Cooking or baking food in your oven is a wonderful convenience but, try as hard as you might to avoid it, food spills. Cakes bubble over, grease spills out, and your oven is left dirty, smelling, and sometimes smoking from leftover debris. A self-cleaning oven can be a real time saver as far as the floor, ceiling, and walls of your oven go, but what about the racks? Dirty ovens include dirty oven racks, so read on to learn everything you need to know about how to clean oven racks.
Products to Clean Oven Racks
There are a number of great products you can purchase for oven cleaning and even specifically for cleaning your oven racks. Most oven, grill and rack cleaners can emit harmful toxins so make sure that you can clean your oven racks outside, where there’s a lot of open space and ventilated air. Lay down newspapers or old rags so as not to harm your grass, and always use rubber gloves to protect your hands. Let the product sit for at least ten minutes and then scrub away. Using a soft sponge, old toothbrush, or clean rag will make the work easier without harming the chrome on the racks. Spray the racks off thoroughly with a garden hose and you’re good to go.
You don’t have to buy specialty products or work with potentially harmful chemicals and toxins when cleaning oven racks. If you want to learn how to clean oven racks easily, at home, with common household products, read on.
DIY Processes to Clean Oven Racks
1. Dryer Sheets and Dish Soap
Perhaps the simplest answer to how to clean oven racks is using dryer sheets, a half cup of dish soap, and a bathtub. Lay a handful of dryer sheets on the floor of your tub, making sure to cover the entire floor. Place your oven racks on top, then fill the bathtub with warm water until the racks are completely submerged, toss in half a cup of dish soap then walk away. Let the soap and dryer sheets work their magic overnight and drain the tub the next morning. Using this method, there’s no harmful chemicals or offensive smells, and you can use the dryer sheets to scrub off any remaining food particles or debris.
2. Vinegar and Baking Soda
If dryer sheets aren’t easily available to you and you’re still wondering how to clean oven racks, try the classic combination of vinegar and baking soda. The chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar that is such a hit at school science fairs is also a great way to clean your oven racks. Place your racks in an empty bathtub, cover in baking soda, then drown with vinegar. Let the bubbling die down before adding enough hot water to just cover the racks. Again, let this product work overnight, then drain the water and scrub clean with a sponge, towel, or old toothbrush. Rinse the racks off in the bathtub and return to your oven.
3. Ammonia and Trash Bags
If you’re looking for how to clean your oven racks with a little less scrubbing, the ammonia in the trash bag method is a good solution, though it does have other drawbacks. You’ll need ammonia, a few large trash bags, a garbage can, a garden hose, and protective hand and eye gear. Place one oven rack in each garbage bag, pour in half a quart of ammonia, then tie the trash bag tight. Place the whole thing in the trash can, outside, overnight. You can lay the bags flat so that the ammonia touches more of the rack, but you don’t need to. The fumes released from the ammonia overnight will penetrate every inch of the grimy oven rack. The next morning, wearing your protective gear and clothes you don’t mind ruining, remove the racks and spray down with a hose. You should see the grime come right off. Let them dry on a clean towel outside, then return them to the oven, ready for use.
4. Dishwasher Soap
Figuring out how to clean oven racks easily is sometimes as simple as a soak in the tub. First, lay an old towel down on your bathtub floor. This will prevent the oven racks from scratching the tub. Put your oven racks on top of the towels, then fill the tub with hot water until the racks are covered. Make sure the water is as hot as you can get it as the heat helps to break down the soap. Add a large scoop of powder laundry or dish detergent, or an equivalent amount of liquid detergent, and let the concoction work overnight. Drain the tub the next morning, scrub any remaining grease or grime off with a sponge or toothbrush, then rinse clean. Simple, easy, and much better smelling than the chemicals that come in the store-bought products.
Tips and Warnings when Cleaning Oven Racks
- Self-cleaning ovens can harm your oven racks, so make sure to always remove them before starting a cycle.
- If you are using ammonia or other chemicals, always protect your eyes and hands, and make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area so you don’t breathe anything in.
- Use a towel or four sponges on the corners of your racks when using any bathtub method so that you don’t scratch the tub.
Clean Your Oven Racks Regularly
Oven racks are often forgotten, but the grime and grease baked into them can affect the way your food cooks and tastes. Use these tips on how to clean oven racks easily and that casserole that bubbled over yesterday will be a thing of the past.