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2davidc8's avatar

Is it safe to leave aluminum foil in the oven during a self-cleaning cycle? Will the aluminum ignite, burn, or melt?

Asked by 2davidc8 (4173 points ) September 7th, 2011

I have lined the bottom of my kitchen oven with foil liner (that can be purchased at grocery stores, hardware stores, or Bed, Bath and Beyond). I was wondering what would happen if I forget to take it out before I run the self-cleaning cycle.

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9 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I am not sure what would happen.I think the melting point of aluminum foil is a much higher temperature than your oven can get.
I like to stay away from the stove.I am much happier that way. :)

tedd's avatar

I actually burn aluminum in high temp furnaces at work (I’m a chemist). The melting point of Al is over 1200 degrees F, which I’m doubting your oven will get to. Where you could have a problem is the aluminum foil is likely not pure aluminum, it’s probably a low purity alloy. But even so I would assume the melting point would be well above what most conventional kitchen ovens will reach.

(we melt it at between 2000 and 4000 degrees F… it’s pretty fun :) )

Cruiser's avatar

I wouldn’t…plus there are coatings on most foils that will degrade at the temp levels of self-cleaning cycle and you may have a charred mess stuck to the bottom of your stove. Once that happens you are screwed as all that I have read says to NOT use the self-cleaning cycle if there is foil stuck in there.

marinelife's avatar

The melting point for aluminum foil is 660 degrees C (or 1220 degrees F). Since self-cleaning ovens operate at 900 degrees F, you should be OK.

AmWiser's avatar

I will never leave aluminum foil on the bottom of an oven floor again. I damaged my (self-cleaning) oven floor by leaving foil on it after cooking a juicy pie. The service man told me I voided my warranty for repair because it states in the manual not to put foil on the oven floor. (Yep! It was right there in black an white). I had to purchase a new oven floor ($70.00). So if your heating element is directly beneath the oven floor, be very careful of leaving foil on it. Also, it could be a fire hazard.

You know they don’t make ovens like they used to. My mom always kept a foil pan on the bottom of her oven.:)

marinelife's avatar

@AmWiser Good to know. So, @2davidc8, don’t do it.

john65pennington's avatar

Leaving the foil on the oven floor is safe in this cycle.

This is according to my wife, who cleans our oven at least twice a year.

YARNLADY's avatar

I wouldn’t do it, because fumes will still be generated, even though it doesn’t reach melting temperature.

2davidc8's avatar

Well! There seems to be some disagreement among the answers here.

To clarify, the “aluminum foil” I’m talking about here is kind of oven liner that can be purchased at such places as hardware stores, home improvement stores, Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, etc. that is intended for use on the oven floor, perhaps to catch drippings, spillings, cake batter overflows, and what not. In my case, I have an electric oven, and the foil liner can be placed between the bottom heating element and the oven floor. For convenience, I leave it in there all the time. My concern was that I might forget to remove it before running the self-cleaning cycle.

I’m assuming the liner is aluminum, since it seems very similar to aluminum foil, only thicker. But as someone pointed out, aluminum is extremely reactive, so this would not be pure aluminum, but aluminum oxide and/or some sort of alloy. Though the melting point of aluminum is 1220 degrees F and the oven only reaches 875 F during the self-cleaning cycle, I can’t rely on this fact, since I don’t have pure aluminum. Plus, I’ve read somewhere that aluminum will ignite or burn before it melts.

@AmWiser and @john65pennington are two folks who seem to have had actual experiences with this, and they differ. Anyone else?

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