Jeff Flowers on February 16, 2018 37 Comments Every homeowner knows that one of the most irritating and dreadful chores is to clean a dirty oven. This is especially true when the racks are covered with sticky grime, baked-on grease, and burned pieces of food. Even if you use your oven sparingly, chances are that residue will still accumulate. Putting off cleaning your oven racks will only delay the inevitable, and increase the amount of work needed to remove layers of baked-on food debris and grease. Will the Self-Cleaning Feature Work on Racks? It can, but it is not recommended. Some people have self-cleaning ovens, but many repair companies and health experts are cautioning against utilizing this feature. Temperatures can reach 1,000°F, and may cause damage to internal elements of the appliance, as well as ruin the racks. The extreme level of heat in the self-cleaning cycle has the potential to destroy the shiny chrome finish. To prolong their life and preserve the shiny look, it is recommended that you remove the racks before using the self-cleaning feature in the oven. Of course, this means that the racks still need to be cleaned the old-fashioned way. 5 Cleaning Methods You Should Try No matter what type of oven you may have in your home, it would be wise to learn how to clean your oven racks, and do so on a regular basis. Rest assured that cleaning them is easy with the right technique. Below, we’ve covered five ways that you can get the job done quickly and with a minimum of hassle. 1) Dryer Sheets & Dishwashing Liquid An effortless way to clean your oven racks is to line your bathtub with dryer sheets. Lay the oven racks on top of the sheets, fill the tub with just enough warm water to cover the racks and add a half-cup of dish soap. Allow everything to sit overnight. Drain the tub in the morning and use the soaked dryer sheets to wipe the racks clean. The power of the antistatic in the dryer sheets helps to separate the food from the racks by diluting the bond, while the fabric softening agents soften the baked-on food. Because this method happens in the bathtub, cleanup after you take care of the oven racks is easy. 2) Baking Soda & Vinegar Bath For this method, you will also be using your bathtub. Set the racks in the tub without any water. Once they are in place, sprinkle baking soda — which acts an a cleanser and deodorizer — over the racks and then douse them with vinegar. After the foaming stops, run the hot water in the tub until it fully covers the racks and allow them to sit overnight. Scrub the racks with an old dishtowel in the morning to remove the grease and grime. Use an old toothbrush or a brush with firm bristles to help remove any baked-on gunk that remains. For especially stubborn spots, add kosher salt to create a more abrasive scrubbing system. Afterward, rinse the racks completely before you place them back in the oven. 3) Ammonia Trash Bags This is a fairly standard and straightforward “no-mess” method, but also the most dangerous. You will need a large plastic trash bag, ammonia, a trash bin, a place outside where you can leave the racks overnight and a hose connected to a water source. To remove the grime from your oven racks with this technique, you simply place your oven racks in the large, unused trash bag. Add a half-quart of ammonia. Tightly tie off the bag and put it in a garbage can. Then let them sit overnight. The racks do not have to be coated in the ammonia, because the fumes will circulate and do the job. That being said, some people have found better success after they set the racks flat while they are in the plastic bags so that the ammonia can reach every spot. If you try this, be very careful to seal the bags tightly so that the ammonia cannot leak out. Also, make sure to place the garbage can outside so you don’t allow these dangerous fumes to circulate inside of your home. The next day, open the trash bag in a well-ventilated area. Be cautious of the ammonia and the fumes! Take the necessary precautions to avoid inhaling the fumes that come out of the bag. You will need to have gloves and safety goggles. You will also want to wear something that you do not mind ruining. Spray the racks down thoroughly with a hose and watch the previously cooked-on grease dissolve right off. Once the racks are rinsed and dried, replace them in the oven. 4) Dishwasher Soap Bath For this strategy, all that you need is a bathtub, dishwasher granules, old towels and a few old sponges. This simple method has you place old towels down in your bathtub. Alternately, you can lay a few old sponges in the corners for the oven racks to rest on so that they will not scratch or damage your tub. Place the oven racks in your bathtub carefully, on top of the towel or sponges. Next, fill your tub with just enough hot water to cover the racks. Then add a cup of dishwasher powder. Let the racks soak overnight. In the morning, rinse the racks. The stains will usually wipe right off with a firm rub of a sponge or clean cloth. If you follow this tip but the marks still persist, try something more abrasive, like a dish scourer. If you are cleaning an oven rack with an enamel finish, make sure you do not apply too much pressure. Also, do not leave the product in contact with the racks for an extended period. An old toothbrush might be helpful for scrubbing into the corners and completely removing old scorch marks. Rinse thoroughly, dry and replace them in your oven. 5) Commercial Oven Cleaners Most commercial oven cleaners will produce toxic fumes, so if you plan on using one, be sure to clean the racks outside in an area that is well-ventilated. Cover a work surface with a plastic shower curtain or old newspaper. Lay the oven racks down in separate layers. After you put on rubber gloves to protect your hands, spray an oven cleaner product liberally onto both sides of the racks. Leave them sitting for at least 10 minutes, or however long is recommended for that product. Scrub the racks with an old rag or toothbrush, and rinse thoroughly with a garden hose before replacing. Why You Should Clean Your Oven Racks Cleaning oven racks can be time-consuming, especially if it’s been awhile since you cleaned it last. Nobody likes to scrub the stains from burnt on foods, but we all have to do it — or at least we should. With these simple and practical techniques, your oven racks will be glistening like new sooner than you realize. There are many other ways to clean oven racks, but these are the methods that do not require much work from you. Cleaning oven racks is a neglected and dirty job, but by following these techniques you can return them to their original sparkle with very little effort.