How to Clean Oven Racks the Easy Way

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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!

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. 

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 …

  • Degreasing Dish Soap.
  • Optional: Aluminum Foil or a scrubber pad
  • Dryer Sheets.

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.

Things I Used:

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.

Check out my other cleaning hacks right here!

Final Result!

Here’s a close up before and after. Amazing! Can you believe the difference? These are like brand new oven racks.

If you are wondering if this leaves your tub a mess – well, I guess it just depends on how dirty your oven racks are. It’s totally worth it in my opinion if I have to spend 5 minutes wiping down the tub afterwards. You can basically just rinse all the debris down the drain and throw out the dryer sheets.

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! 🙂

You no longer have to endure those 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. PS: I also tried this on our grill tools and skewers and it worked like a charm! I followed it up with a good scrub with soap and hot water.

cleaning grill tools using the oven rack cleaning method

In my opinion, this is the best way to clean stainless steel oven racks. Check out my post for cleaning Sunbrella cushions after this!

xo Karen