Catalytic Liners: Everything You Need To Know
Catalytic liners can be found in many quality cookers, but what are they and what do they do?
These add-ons sound fancy and claim to make cleaning your oven easier, but you’re a smart consumer who likes to know what you’re buying into. I understand, and aim to clear up the confusion with this quick guide to catalytic liners.
What are self-cleaning ovens?
Normally, cleaning the oven is a daunting chore. Burnt-on spills and food particles stick to the sides, requiring noxious chemicals and an hour of scrubbing to remove. Self-cleaning ovens offer an alternative to this loathsome routine.
There are two types of self-cleaning ovens: catalytic and pyrolytic.
Both methods work under the same basic principle, absorbing or containing food messes until the self-cleaning cycle begins. When this process begins, ovens reach high temperatures which in turn soften food messes or even turns them to ash.
The result is an easier mess to clean with no scrubbing required.
What are catalytic liners?
Catalytic ovens (those fitted with catalytic liners) are a type of self-cleaning oven. Made from enamel, they are designed to absorb grease and create a non-stick surface for food spills.
Catalytic liners are sometimes called “continuous cleaning” because they tend to look clean even after regular use. That’s because messes are actually being absorbed into the treated surface of the liner.
As such, the liners get “full”, and it’s suggested that you run the self-cleaning cycle once a month to keep liners in working order.
How do you use catalytic liners?
At lower cooking temperatures, catalytic liners simply trap grease and debris. When run at temperatures above 200°C, however, captured grease oxidises and is burned off. This process takes place whenever the oven runs over 200°C, even when you’re cooking.
Still, it’s recommended to run catalytic ovens at 200-250°C for an hour once a month to facilitate this oxidisation. Once the process is over, the resulting ash and softened food residue is easy to wipe away with a damp cloth.
Are catalytic liners safe?
It’s natural to wonder if they emit toxic fumes or create other dangers during their self-cleaning process. Are they safe to use around your family?
The answer is yes, catalytic liners and their self-cleaning cycle are safe to use in your home and around children and pets.
Despite some rumors, the materials used to create catalytic liners’ porous finish (high metals and non-volatile binders) do not create dangerous fumes at 250°C or even at higher temperatures. It can even be argued that catalytic liners are safer than plain enamel liners, which require foul-smelling chemicals to clean.
Catalytic Liners vs Enamel Lining
Enamel oven lining, often called easy-clean enamel, is not to be confused with catalytic liners. Instead of being absorbed, food debris simply sits on top of enamel lining, waiting to be wiped away.
On the upside, enamel makes messes easier to clean up by offering a relatively non-stick surface… IF it’s kept clean. Let a layer of gunk build up and the surface becomes an absolute grease magnet. This leads to the classic scrubbing and screaming associated with typical oven cleaning. You typically find enamel lining in lower-end cookers.
Catalytic Liners vs Pyrolytic Liners
As an alternative, self-cleaning ovens may instead use pyrolytic liners. Unlike catalytic liners, pyrolytic liners don’t absorb grease or food spills. Pyrolytic liners work instead by catching messes and later burning them to ash during a 500°C, hours-long cleaning cycle.
The cleaning cycle for pyrolytic liners is both longer and at a much higher temperature, but is arguably more effective. Even tough stains and large burnt-on spills are turned to ash, where catalytic liners may just soften the mess.
Which is better? Your preference ultimately decides the answer.
Catalytic liners look better when they’re “dirty” and can be activated during normal cooking, making them easy to maintain. Compared to to the pyrolytic cleaning cycle, catalytic cleaning requires less time and energy. Yu” also find they are also less expensive than pyrolytic liners.
On the downside, some ovens only come with two or three liners, leaving the back or ceiling for manual scrubbing. Also, failing to maintain your catalytic liners may cause them to become ineffective and ultimately need replacing.
Pyrolytic cleaning is less efficient than catalytic cleaning, but no one can argue with its effectiveness. Everything in the oven will be burnt to a carbon crisp during the 4-hour, 500°C self-cleaning cycle. Clean with warm, soapy water and your pyrolytic liners look brand new!
Of course, pyrolytic liners are expensive, and regularly running their long cleaning cycle is a hassle. At the end of the day, which type of liner you prefer depends on your budget and patience.
Do you need catalytic liners?
Ovens are Stone Age technology, and somehow our ancestors all survived without catalytic liners.
Do you need them? No. Do they make life easier? Yes.
If you hate the chore of scrubbing your oven, or forego it altogether because the thought alone is too much to bare… well, you’re not alone, and catalytic liners are here to help. If you can afford the upfront expense when buying your cooker, they are well worth the investment.