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Ovens

Get rid of chemical residue by 'burning in' your new oven

Every new oven owner should do this -- at least once.

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

If you've recently bought a new oven, you may have noticed an odd smell that filled your house when you turned it on for the first time.

As alarming as it may be, it's completely normal, so long as the odor is oily or of something burning (and not gas -- that's rather more serious).

Learn what causes the smell and how to get rid of it before using your new oven for cooking.

What's that smell?

According to Samsung, the burning smell caused by a new oven is due to the "insulation surrounding the oven cavity emitting odors the first few times it is exposed to the extreme heat inside of the oven." This is the smell of a bonding agent curing. Also, if you fail to remove some of the zip ties used to secure the inserts during transit before turning it on for the first time, you may also be smelling the plastic melting and burning.

Appliance maker Belling, on the other hand, explains that the smell and light smoke you may see on the first use is from a protective coating of oil that is used during the manufacturing process.

Whatever the case, new ovens smell. The best way to get rid of the smell is to run a proper burn-in cycle. It's recommended that you not cook any food prior to a burn-in, as the smell (and potentially the taste) can stick with your food.

How to break in your new oven

No matter what type of oven you have, the first thing you should do is remove any zip or twist ties. Then use warm, soapy water and a washcloth to wipe down any racks and the insides of the oven.

Once you have wiped down all the surfaces inside the oven, it's time to start the burn-in. While instructions may vary from one manufacturer to the next, the premise of every "burn-in" process is the same:

  • Turn on the fan in the ventilation hood and, if possible, open a few nearby windows.
  • Set the oven to high heat, between 400 to 550 degrees Fahrenheit (204 to 288 degrees Celsius).
  • Let the oven run at this temperature for between 30 minutes and an hour.

If the smell persists after the cycle, repeat the process once or twice more. Once you no longer smell oil or a burning odor, allow the oven to fully cool and use a warm, soapy wash cloth to wipe down the inside of the oven a final time.