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If you are a grown-up who likes cooking then you know how big a task cleaning an oven can be. And what if you love using your oven almost every day? It’s just bound to get dirty.
However, we also know how important it is to clean your oven racks in addition to cleaning the oven. So if you are spring cleaning, holiday cleaning, or just doing your weekly cleaning, don’t forget to give your oven racks a good seeing to—ignoring them will only make them harder to clean afterward.
All you need for giving your oven racks a proper clean is a cleaning agent (general or commercial), many hours of soaking, and a little elbow grease.
Why is it Important to Clean Your Oven Racks?
Over time oven racks get covered in grime, burnt food, and grease. This will happen even if you don’t use your oven often. If you continue using our oven with dirty oven racks it will decrease the efficiency of the oven over time. That is why you need to keep your oven racks clean.
Related: 4 Easy Oven-Cleaning Hacks
Does the Self-clean Function Clean the Oven Racks Properly?
A lot of ovens nowadays come with a built-in self-clean function and yes oven racks also get cleaned when you use this function. However, many repair companies are warning people against using it. The self-clean function works by raising the temperature of the oven to an extremely high level.
Over time the use of this function can damage the internal circuit of the oven and also damage the oven racks. Also, such high temperatures can result in damage to the chrome finish of your oven.
8 Ways to Clean Oven Racks
1. Bathtub and Detergent:
This method is my personal favorite and the easiest way to clean oven racks.
All you have to do is get your hands on a long piece of clothing, like an old towel, and place it in the bathtub.
Then place your oven rack on the clothing and fill the tub with hot water until it reaches the level of the rack.
Then add a mixture of one cup detergent powder and hot water to the water stored in the tub.
You can also sprinkle some detergent power on the rack and it will eventually get mixed with the water.
Then leave it for 10-12 hours and after that, you can simply take your oven rack out and let it dry. This will give you beautiful and clean oven racks.
2. Dishwashing Liquid:
If you don’t have much space or a bathtub, then you can opt for this method.
All you need to do is place the oven rack in your kitchen sink and put some dishwashing liquid all over it. Fill the sink with warm water and add the dishwashing liquid to it.
Then let it settle for about 30 min to an hour and then scrub it with the help of a sponge.
After scrubbing, wash it with warm water and you will have your oven racks clean.
3. Baking Soda and Ammonia in the Bathtub
Materials: Baking soda, tub, vinegar, old toothbrush, scrub, kosher salt
1. Plug the tub and lay the oven racks inside the tub.
2. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on them. Baking soda is a household staple. In this case, it works as a cleanser as well as a deodorizer.
3. Pour vinegar on top (using a spray bottle will make this part easier) and wait for the foaming caused by the reaction between baking soda and vinegar to stop.
4. Fill the tub with hot water. The water level should be several inches above the oven racks.
5. Leave the oven racks to soak in water for at least 4-5 hours.
6. Scrub the oven racks using the scrub or an old rag to get rid of any dirt and grease.
7. For stubborn stains, dip a toothbrush in kosher salt and focus on scrubbing the stained parts with it.
8. Give the oven racks a final rinse with water. Make sure the racks are completely dry before placing them back into the oven.
Related: 24 Brilliant Uses of Vinegar
4. Using Commercial Cleaners
There are many such cleaners available online. If you choose to use one of these I would advise you to do the cleaning outside the house as these cleaners often produce toxic fumes. However, there are many eco-friendly options available as well.
1. Cover the area you choose to work in with plastic covers or newspapers.
2. Put on rubber/latex gloves and since cleaner generally comes in spray bottles, spray the cleaner over oven racks and let it sit for about 10-20 minutes.
3. Scrub off all the grime and grease using an old rag or scrub.
4. Give the oven racks a final rinse and dry completely before placing them back inside the oven.
5. Using Ammonia Trashbags
This is the best way to clean a trash bag if you don’t want to do it in your tub or you don’t own a bathtub.
