The Weird but Effective way for How to Clean Oven Racks

If your oven racks have seen better days, wait until you learn this weird but effective oven rack cleaning method. Have you ever made a whole chicken in your oven? They taste amazing. They look amazing. They smell amazing. But they leave your oven a dang mess.

I am a big fan of Barefoot Contessa and follow many of her recipes. How does she keep her oven so dang clean with all that greasy cooking!?  I’m sure she has the pros come back and clean it for her when necessary. Her oven racks are spotless. Let us in on your secret, Ina!

The before = oven racks that need to be cleaned!

Once I learned this easy method for cleaning your oven racks, I was hooked! And our oven racks have never looked better.

I didn’t have to use toxic commercial oven cleaners, either—no Easy-Off Oven Cleaner (even the fume-free) for this gal. The EWG rated Easy Off an F. With young kids in the house, I don’t want to take the risk with a low rating like that. I like using natural and simple ingredient cleaners whenever I can.

I’ve also heard of this ammonia cleaning method; maybe you have too? Frankly, it scares me a little. We have a gas oven, and I don’t know enough about it to feel safe.

What to Clean Your Oven Racks with Instead of Easy-Off Oven Cleaner

Here’s what you should try using instead …

  • Degreasing Dish Soap.
  • Optional: Aluminum Foil or a scrubber pad
  • Dryer Sheets.

A few notes:

  • This is not a QUICK cleaning method. You need to give the racks time to soak.
  • You have to use some scrubbing power at the end. (I had to clean some sections over and over again. But my oven racks are spotless now!)

How to Clean Oven Racks

I’ve done this method over and over again – it works! I even made a quick video about this.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Remove the racks from your oven. 
  2. Fill your bathtub with HOT water and squirt some dish soap in there to make it soapy. Now throw a whole bunch of dryer sheets in there too.
  3. Carefully place your oven racks in the bathtub. You might want to lay an old towel down first so your oven racks don’t scratch the tub.
  4. Now wait. You have to let the racks soak for a little. The dryer sheets help the grease and grime separate from the racks. The dish soap also cuts the grease. (I left my racks to soak ALLLL day. Six hours.)  You can also let them go overnight. 
  5. After they have soaked, you should see that a lot of that gunk came off already! Scrub your oven racks with the wet dryer sheets – how that grease disappears is magical. If needed, you can ball up a piece of aluminum foil or use steel wool to scrub them even more. The dryer sheets do a pretty good job on their own.

Final Result!

Here’s a close-up before and after. Amazing! Can you believe the difference? These are like brand-new oven racks.

Before and After :  How to Clean Oven Racks Naturally
How to Clean Oven Racks

If you are wondering if this leaves your tub a mess, it depends on how dirty your oven racks are. In my opinion, it’s worth it if I have to spend 5 minutes wiping down the tub afterward. You can rinse all the debris down the drain and throw out the dryer sheets.

You no longer have to endure those dirty oven racks. I was amazed at how well it worked; it’s a hands-off project for the most part. Let the dryer sheets and bathtub do most of the work! I love not having to worry about nasty fumes, either.

PS: I also tried this on our grill tools and skewers; it worked like a charm! I followed it up with a good scrub with soap and hot water.

cleaning grill tools using the oven rack cleaning method

In my opinion, this is the best way to clean stainless steel oven racks. Speaking of stainless steel, here’s how to get sparkling stainless steel appliances. Check out my post for cleaning Sunbrella cushions after this!

xo Karen