How to Clean Oven Racks: 3 Proven Techniques

Around the home, there are several tasks and chores that are universally avoided at all cost and one of the most dreaded is without a doubt cleaning the metal racks of the oven. If you’ve been avoiding this particular task for some time, you are not alone, but it’s time to reconsider.

Even if you only use your oven occasionally, the inside is collecting a unique combination of sticky and oily grime, baked-on grease, and partially burned pieces of food. If that doesn’t sound appetizing, that’s a good thing! Being a responsible renter or homeowner means taking care of your property and the investment that you have made.

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Vinegar, Baking Soda, Bathtub Method

For this technique, place your oven racks in your tub and cover them lightly with baking soda. Next, add vinegar and ensure it is coating the entire surface of your rack. Do not be surprised when the racks start to foam. This is a chemical reaction that is doing most of the hard scrubbing work for you.

After the foaming stops, cover the racks with hot water and let them soak overnight. In the morning, use an old scrap of fabric to clean the racks and remove any excess grease or baked-on grime. If you are having trouble, applying coarse sea salt and further scrubbing should help.

Dish Soap, Towels, Sponge, and Bathtub Method

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For this technique, you will use powdered dish soap, old towels, some sponges, and your bathtub to handle the task.

Begin by placing old towels on the bottom of your bathtub so as to protect it from being scratched by your oven racks. Next, add your oven racks and cover with warm water and add a cup of your favorite dishwasher powder.

Let the mixture sit overnight and in the morning use an old sponge to wipe off any excess grease or grime that is still caked on your oven racks. After you are satisfied, clean and rinse out the tub and you are all set.

Commercial Oven Cleaning Products

When faced with a particularly challenging and tough situation, you can definitely count on commercial oven cleaning products. The only problem with this method is that these products are extremely corrosive and toxic so you will want to be careful not to allow these cleaning products to get near the food you eat or your family. It is also important to use these products in a very well-ventilated area. The fumes from commercial oven cleaners can make you, your pets, and family very sick.

To use this method, cover a space on your floor, maybe outside on a patio or in a garage with an open door with some newspaper or a drop cloth. Place the racks on top of this work surface. Next, use rubber gloves to ensure no commercial oven cleaner gets on your skin then spray the cleaner on both sides of your oven racks.

Allow the cleaning solution to sit for at least 10 minutes, though you should give precedence to the instructions printed on the label of your product. Finally, use an old rag to wipe off excess chemicals and then spray the rags with a hose or faucet thoroughly before replacing back in your oven. By all means, follow any additional instructions provided by the oven cleaner’s manufacturer.

How Often Should You Clean Your Oven Rack

Cleaning your oven rack is something that should be done a minimum of 4 times a year, though if you are cooking a majority of your meals at home, we would recommend increasing that to as often as once a month. As an added bonus, whenever you do maintenance cleaning tasks like this more frequently, the actual work becomes much easier and more manageable to handle.

Can I Use the Self-Cleaning Function on My Oven?

Most modern ovens are available with a self-cleaning function built right in and it can be very tempting to use it and call it a day right? Wrong! The self-cleaning function of your oven uses extremely high heat to work and runs the risk of damaging the shiny chrome metal of your oven rack as well as the internal components of the appliance itself.

Experts recommend only using the self-cleaning function after you’ve already used one of the methods listed below to remove excess grease and food. So, to answer your question: yes, you can definitely use the self-cleaning function of your oven but only after you’ve cleaned it manually.

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