Pyrolytic, catalytic or steam-cleaning ovens ?

If you bought a new oven, would you be able to answer the question: pyrolytic, catalytic or steam-cleaning oven ? No? You’re not alone! But it is an important question, even if the answer will not determine your choice alone. Pyrolysis, catalysis and steam-cleaning are the three main cleaning modes currently available. They each have their strengths and weaknesses. The explanations and expert advice below will help you to choose the oven best suited to your needs.

Pyrolytic ovens

Pyrolysis is automatic. The oven is self-cleaning.

How it works Even the most inaccessible dirt is eliminated by burning, as the temperature of the oven rises to 500°C. The length of the pyrolytic cleaning cycle can be programmed.

Advantages: A perfect clean. This is the cost complete cleaning mode, because it eliminates fat AND sugar.

Easy. After a pyrolytic clean, you just have to wipe off the fine layer of residual ash left behind by the burnt dirt. The oven is faultlessly clean.

Economical. You can programme the pyrolytic cleaning cycle in off-peak hours, run the pyrolytic cycle immediately after cooking in order to use the heat in the oven, or save energy by adapting the programme to the quantity of dirt in the oven.

Safe. The temperature of the so-called “cold” doors remains below about 60°C during pyrolytic cleaning, and 30°C when the oven is heated to 200°C. The door remains locked until the interior of the oven has cooled down. In this way, the risk of burns is very limited. A cooling fan and reinforced insulation help to protect your kitchen units.

Disadvantages: This type of oven is more expensive than a catalytic model. The heating method demands more insulation and stronger resistance than other ovens, which bump up the price tag.

Catalytic ovens

Catalytic cleaning: the self-degreasing oven.

How it works Ovens with catalytic cleaning can be recognised by their porous interior walls that are rough to the touch. This type of wall absorbs the cooking grease. The catalysis destroys splashes of fat by oxidation when cooking dishes at more than 200°C.

Advantages: Clever and quick. An oven can be cleaned by catalysis by switching it on at maximum temperature for 10 to 15 minutes after each use.

Economical. Catalytic ovens are cheaper than pyrolytic ovens.

Disadvantages: Additional manual cleaning is necessary. You must finish cleaning your catalytic oven with a sponge and a degreasing dishwashing product. Sugar is not reduced to ash, like with pyrolysis. The result is significantly inferior. The catalytic walls have a limited lifespan. Depending on use, they have to be replaced after about 5 years. Aluminium foil, abrasive products or scouring products will cause irreparable damage to your catalytic oven.

Steam-cleaning ovens

Steam cleaning oven

Steam-cleaning, or hydrolysis, is a simple, quick and ecological cleaning aid.

How it works Steam cleaning is a simple process based on the “steam bath” effect, combining evaporation and condensation. The dirt in the oven turns soft and detaches easily, making it easier to clean the oven. Just pour 40 cl of water and a few drops of washing-up liquid onto the floor of the oven and set the programme control to hydrolysis.

Advantages: Simple. Leave for 30 minutes. The dirt can be removed by wiping with a sponge or a cloth.

Economical and ecological. Hydrolysis does not consume much energy.

Disadvantages: You are advised to always clean the oven after use.


 Pyrolytic ovens are simpler to use and more efficient that catalytic ovens, but they cost more in the first place.

Catalytic ovens do not absorb sugar, so they are suited to cooks who don’t bake cakes very often. Do not expect a perfect clean.

Steam-cleaning ovens are ecological and consume little energy. The cleaning method is not the decisive factor when choosing an oven. Uniform heat and controlled cooking are more important.

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