How to Clean Oven Racks Easily and Quickly

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Many of us home bakers know that we need to upkeep our ovens by clearing them out of burnt food bits and debris from time to time. We give our oven doors a good wipe down, and steam clean the interior of the oven to get ready for the next baking session.

We often forget that the oven racks need as much cleaning as the rest of the oven, especially as these oven racks have nooks and crannies where spilled sauces, dirt, and burnt bits can hide in. Simply cleaning your oven with steam isn't enough to remove the grime from your oven racks, so you'll need to wash these manually.

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What You'll Need

When food particles get burnt in the oven, they are often difficult to remove as the stuck-on bits harden up inside the oven, even with commercial oven cleaners. Our magic solution? A baking soda paste! This cleaning paste will loosen the grime from your oven racks, revealing the shiny metal surface underneath, and it only takes two ingredients:

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Sponge, Cleaning cloth, or Scrubber
  • Oven-safe bowl
  • Trash bag (optional)
  • Cling film or Dryer sheets (optional)

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How to Clean Oven Racks: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Steam the Oven

First, steam the oven by running it with a bowl of water inside. Use a heat-proof bowl, and fill it with some regular water from the tap. As the oven heats up, the inside steams the grime to loosen it. This is best done when you decide to clean the entire oven instead of just the oven racks. You cannot, however, leave the oven racks in if your oven has a self-cleaning function.

Step 2: Let it Cool and Take Out the Oven Racks

Let the oven cool until it is just warm enough to handle safely. Take out the oven racks, and place them over the kitchen sink, or on the countertop or floor lined with a trash bag to prevent the cleaning solution from dripping everywhere. Separate each oven rack to avoid stacking them up over each other.

Step 3: Create the Cleaning Paste

Mix just enough hot water with baking soda and vinegar to create a thin paste that you can apply all over the oven racks. Baking soda will provide an abrasive scrubbing action, while vinegar and hot water will work to soften the grime from even the deepest nooks in each oven rack.

Step 4: Apply Cleaning Paste and Let it Sit

Apply the cleaning paste, working on one oven rack at a time. Use a toothbrush to apply the paste on hard to reach areas, and focus applying the paste to heavily-stained spots. Let the paste sit for around 15-20 minutes. The paste will work to slowly clean oven racks by gently lifting the stains out.

You may also cover the paste with some cling film or dryer sheets, and let the paste sit overnight for deeper stains. The cling film should prevent the paste from drying out, and a damp dryer sheet does the same. If the paste dries out before the allotted time, then apply more vinegar to where you applied the paste.

Step 5: Scrub the Grime Clean, and Rinse

Use a scrub brush or the dryer sheets to brush away the grime, and you will notice it is much easier to remove the dirt, baked on food stains, and other grime after you've let the oven racks soak overnight. After you've removed the grime, use a damp sponge with some dish soap to clean your oven racks as you normally would.

Rinse the oven racks to remove the remaining residue, and check its condition. You may repeat the soaking process if the stains have not completely removed, or you can try soaking the oven racks overnight for deep staining.

Step 6: Dry the Clean Oven Racks

You can now dry the oven racks using a hot oven, or dry them manually using a kitchen towel. If you choose to clean the rest of your oven, you can keep the oven warm to dry the racks, as well as the interior of the oven, and the oven door. Always store oven racks dry.

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What to Know When Cleaning Dirty Oven Racks

There are a few things to consider when cleaning oven racks. Most brands of ovens have limited choices in replacements for oven racks, which is why it can be a hassle to find replacements for damaged or discolored oven racks. It is better to clean discolored oven racks than to replace them. Here's what you should know:

  • Avoid using a non-food safe oven cleaner to clean the interior of the oven. While your food may not directly come in contact with the oven racks, the fumes from these commercial and homemade cleaners can leach toxic chemicals in your food.
  • Use mild but abrasive scrubbers to clean oven racks. Because of the stainless steel or aluminum material of these racks, they can withstand gentle scrubbing even while using a stainless steel sponge.
  • Store oven racks dry, otherwise, the metal would corrode and cause the racks to rust.
  • Never get extremely hot oven racks wet. When metals undergo extreme temperature changes, they can permanently warp, which will distort your oven racks.

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Clean Baking

Cleaning your oven is only part of the chores you need to do to upkeep your kitchen. Keep your baked goods clean from grime and muck with professional cleaning services from Luce Home! Our spring cleaning services give your home a much-needed deep clean so you can enjoy a spotless abode while you bake!

Schedule your next spring cleaning session with us, and give us a call today! 

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