How to Clean Oven Racks Naturally

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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’s no chemicals involved.

How to Clean Oven Racks Naturally

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!

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 that bad. And I didn’t use any toxic chemicals!

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

Why?

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.

Baking Soda.

Aluminum Foil.

Dryer Sheets (fragrance-free, free and clear kind.)

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.

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. 

No thanks!

Check out my other cleaning posts:

Materials Needed for Cleaning Oven Racks Naturally

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)

Step One

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.

Step Two

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.

Step Three

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!

Bathtub filled with dirty oven racks and dryer sheets

Step Four

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.

Step Five

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?

Oven racks after bath

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.

Step Six

Scrub Oven Racks Outside with Aluminum Foil

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.

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 Naturally

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!

xo Karen

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8 thoughts on “How to Clean Oven Racks Naturally”

  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!!

    • 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! 🙂

  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!!!

    • 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! 🙂

  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.
    Thanks

    • 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 : https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/1064-EASYOFFHeavyDutyOvenCleanerFreshScent
      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 (https://www.citrusafe.com/) to clean the grill and it works for us! You might want to check it out. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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