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.
I will admit it.
I have been dragging my feet on cleaning my oven and oven racks.
Our oven does not come with a self-clean option. And you aren’t supposed to self clean your oven with the racks in there anyways.
Ever make a whole chicken in your oven? They taste amazing. They look 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 stove top were fine because I do clean those parts pretty regularly. But the inside had grease caked on in a lot of places. It was much easier for me to just shut the door on the grease because I knew deep down this was going to be a beast.
See my rack there? (that sounded terrible by the way). Ick!
And you know what?
Cleaning them up wasn’t that bad. I didn’t want to use Easy Off.
Because the EWG rated Easy Off a D and an F. With young kids in the house, I just don’t want to take the risk.
I’m not going to lie, I had to give it time to do its thang (I’ll explain below). 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!
Oh yea, and I didn’t use one toxic or chemical cleaner. I have heard of the ammonia method or whatever and frankly it scares the H-E-double hockey sticks- out of me. We have gas and I don’t know enough about it to feel confident I’m not going to start a fire. Plus, that smell. Woo!
Check out my other cleaning posts!
Materials I used:
- Dryer Sheets (free and clear generic kind)
- Dawn Dish Soap
- Baking Soda
- Aluminum Foil
- scrub brush, an old toothbrush or something like this
How to Clean Oven Racks (without losing your sanity)
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 Dawn 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 the racks so it won’t scratch.
Throw a whole bunch of dryer sheets in there. You can already start to see some of the grease lifting. It’s working!
Wait. You have to let it soak. 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. (why did that sound so bad? LOL.) 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 (and a few wet dryer sheets) from the water. 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 don’t recommend grabbing a glass of wine and bathing it in at this point. (JK!)
I then took my oven racks outside. I found it easier to really scrub them and hose them down this way. 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.
But 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 glass. So be very careful about spreading the baking soda on your oven glass door part.
UPDATE: 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. Tip: These knockoff magic erasers have great reviews!
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.
Thanks for reading! Have a great day guys!