online chat feature. Contact us today!

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