I have been searching high and low for easy solutions on how to clean oven racks. This method will take some time and a bit of elbow grease, but it’s worth it! And the best part is, there are no chemicals involved.
I will admit it.
I have been dragging my feet on cleaning my oven and oven racks.
Our oven doesn’t come with a self-clean option. Actually, some people don’t really like using this option and you really aren’t supposed to self clean your oven with the racks in there anyways. So – that still leaves the dirty oven racks.
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 mess!
I am a big fan of Barefoot Contessa and follow a lot of her recipes. How in the world does she keep her oven so dang clean with all that greasy cooking!? I’m sure she has the pros come back in and clean it for her when necessary. But I mean, her oven racks are spotless. No grime or grease stains anywhere that I could see.
Let us in on your secret, Ina!
I came home the other day and out of nowhere really started tackling the mess of the oven. And I’m embarrassed to admit it, but my oven was pretty diiiirrrty. And by dirty, I mean greasy.
The outside and stovetop were fine because I do clean those parts pretty regularly. But the inside had grease caked on in a lot of places. In the past, it was easy for me to just shut the door on the grease and delay cleaning it. I knew deep down this was going to be a beast to clean.
See my rack there? (that sounded terrible by the way). Ick!
If you are reading this post, my guess is that your racks don’t look much different.
But here’s the truth.
Cleaning them up wasn’t that bad. And I didn’t use any toxic chemicals!
No Easy-Off Oven Cleaner (even the fume-free) for this gal.
Because the EWG rated Easy Off an F. With young kids in the house, I just don’t want to take the risk with a low rating like that.
What to Clean your Oven Racks with instead of Easy-Off Oven cleaner
Here’s what you should try using instead …
Degreasing Dish Soap.
Dryer Sheets (fragrance-free, free and clear kind.)
I bet you never thought you could clean your oven racks with dryer sheets. But it’s true.
You will also need a bathtub.
I’m not going to lie, you had to give it time to work it’s magic (I’ll explain below). This is not a QUICK cleaning method. I had to use some scrubbing power. I had to clean some sections over and over again. But my oven racks are clean now. Yay!
And I didn’t have to worry about toxic chemicals in my house around my kids.
But what about Ammonia?
I have heard of this ammonia method or whatever and I’m sure you guys have to. Frankly, it scares the H-E-double hockey sticks- out of me. We have a gas oven and I don’t know enough about it to feel confident I’m not going to start a fire. Plus, that smell.
Check out my other cleaning posts:
Materials I used:
- Dryer Sheets (I used free and clear and fragrance-free generic kind)
- Dish Soap (use Dr. Bronners or Dawn Botanical for even cleaner ingredients. You need a degreasing power!)
- Baking Soda
- Aluminum Foil
- scrub brush, an old toothbrush or something like this
How to Clean Oven Racks (without toxic chemicals)
The first thing you should do is remove your racks. We have racks on the side that support the racks in the middle. You can take them all out.
Fill your bathtub with HOT water and squirt a bunch of Dish Soap in there.
CAUTION: We have an old porcelain tub and I realized after the fact that the racks left some scratches. Duh. We are eventually re-doing our tub, so this didn’t bother me. But I’m passing along to you! Make sure you lay an old towel underneath so the oven racks won’t scratch.
Throw a whole bunch of dryer sheets in there.
See my photo below – you can start to see some of the grease lifting away. It’s working!
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. I might try that next time to see if even more will come off in this step.
Remove your racks from the tub and grab a few of the wet dryer sheets too. The water should be pretty nasty at this point. But that’s a good thing.
See how a lot of that gunk came off already?
After their tub soak, I took my oven racks outside. I found it easier to really scrub them and hose them down in the grass.
You will also want to grab a scrunched up ball of aluminum foil. And an old toothbrush if you have one. Or one of these.
Use the aluminum foil and some of those wet dryer sheets from the tub to scrub your racks. The aluminum foil didn’t scratch my racks at all, in case you were wondering. If that worries you – try a small area first.
The foil also kind of molds around your racks, which makes it easier to scrub. I found the dirt and grease and grime just fell right off in most places after scrubbing. There were a few areas though that were stubborn and I really had to scrub. The old toothbrush works well for all those little nooks and crannies.
After a while of scrubbing, my racks were looking really good. I left them outside to dry in the sun.
Can you use a Magic Eraser on Oven racks?
I just came across another genius idea and had to share it here – use a wet and dry Magic Eraser to clean the oven! I don’t know why I didn’t think of that initially because I use Magic Erasers for almost everything. You can get them anywhere or buy them in bulk from Amazon.
Magic Erasers don’t have any toxic ingredients, as far as I know. And they are somewhat scrubby already so you don’t have to use any other materials. Use a bit of dish soap to up the power.
Here’s a close up before and after. Amazing!
Can you believe the difference? These are like brand new oven racks.
If you suffering from dirty oven racks – definitely try the dryer sheet bathtub method. I was amazed at how much it worked and it’s fairly hands-off.
One last caution – don’t use baking soda on aluminum because it can discolor it. My oven racks are stainless steel so I was safe but I just wanted to throw that additional tip out there.
I love not having to worry about chemicals and nasty fumes either. In my opinion, this is the best way to clean stainless steel oven racks.
Have a great day guys!