How to Clean Oven Racks the Easy Way

How to clean oven racks the easy way.  This method will take some time and elbow grease, but it’s mostly hands-off and the dirt will just fall right off!

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I will admit it.

I have been dragging my feet on cleaning our 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.  Her oven racks are spotless!

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 diiiirrrtyAnd by dirty, I mean greasy.  

The outside and stovetop were fine because I clean those parts pretty regularly.  But the inside had grease caked on in a lot of places.  Ugh.

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.Β 

The before = oven racks that need to be cleaned!

See my rack there?  (that sounded terrible by the way).  Ick!

Dirty Oven Racks

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 so bad. And I didn’t have to use the toxic commercial oven cleaners, either.

No Easy-Off Oven Cleaner (even the fume-free) for this gal.

Why not though?

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.

I’ve also heard of this ammonia cleaning method and I’m sure you guys have to. Frankly, it scares 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.  Thank you, Next.

What to Clean your Oven Racks with instead of Easy-Off Oven cleaner

Here’s what you should try using instead …

That’s it.

I bet you never thought you could clean your oven racks with dryer sheets. But it’s true.

You will also need a bathtub or some sort of tub where you can soak the racks in hot water.

I’m not going to lie, you have to give this method some time to work it’s magic (I’ll explain more below).  This is not a QUICK cleaning method.

I also had to use a little bit of scrubbing power at the end.  I had to clean some sections over and over again.  But my oven racks are so clean and pretty now.  Yay!

And I didn’t have to worry about toxic chemicals in the house around my kids.

Check out my other cleaning posts while you’re here:

Materials I used:

  • Dryer Sheets – I like to use these plant-based ones
  • Dish Soap (use Dr. Bronners or Dawn Botanical for even cleaner ingredients. You need a degreasing power!)
  • Aluminum Foil or a Scrub Brush or Steel Wool Pad

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 just 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 – it’s magical how that grease just disappears. If needed, you can ball up a piece of aluminum foil or use steel wool to scrub them even more. I find that 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

Amazing, right!? There is no better feeling than opening up your oven to clean racks. Take that Ina! πŸ™‚

If you are suffering from dirty oven racks – definitely try this dryer sheet method.  I was amazed at how much it worked and for the most part, it’s a hands-off project.

Let the dryer sheets and bathtub do most of the work! I love not having to worry about nasty fumes either.

In my opinion, this is the best way to clean stainless steel oven racks.

xo Karen

8 thoughts on “How to Clean Oven Racks the Easy Way”

  1. I can’t wait to try this on my oven racks! They have just seemingly suddenly gotten really really bad. I have been doing Keto for over a year now, so I’m guessing all that oven baked bacon took it’s toll!

    I did learn from another pin about using just a paste of baking soda and a little warm water to clean my oven door. I also wipe it down now with a dry paper towel when I see it’s gotten a little greasy. It helps to stay ahead of it!

    I have always used a sheet of heavy duty foil (shiny side down) in my oven to cut back on how much oven cleaning I actually have to do.

    One thing I did not see you mention was removing the oven door. All oven doors have a [strong] spring hinge system that allows you to remove the door from the oven to clean it. The first time I did that at my mother’s house, she about fainted, just sure I had broken her oven! LOL But seriously, it really does make it far easier to get to the back of the oven (and the top). Hope this helps!!

    1. Thank you, Carole! I have never tried taking the door off of my oven, but I sure want to! It’s very tempting. Definitely give your oven racks a bath. It makes the cleaning process so much easier and you can walk away and do other things while they are soaking. Let me know how it turns out for you! πŸ™‚

  2. Hi I have double oven! Yes I hate those run marks between the glass too! Mine is a kitchen aid! On each door they’re are two screws on the top on each side I just take them out! Careful to hold the doors together as they are spring loaded! Then viola!!! You can clean the glass onthe INSIDE!! It looks amazing when your done! Nothing worse than clean inside and streaks on glass on the inside!!!

    1. Wow Iacie! I still haven’t tried it but I’m perhaps one of these days I’ll give it a go. It looks horrible. My oven is clean and my oven racks – but that darn glass! My dad is very handy and coming to visit us here in Seattle soon – maybe I’ll have a little project waiting for him! πŸ™‚

  3. I also made the baking soda paste and got drips on the inside of my oven window. I did take my door apart, to a point, about 8 screws. I was then able to fashion a paper towel around a handle and clean the window. If I would have gone one step further, I could have really gotten at the glass. It looks better, but not perfect. I will try again another day. I wanted to make sure that I could get everything back together.

  4. Hi Karen, neat post. Why do you avoid the chemical spray oven cleaners like Easy Off Heavy Duty? I may have to use that version next week for a big commercial grill cleaning job with the full protective gear.

    1. Hey there! In general, I try to avoid using chemical sprays in my home. The Environmental Working Group gave Easy Off Heavy Duty a grade of “F” for safety, but I’m not sure about the fume free version. Here is the link to it :
      I’ve also read complaints of people using Easy Off Oven Cleaner and permanently discoloring their oven. I just don’t want to take the risk! The method I use works well enough for me and it’s a bonus that I can use cheap ingredients to clean it up. My husband uses Citrusafe Grill Cleaner Spray ( to clean the grill and it works for us! You might want to check it out. Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

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