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In the past few years, new technology has made it easier than ever to clean an oven. The latest update debuted at LG's CES booth this year. Called Aqua Clean Enamel, it's a new coating for oven interiors that is supposed to shed stains after twenty minutes of steam and a light scrub, and it's debuting on some ovens in LG's 2013 lineup.
First, some history: Before the self-cleaning oven debuted in 1963, our forebears would have to strap on some '70s-NBA-style kneepads and put their backs into it with some soap, water, and elbow grease. When pyrolitic self cleaning came along, it was nearly as nasty, heating the oven up to temperatures hot enough to scorch off culinary accidents, at the same time rendering the oven useless for hours and stinking up the whole house.
Last year, Whirlpool debuted AquaLift, a proprietary enamel coating that repels water. It allows users to pour some water into the bottom of the oven and use a self-clean setting that gets just hot enough to make steam that'll get beneath where the stains adhere to the oven. Once the cycle is done, consumers only have to run a sponge over the inside of the oven to wipe off splatters of food and grease.
There's only one major drawback: The new coating isn't compatible with a pyrolitic self-clean, so it's harder to tackle the real tough stains. That's where LG's new solution is different. Though it uses a coating that sounds quite similar to AquaLift (LG hasn't yet given our science team any details on the coating's composition), it's also compatible with a traditional high-heat self-clean.
Though we haven't seen the science, we did get to see a demonstration, wherein an LG rep offered up stains on an EasyClean coated piece of enamel and a traditional enamel piece. On both samples, he poured boiling water on a stain of unknown provenance to simulate the steam the oven would produce. A little bit of sponge effort wiped away the stain on the EasyClean coated enamel, but the stain remained the same on the standard sample.
Since we haven't performed any testing ourselves, we can't really speak to how well LG's new enamel really works. However, we hope to get an EasyClean equipped oven in our labs soon. If it actually performs as advertised, it could result in cleaner ovens the world over.