Materials: Ammonia, large plastic trash bags, a sturdy bin
1. Fill a large plastic trash bag (the plastic bag should be large enough that after completely enveloping the oven racks enough space is left for the fumes to circulate) with half-quart ammonia (you can adjust the amount but not by much).
2. Place your oven racks inside the trash bag and tie them tightly. Now place the trash bag in a bin and keep it outside. The fumes will circulate in due time so the racks can be set vertical inside the bin but better results are noticed when they are set flat.
3. Let the oven racks sit in ammonia for at least 6-7 hours (leaving them overnight is always preferable).
4. Wearing proper protective gear like gloves and goggles open the trash bag in a ventilated space (preferably backyard). Place the racks down and using a hose and strong water stream rinse them thoroughly. Wipe them with a rag, let them completely dry, and place them back inside the oven.
6. Lemon and Baking Soda Cleanse
This is the easiest one of all and works best if you are a regular oven racks cleaner. All you need for this are some lemons and baking soda.
1. Lay down a newspaper or plastic cover where you want to do the cleaning. Then lay over the oven racks over it.
2. Mix the lemon juice and baking soda in a bowl and pour the mixture over the oven racks. Or you can first sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on the racks and then spray lemon juice over it.
3. Scrub with a wired mesh scrub and rinse with water. Again make sure they are completely dried before place them back in the oven.
You can steam your oven with lemon juice to get rid of grime.
1. Squeeze 2 lemons in an ovenproof bowl after filling it with water.
2. Place the bowl inside the oven and heat for 30 minutes at 250 degrees.
3. When you see the lemon water boiling, turn off the oven, but don’t open the door. Let the bowl stay inside with the steam circulating.
4. Once the racks are cooled give them a final scrub.
7. Dryer Sheets
Materials: Dryer sheets, tub, scrub.
1. Cover the bottom of the tub with dryer sheets and place the racks on them. The anti-static properties of dryer sheets weaken the bonds between the oven racks and the stuck-up food particles.
2. Fill the tub with hot water—just enough to cover the oven racks.
3. If you think it needs something extra strong for getting rid of the grease and stain, then add 1/4 cup of liquid dish soap and stir the water to mix it well.
4. Leave the oven racks to soak for 4-5 hours at least. The more time you soak them for the lesser you would have to scrub.
5. Now scrub till all the dirt and grime clears up. And there you go with your shining oven racks. Don’t forget to dry them completely before putting them in the oven.
8. Spray Method:
One more way to clean oven racks can be with the help of a spray and some detergent.
All you have to do is make a solution of hot or warm water and some detergent. You can also use dishwashing liquid if you want to.
Then put the solution in a spray bottle and spray the liquid all over the rack. Let it settle for some time and then clean it with warm water and a soft piece of clothing and you will see that the racks are cleaned.
Precautions to Take While Cleaning Oven Racks
- Don’t make direct hand contact with hot water as it may burn your skin. It is mandatory to use gloves for precaution.
- Also, make sure to dry the oven racks before placing them in the oven as wet racks can create electrical shocks or can even cause a blast. You can also use a dry and soft piece of clothing to make the drying process faster.
- Don’t wash your oven racks directly on the floor as they can create scratches on the floor. Make sure your place a towel beneath the oven racks before cleaning them. Or clean them in the bathtub.
So these were some basic hacks and precautions you need to know before cleaning your oven racks.
How can I remove the discoloration of my oven racks?
Clean the racks using the ammonia method discussed above. If discoloration persists, then make a paste using baking soda and water. Then, scrub this paste onto the racks using a balled-up piece of aluminum foil.
Will magic eraser clean the oven racks?
If your racks have grease and surface stains, use the magic eraser after soaking your oven racks in a cleaning solution (use any of the methods given above). But a magic eraser won’t be able to get rid of stubborn stains or burnt food particles, so use a scrubber for those.
Pretty easy, right? I told you so in the beginning. Cleaning oven racks are not a nightmare anymore.
Make sure you follow these steps to clean the oven racks and do not forget to keep the precautions in mind. You’re going to love the results!