My Oven Is Smoking – What Do I Do?

First, whatever the reason, a smoking oven is a problem and should be taken seriously. If you see fire or if you are unable to get the smoke to stop by turning off the oven, stop what you’re doing and call 911. 

Causes of Oven Smoking

If that’s not the case, keep reading. Aside from making you look like you’re clueless AF in the kitchen, a smoking oven leaves a lingering odor and can indicate much bigger issues with your oven. How to fix the problems depends on a number of factors including your oven type, cleaning practices, and oven’s state of repair. Let’s look at the causes so you can clear the air for good.

New Oven Coating

If your oven is new, factory coatings are the most common issue. During manufacturing, it’s common practice for oven parts to be treated with an oil-based coating. When the oven runs for the first time, this coating may cause smoke, which is why manufacturers suggest a ‘burn-in’ where you run an empty oven on a high setting for up to an hour. Once this is done, the smoke shouldn’t be an issue.

Cleaning Residue

If your oven smokes immediately after cleaning, it’s not because it was that good, it’s because there is a chemical residue that wasn’t fully wiped off. The burning of these chemicals may cause smoke that is unhealthy as well as unpleasant. To avoid this be sure to wipe the cleaned oven with a damp sponge and clean cloth to remove any residue.

Food Positioning

Placing food too close to the heating elements is yet another way that you may end up with unwanted smoke. This may also cause a fire. A best practice is to place food the same distance between the bottom of the oven and the top. This ensures that food cooks more evenly and minimizes the potential of creating a burnt offering.

A Faulty Element

When a heating element goes out in an electric oven it often creates smoke and may even produce a buzzing sound. If this happens, a repairman should be called as this is NOT a honey-do. If you have a gas oven, there may be excessive gas pressure in the heating element. This can cause smoke, too. If this is a concern, contact your gas company to see if the gas pressure needs to be regulated.

Residue from Previous Meals

Of course, the most common reason for a smoking oven is because it is too dirty. This usually happens to me. Grease splattered on the walls and floor, bits of food, and other residues will burn up or char and turn to ash while making a smokey mess in your kitchen.

Clean Up Your Act

Cleanliness is next to godliness when taking care of your kitchen. Whether you use the self-cleaning feature on your oven or a manual method to clean it — clean it.

Cleaning an Oven Manually

There are a number of oven-cleaning products on the market to choose from. These typically contain harsh chemicals so be sure to wear gloves while cleaning and open a door or window to bring in the fresh air. To clean, spray the interior of the oven and wait 20-30 minutes. Wipe the residue, rinsing the sponge or cleaning towel after each wipe. Be sure to get all of the residue off the surface, rinse with water, and wipe down to prevent smoking.

A Note About Self-Cleaning Ovens

If your oven has a self-cleaning feature, use it often to get rid of grease and burnt food. Make sure to follow the instructions from the manufacturer. Cycles may run up to 4-5 hours.

Preventing Future Problems

‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’ or in this case, a fortune in repair bills.

  • Clean your oven after using it often.
  • When cooking steak or other broiled foods, place the broiling tray farther from the heating element.
  • Place a pan or aluminum foil under the food being cooked to catch drippings and crumbs. Just don’t completely cover the rack, or you’ll block the airflow and cause other issues.

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