Whether you have a standard oven or a self cleaning model in your home, you’re going to need to learn how to clean oven racks. Well, if your oven has a self clean cycle, you technically could just leave the racks in during the cleaning cycle. Some people, however, have reported that this leaves the racks looking dull. This happens because the high heat level in the cleaning cycle ruins the chrome finish. If that doesn’t bother you, then you can simply leave your oven racks in while your oven cleans itself and boom… you’re done!
One reported issue with this method is that the oven racks can seem very “sticky” afterward, as if they don’t want to slide back and forth. This can be solved by rubbing a tiny bit of vegetable oil on the bottom edges of the rack where it meets the track inside the oven. Don’t put too much! Too much oil can smoke and potentially be a hazard. Be careful and NEVER operate your oven unattended.
Cleaning Racks “The Hard Way”
Now, if you want to maintain the beautiful shine of your racks, then you’re going to have to put in a little bit more elbow grease (no pun intended). Of course, if you clean your oven racks frequently, then you can simply place them in the sink and clean them with normal dishwashing detergent. This will do the trick. But realistically… who cleans their racks very often? Not many do!
There are a few different methods that people have used to cleanse their oven’s racks that have a few months of baked on grime.
Ammonia and Plastic Bags
The first method is pretty common. For this technique you will need the following:
- A large, plastic garbage bag
- A garbage can
- An outdoor location where you can leave the racks overnight
- A hose (connected to water!)
To remove the dirt from your oven racks with this method, you simply place your oven racks in a garbage can, add some ammonia, close the garbage bags tightly, and place into a garbage can. Don’t worry that the racks aren’t resting in the ammonia; the fumes from the ammonia will rise and do their job. Then, place the garbage can outside (VERY important! The fumes are highly dangerous) somewhere away from people, animals, and anything else that could be harmed by ammonia. Let the oven racks sit overnight. The next day, carefully remove the oven racks from the can and plastic bag. Do not get any ammonia on you! Use thick clothes that you don’t mind ruining, gloves, and safety goggles. Spray the oven racks down with a hose, and the previously cooked-on grease will come right off! Some people do report having better results if they lay the racks flat while they are in the plastic bags, so that the ammonia can get to every spot. If you try this, be very careful that the ammonia can’t leak out.
Bathtubs and Soap
For this method you will need:
- A bathtub
- Dishwasher soap
- An old towel or a few old sponges
This strategy will start with placing an old towel down in your bathtub, or a few old sponges in the corners. These are for your oven racks to rest on, so they don’t scratch or otherwise damage your tub. Place your oven racks in your bathtub carefully, on top of the towel or sponges. Next, fill your bathtub with just enough hot water to cover the racks. Then, add a cup of dishwasher soap (the grainy kind, not liquid). Let it soak for at least a few hours – overnight is best. Come back to your tub, get your racks, rinse them off (and probably do a little scrubbing), and your oven racks are as good as new!
Dryer Sheets in the Kitchen?
You can put a little twist on the previous suggestion by adding dryer sheets into the mix. I know it sounds a little odd, but apparently they help to loosen dirt and food particles stuck to metal. Some people recommend resting your racks on top of the dryer sheets to “kill two birds with one stone” and do away with the need to use towels and sponges to rest the racks on. Others just toss a few dryer sheets into the water with the soap (about 2 – 5 sheets will work). You can even utilized already used dryer sheets, and they will still work! Then, you can scrub the racks with the dryer sheets at the end, too. That’s a lot of use you’re getting out of something that costs pennies.
Now we’re talking! You can finish any of the methods described above with a good power wash in the driveway, if you have access to a power washer. I’ve heard people say that you can just power wash the racks in the first place – no need for all the silly soap and such! I haven’t tried this method, so I can’t say for certain. Whether you decide to go for the power washing or not (and you’re way cooler if you do!), you now know how to clean oven racks. Go get to it!