How Technology Makes Combi Oven Cleaning Easier

The perfect mini combi oven for your needs won’t stay perfect without regular cleaning and maintenance.

The water required for steam production can clean as well as cook, so it’s used in manufacturers’ self-cleaning systems. In steam cleaning, steam is first injected into the cavity to loosen grease; then a cleaning chemical is used. Other combi manufacturers’ cleaning systems use water and detergent rather than steam. Some combi manufacturers offer different levels of cleaning cycles, from “light” to “heavy.”

Some combis come clean with a drop-in tablet. Others use liquid cleaner dispensed into the combi cavity from an attached bottle through a tube, without the need for staff to ever touch the cleaning product. Many manufacturers don’t require their customers to use proprietary cleaning products, instead providing customers a list of sources for the approved type of cleaner.

In some manufacturers’ combis, a scoop of descaling powder may be added at the beginning of the cleaning cycle as needed to attack scale in the unit’s plumbing. At least one manufacturer combines cleaning and descaling chemicals into a single tablet. Other systems call for descaling to be done separately, on a different schedule as needed.

One company says its “intelligent” self-cleaning program can detect how much scale is building up, so the descaling schedule can be adjusted as needed. This combi also can be programmed to cycle through self-cleaning when the restaurant is closed.

In addition to the daily automatic cleaning of the cavity, manufacturers recommend a monthly manual cleaning. “You wipe the cavity, the fans and the wire mesh screen, and that’s it,” says one manufacturer’s manager of combi sales.

Beyond the regular cleaning handled by staff, most manufacturers recommend contracting with a servicer for scheduled maintenance—typically once a year, but twice a year for units that run many hours every day. “A combi is like an auto,” says a corporate chef. “Just like you don’t run a car without changing the oil regularly, having planned maintenance annually will keep your oven in good shape and extend its life.”

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