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, you probably have everything you need sitting in your house somewhere right now.
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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 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 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 A LOT of scrubbing power. I had to clean some sections over and over again. But my oven is clean now. Yay!
I didn’t have to worry about toxic chemicals in my house around my kids.
I have heard of the ammonia method or whatever and I’m sure you 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. No thanks!
Check out my other cleaning posts!
- Spring Cleaning Checklists
- Natural Disinfectant Spray with just Two Ingredients
- The Best Hardwood Floor Cleaner – A Complete Guide!
- Spring Cleaning Tools – MUST-HAVES!
- Home Cleaning Hacks
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 so it 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. 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?
I then 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 and headed back inside to clean the inside of the oven.
After? Take a look!
Cleaning the inside of your oven
To clean the inside of my oven, I first made up a solution of warm water mixed with Dawn dish soap. Then I took my baking soda and sprinkled it throughout the bottom of my oven and on my oven door. I sprayed the baking soda with the dawn mixture until it was a paste. I left it like that for about an hour. When I came back, I used both my scrub brush and microfiber cloth to clean all the grease and grime out of it.
The hardest part was getting all the way to the back of the oven. I had to spray and baking soda some areas a few times to really get the grease lifted off. Most areas look brand new. Other areas are still not 100 percent but they are looking ten times better than before.
I did notice that some baking soda somehow got under my oven glass. So be very careful about spreading the baking soda on your oven glass door part.
Can you use a Magic Eraser to Clean your Oven and 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!
And yes, you can also use a magic eraser on your oven racks! To really make it easy, follow the bathtub method above and then follow up with a magic eraser.
Now onto my gripe – how to get in between the glass on the oven door??
This part is killing me!
I called my stove manufacturer and they said I would have to hire a professional appliance person in order to clean that part because the door has to be taken off. What?? I guess they have to say that. But that’s a real bummer for those of us who really want to clean in between the door.
I might get bold enough to try it myself one day. Or enlist the hubs to help. In the meantime, I took a wooden dowel and rolled a wet microfiber cloth onto it and secured it with rubber bands. Then I fished it through the holes at the top. It was a pain. Did it work? Not really. Sorry I didn’t get any photos of it. 🙁 My husband suggested a microfiber duster wand. It’s worth a shot but I’m still not convinced it will fit through those holes on the top.
Do you guys have any tips for cleaning that part?
If you suffering from a dirty oven with dirty 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!